Freetube, Desktop Youtube without google

For a while now i have been using Freetube as my YouTube client. I still haven’t found a polished option for iOS (but that is ok as i want to use my phone less and less). I want those around me to care more about privacy and one of the things most people complain about is loosing their subscriptions… So in the end i discovered Freetube.

I want to hear your thoughts on it!
Do you think its a good recommendation? (Ive had push back against it and invidious)
If so… any advice on the above?

Edit for clarification: I am urging them to leave google, and youtube subscriptions are often the deal-breaker of all things. That is what made me search for an option that does have a way to subscribe in a private way.

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Youtube on browser with ublock origin seems a better option

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Will edit for clarification but I am urging them to leave google, and youtube subscriptions are often the deal-breaker of all things.

It’s a decent option. The only drawback is the half-baked download feature. The best they can give you is 720p at 30fps with both audio and video. (To be fair, they at least offer a download feature)

My favorite feature is that all of your data (subs, watch history, etc.) is stored locally.

in addition download yt-dlp

terminal CLI then enter:

python3 yt-dlp -f 22 https://yewtu.be/watch?v=D75x3etc

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FreeTube is a cool project, but it is uncomfortable to use. Having such video players in the browser is far more convenient for me because I can combine them with other tabs.

The best thing to solve such things in my opinion is a browser plugin called “Privacy Redirect”, it automatically redirects you to privacy-respecting sites.

For example, if you enter a youtube link, it will auto-redirect you to Invidious.
If you type Reddit, it will redirect you to libredd.it

The same goes for Twitter and many other sites. Much more convenient in my opinion.

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If you use or plan to use Privacy Redirect, I would encourage you to check out LibRedirect, a continuation of now unmaintained Privacy Redirect. It provides much more functionality and configuration options and covers provides alternative to more different services, as well as options to choose which privacy-respecting service and which instances of the service to use and much more. Have a look. Be safe.

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This appears to be awesome. I didn’t know about LibRedirect existing. Thank you for sharing!

Used FreeTube for about a year, I like it, it’s a simple way to get a subscription box without having to set up all the RSS stuff. I’d say it’s helpful for people, even if they just use it as a feed to open each video in a browser.
Only gripes are that playlists need more work and development seems hella slow.

I don’t watch much YouTube these days, and I use an RSS feed for the few channels I still follow. Enjoyed it for the time I did use it and would recommend to anyone looking to use YouTube without an account on desktop.

Edit: Wanted to add that I also think using FreeTube is a better idea than fetching your subscriptions through an Invidious account, since all the subscription and watch data is stored locally instead of on the server of whatever random Invidious instance you picked.

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I like free tube quite a bit, as for iOS, there’s a project in development called Yattee you should look at.

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Is it safe to add as an extension to firefox hardened, as my laptop keeps giving me warnings about adding it as an extension because it is an “unknown publisher”

It is, but it will make your setup much more unique (fingerprinting)

I personally use FreeTube quite a bit. I use NewPipe on my phone more, but only because I always have my phone.

FreeTube is a wounderful app to use, better than anything Google has ever made (imo). Very simple & easy to use, but also quite powerful & feature packed if you want to do more with it.

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Freetube is great. I usually just use Newpipe on my phone and dont watch much on my laptop or desktop, so freetube is great, especially since I can import my subscriptions from Newpipe to Freetube

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Do you use FreeTube with a local, or invidious API?
AFAIK the invidious API is more private than the local API.

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Always using the i-API.
Sure the video loads a little slower, but I really dont care. Just load and I’m a happy camper :grin:

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I totally agree! and I love that you can subscribe with different accounts to and customize each accounts feed.

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FreeTube is the best option for a desktop client. It can be quite hit and miss however and I think recommended it to people as a replacement for Youtube (assuming you’re not in desperate need or desire to replace YT) is a recipe for disaster. A lot of the conveniences of YouTube do not exist in FreeTube and if people have a poor experience with their first privacy-minded experience, they’re likely to make a u-turn, think it’s not worth the effort, and never look back.

If I were a YouTube user here’s what would bother me with Freetube

  • No subscription sync between phone, television, computer etc.
  • Whether videos load is hit and miss. I often end up piping a stream to mpv instead, because it doesn’t load in FT. YouTube ALWAYS works, and I don’t need to switch between instances to have a video working.
  • Doesn’t support 1080+ on all videos, despite the video being offered in the resolution.
  • No interactive parts, e.g. can’t comment, participate in live streams, like videos, etc.

I appreciate and like FreeTube. I use it all the time, but I would not force it on someone who’s used to YouTube. Using Invidious with an account is perhaps better, but not by much.

If you want to sell them on FreeTube I think your best bet is painting it as a desktop client for youtube which you can customize, themes etc. could make it a bit more appealing, but most people want their subscriptions, watch history, saved videos etc, to travel with them between devices, and FreeTube will never offer that.

edit: I am aware that you can export subscriptions and watch history, but what I’m referring to here is being able to watch something on your computer, stop, continue from the same point on your phone, tv, etc. Convenience is what keeps people from privacy focused alternatives, always has been, always will be.

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I admit, when I was closing the copious amounts of google accounts I had (when YouTube channels needed a separate account rather than now where you can swap. That and I wanted to be “InTeRneT FamOUs”) it was hard for me to think of how I was going to be able to replace YouTube.

In my mind, no other streaming platform was going to take its place, at least right now.
When I heard of Newpipe, I immediately went for it, transferred all my info, and backed up the remains and let it be.

I’ve been using Newpipe for almost a year now, and I do admit there are times I have been annoyed.
There are times where YouTube changes its systems and a new update is needed which can take a few days.
Other times, studdering gets annoying.
But I have to keep telling myself, this is better for the long run and things will get better, as long as I got Youtube with no tracking (or a lack of) then I’m happy. I get the same product.

Others will find it annoying, but there are options.
If a interface is to much, maybe keep the YouTube account on the phone in a work profile and debloat the original one off the phone.

Maybe if you follow just a few creators, maybe bookmark the creators and visit them when you can?
Maybe if its possible RSS feed the YouTube uploads page of each channel if, and have it open up in Newpipe or A browser with ublock.
Maybe it won’t be a big deal to others, as long as the video is playable. I couldn’t tell you.

If you can find alternatives and make more available to then when they make the switch like apps or services and YouTube is one of only a few reasons when compared to 10 to 15 other positives, then it will still be worth checking out.

Trying to balance the experience and expendability.

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