FreeTube Release 0.7.1 Beta: Video Playback Hot-fix

Hey everyone,

Most of you are likely aware at this point, but there have been some very nasty issues lately with videos unable to play. The TLDR of it is that YouTube has been IP banning servers that scrape their site much more aggressively than they have in the past. You can read more about it over here on the Invidious GitHub page.

Because of these issues, I'm pushing out a new release for FreeTube which will include a fix that should allow you to watch videos in one way or the other.

You may have noticed this, but a majority of the Invidious API still works just fine. Subscriptions and searches seem to work, but the problem has been accessing the videos themselves.

The Fix

You probably don't use it very often, but FreeTube has access to a JS version of youtube-dl for accessing videos. You likely don't use it because using this is incompatible with the DASH player and only works with the legacy player. The “Play Videos Locally” option in FreeTube will use youtube-dl instead of Invidious to grab the videos, but most of the metadata is still coming from Invidious, which is why the video still won't play in the current release.

Youtube-dl actually provides most of the metadata that Invidious provides, but I haven't been utilizing it until now. This new release will fallback to youtube-dl for videos as well as metadata if Invidious is unable to do so. This will allow users to avoid the IP banning all together, as it will be using your IP instead of the server IP. If you experience issues with video playback with this new release, try using a VPN if you aren't (you should be) or switching to a different node with your VPN service.

As I mentioned, youtube-dl provides most of the metadata that Invidious does, but not all of it. Unfortunately, this means that FreeTube will lack the following when youtube-dl is used as a fallback:

Known Issues

The recent Catalina update for MacOS seems to have broken FreeTube and prevents it from running. I am currently exploring my options for a fix but in the meantime I would suggest holding off of updating your Mac if you rely on FreeTube.

UPDATE: This is now fixed. Please download the new .dmg builds on the website if you're experiencing issues.

In Other News


I know that I've been quiet lately. Unfortunately I have work obligations that I've had to focus on recently and it's made it difficult to work on FreeTube. That's why there isn't a whole lot of new things with this release. I'm hoping to get back to working on FreeTube soon but it may be a month or so before I have a chance to spend some good time on it. I will make time if hot fixes like this release are required, but I wouldn't expect too much from me in the meantime. If you'd like to help out during these next couple of months, please feel free to reach out to me and I can help you get started.

As always, you can talk about the latest release and other FreeTube related things over on Reddit, Matrix, Mastodon, or GitHub. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

You can download the new release over at our website.

If you like what I do, please consider donating through Liberapay

Until next time!

NOTE: Packages are not signed and your virus protection may take notice. Please check out the F.A.Q. for more info.