How To Fix Slow YouTube Buffering on Desktop and Android
It’s really annoying to face slow YouTube buffering when you have a blazing fast internet connection. I know extra load on YouTube servers could lead to slow buffering, but that’s very rare. If you are constantly noticing YouTube running slow, then there is definitely a problem at your end.
Whether you are facing problems on your desktop or Android phone, I got a few tips for you that should fix slow YouTube buffering. Let’s see which one of these tips fix your slow YouTube issue.
Note: There is no magic trick to speed up YouTube buffering. You must have a reliable internet connection speed (1Mbps at least) to watch YouTube videos. While listing these tips, I am considering you already have a good internet connection, but you are still facing slow YouTube buffering.
Fix slow YouTube buffering on desktop
On the desktop, it’s usually a problem with your browser that leads to slow YouTube streaming. Below are some tips that should fix slow buffering on a desktop. Do note that some of these tips also apply to Android users, so you should go through them even if you are facing slow buffering on your phone only.
1. Block CDNs to directly access YouTube videos
If the YouTube videos are being delivered to you through a CDN (Content Delivery Network), then there is a chance your ISP might be throttling your YouTube streaming. To fix this, you can just block IP addresses that connect with these CDNs in your PC firewall. Below are the two IP address ranges that you need to block.
18.104.22.168/24 and 22.214.171.124/16
I am going to show you how to block these IP address ranges in Windows. Here are some resources to block IP address in Mac (scroll to bottom), Linux and at the router level. If you want to block these IP addresses for all the connected devices (including phone), then block them at the router level.
- In Windows, press Windows+R keys and type “cmd” in the Run dialog to open the Command Prompt.
- Here enter the below-mentioned command and hit enter:
netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name=”YouTubeTweak” dir=in action=block remoteip=126.96.36.199/24,188.8.131.52/16 enable=yes
If you have done it right, then it should fix slow YouTube buffering.
2. Disable ad blocker
If the YouTube videos are particularly slow to buffer in the start, then there is a chance your ad blocker might not be blocking ads properly. Try disabling your ad blocker and see if it fixes the problem.
If the problem is fixed, then you should either fully replace your ad blocker or whitelist YouTube and get a dedicated ad blocker for YouTube. You can try Adblock for YouTube, which should be able to safely block ads without buffering issues.
3. Clear browser cache and cookies
Too much stored browser data could also lead to overall slower YouTube experience. You should delete cache and cookies in your particular browser. The below instructions are for Google Chrome, if you have a different browser, then follow this article.
In Chrome, click on the main menu (three vertical dots) at the top-right corner and select “History” from it.
Now click on the “Clear browsing data” option in the left panel.
Here make sure “Cookies and other site data” and “Cached images and files” options are checked. Afterward, click on “Clear Data”.
YouTube might speed up after the above process.
4. Disable hardware acceleration
If you are particularly facing slow YouTube buffering for HD videos, then it might be due hardware acceleration. This feature allows your graphic card to speed up content when possible. However, if you don’t have a powerful graphic card, then this feature may adversely affect your video experience.
I am going to show you how to disable hardware acceleration in Chrome. Here are the instructions to disable hardware acceleration in other popular browsers.
Click on the Chrome main menu at the top-right corner and select “Settings” from it.
Here click on “Advanced” at the bottom. Scroll down to the end and disable the option “Use hardware acceleration when available”.
5. Change browser
If it’s a browser issue, then switching your browser should fix it. Chrome works great for watching YouTube videos, but you can also give Firefox and Opera a try. If this does fix the problem, then you can also fully reset or reinstall your current browser. This might fix the problem and you won’t have to switch to a new browser.
6. Use a VPN
This is actually opposite of speeding up YouTube videos, but if YouTube buffering is slow due to any kind of network throttling, then a VPN should fix it. There are many free VPN services available, but ProtonVPN is a better option for unlimited free streaming. Alternatively, you can also try out Opera browser that comes with a built-in free unlimited VPN.
7. Fully buffer YouTube videos
In case all of the above methods don’t work for you, then it might be better to let YouTube videos fully buffer before you start watching them. Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t allow full buffering of a video anymore, so you’ll need a workaround.
You can check my article how to fully buffer a YouTube video to learn multiple ways to buffer YouTube videos. Pause the video for a few minutes and then play it, you should not face buffering issue. In the aforementioned link, you’ll also see a method to watch YouTube using the old flash player. There is a chance you’ll get better buffer speed in the flash player, so do try that as well.
