How to Fix Choppy Videos on YouTube.
With today’s lightning-fast internet speeds and cutting-edge desktop hardware, choppy YouTube videos should be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, it is not. We’ll show you what to do to fix YouTube when it happens.
YouTube freezes or slows down when playing videos? Various reasons often contribute to this, such as an unstable Internet connection, incorrectly configured quality settings, and outdated video drivers. Read on to find out how to fix choppy YouTube videos on PC and Mac.
Check Your Internet Connection
First of all, make sure that everything is in order with your internet. The best way to do this is to try using an alternative online video streaming service like Vimeo or Netflix or the YouTube app on your Android or iPhone. If you are still experiencing stuttering or video buffering, try the following:
Reboot your router.Reboot your PC or Mac.Connect to a different Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection.
Check for Server-Side Issues
Choppy video playback can also be the result of server side issues with YouTube. While Google doesn’t offer a dedicated online portal to test this, you can always use a third party tool like DownDetector or IsItDownRightNow? to determine if YouTube has any service outages.
Lower the Video Quality
While YouTube is smart enough to automatically adjust video quality based on your internet connection speed and hardware, this may not always happen. It may freeze at a higher resolution than your internet connection or your computer simply cannot process.
Try lowering the video quality manually. Select the gear-shaped settings icon in the lower left corner of the panel or screen of the media player in full screen mode. Then select “Quality” and choose a resolution below HD (360p or 480p).
If it helps, gradually increase the level until you find a good balance between visual fidelity and performance.
Update Your Web Browser
The following fix includes updating the web browser to resolve known issues with the VP9 codec that YouTube uses to play videos.
Web browsers tend to update automatically, but it’s always a good idea to check manually just in case. For example, you can force a Chrome update by opening the Chrome menu and choosing Help > About Google Chrome.
Are you using Edge, Safari or Firefox? Learn how to update any web browser on PC and Mac.
Note. YouTube no longer uses Adobe Flash Player to play videos in modern HTML5 browsers. Contrary to what you may read online, you do not need to install, update or use any Flash plugins. Besides, Flash is dead.
Clear the Browsing Data
Outdated browsing data is a common cause of numerous problems, not only with YouTube stuttering, but with other sites in general. Clear your browser cache and see if that helped.
Again, taking Chrome as an example, type chrome://settings/clearBrowserData into a new tab and press Enter. Then set the time range to “All Time”, select the “Cookies and Other Site Data” and “Cached Images and Files” categories, and select “Clear Data”.
For more information, check out our guide on how to clear the cache in any browser for PC and Mac.
Double-Check Your Add-ons
Browser extensions are another reason that causes YouTube videos to play choppy. Try disabling any active add-ons (in particular, content blockers or extensions that claim to improve YouTube) and see if that solves the problem. You can then reactivate them one by one, reloading YouTube in a separate tab, until you isolate the problematic element.
To enable and disable add-ons, you must access your browser’s extension manager. For example, in Chrome, simply open the Chrome menu (select the three dots to the right of the address bar) and select More Tools > Extensions.
Disable Hardware Acceleration
Hardware acceleration is a double-edged sword. It uses your computer’s hardware to improve rendering performance, but may adversely affect some systems. Therefore, most browsers, with the exception of Safari, allow you to disable this feature.
In Chrome, open the Settings panel and select Advanced > System. Then turn off the toggle next to Use hardware acceleration when available. You can use the same approach in other Chromium-based browsers such as Microsoft Edge and Opera.
In Firefox, go to Settings > General > Performance and uncheck the boxes next to “Use recommended performance settings” and “Use hardware acceleration when enabled” to disable hardware acceleration.
If it helps, you can continue troubleshooting by updating your video drivers and system software on your PC or Mac.
Update the Video Drivers
Updated graphics card drivers can help you avoid performance issues, especially on PCs. Check the website of your graphics card manufacturer – NVIDIA, AMD, Intel – for updates and install them. Or, here’s an even better idea – use the driver update tool to automatically update all the drivers on your computer.
If you’re using a Mac, updating your system software to the latest version will also update your graphics drivers (more on that later).
Update the System Software
Major operating system issues can also cause video playback issues. You can fix this by installing the most recent Windows or macOS update.
On Windows 10 and 11, open the Start menu and select Settings > Windows Update > Check for Updates > Download and Install. Also, select View Optional Updates and install any Microsoft-certified hardware discs, if available.
On a Mac, open the Apple menu and choose System Preferences. Then choose Software Update > Update Now to update macOS to the latest version.
If problems with stuttering or choppy YouTube videos persist, you may want to change your browser as a last resort. YouTube works best on Chrome, which isn’t surprising given Google is behind both.
So, if you are using a browser like Safari or Firefox, try watching YouTube in Chrome. If the problem occurs in Chrome, try using a different Chromium-based web browser such as Edge or Opera. Before doing this, you can always try restoring your browser to factory settings.
How to Fix Choppy Videos on YouTube
How to Fix Choppy Videos on YouTube