Fix Slow YouTube buffering on Android
Many network and software optimization issues could lead to slow YouTube buffering on YouTube’s Android app. I am going to list all the possible fixes I know. Hopefully, one of these tips should fix slow YouTube buffering on Android:
1. Disable WiFi Optimization
Many Android phones have a WiFi Optimization feature that saves battery while connected to a WiFi network. When enabled, this feature may throttle your connection and lead to YouTube streaming slow. Here’s how to disable WiFi Optimization:
- Go to “Settings” and tap on “Connections”
- Now tap on “WiFi” and then tap on the “Advanced” button at the top-right corner.
- Here uncheck the checkbox next to “WiFi Optimization”.
This should fix slow YouTube buffering on your Android phone if the feature was turned on. Don’t worry if this option isn’t available on your phone, some Android phones don’t support it. For example, my Samsung phone doesn’t have this option.
2. Change WiFi Frequency to 2.5GHz
Some users also had success by changing WiFi Frequency to a fix 2.5Ghz, you should try it as well. To do so, go to the same “Advanced” WiFi settings like we did in the above tip, and here set “WiFi frequency band” to 2.5 GHz instead of “Auto”.
Again, this option may not be available on some phones, so don’t worry if it isn’t available for you. Keep reading and some other fix may work for you.
3. Disable Bluetooth
Sometimes Bluetooth can also cause slow YouTube buffering when used simultaneously with WiFi. Make sure Bluetooth is turned off before streaming YouTube. Usually, you can swipe down from the top to open notification panel and tap on the Bluetooth icon to disable it.
4. Disable hardware overlays and Force GPU Rendering
If you are particularly facing slow buffering while watching HD videos, then there are two Developer options that may fix the problem. If Developer Options aren’t enabled on your phone, here’s a tutorial to enable them.
Once enabled, the Developer Options will be available at the very bottom of the “Settings”. Access them, and enable “Force GPU rendering” and “Turn off hardware overlays” options. Both of these options should be listed under the “Hardware-accelerated rendering” section.
5. Run YouTube in Browser
You can also visit YouTube mobile website using your browser to watch YouTube videos. If the buffering is fine on the YouTube website, then it must be a problem with the YouTube app. Additionally, this is also an alternative method to watch YouTube videos while we try to fix slow buffering on the YouTube app.
6. Clear YouTube app cache and data
If the above fixes didn’t help, then it’s time to take some strict measures. You should delete all of the YouTube app data, which will fix any issues caused by data corruption. Here’s how to do it:
- Go to “Settings” and tap on “Applications”.
- Here tap on the YouTube app and then tap on “Storage”.
- Now tap on “Clear Cache” to delete all the cache. If that doesn’t fix the issue, then tap on “Clear Data” to delete all the saved data as well.
7. Uninstall YouTube app updates
If a particular update is causing the YouTube app to buffer slowly, then uninstalling updates should fix it. To do so, go to YouTube app settings like we did in the above tip. Here tap on “Uninstall Updates” button and confirm it to delete all the updates.
If the “Uninstall Updates” button isn’t available, then tap on the “Disable” button and then tap on the “Enable” button. This process also serves the same purpose.
8. Factory reset the phone
If nothing is working, then you can try this nuke option. A factory reset will delete all the data in your phone and reset it to its initial state. In most cases, this process fixes most software related issues. Here’s how to do it:
Warning: This process will delete all the data on your phone, so make sure your important data is backed up before factory resetting the phone.
- Go to “Settings” and tap on “General Management”
- Tap on “Reset” here, and then select “Factory data reset”.
- Now scroll to the bottom and tap on “Reset Device” to start the process.
Depending on your data, it may take 5-10 mins to reset the phone. You’ll have to set up your device again once it has been successfully reset.
If you are still stuck with slow buffering or found out that your slow network doesn’t allow smooth YouTube buffering, then there is also an option to download YouTube videos. You can simply download the videos you like, and later watch them as you please. Although there are many apps to download YouTube videos and even your entire playlists, but YouTube Go by Google is the best choice.
It is a very light app that lets you easily navigate YouTube and download videos as you go. Google has specially created this app for users with slow or limited connections.
These tips should be able to fix slow YouTube buffering on both the desktop and your Android phone. If you are still facing issues, then I will recommend you to try using YouTube on a different internet connection if possible. This should help detect if it’s a network problem, so you may contact your ISP to ask for help.
If you know any other ways to fix slow YouTube buffering, do share with everyone else in the comments below.