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Can’t Watch YouTube in 4K on macOS Big Sur? Here’s How to Fix It

Introduction

YouTube is undoubtedly one of the most popular video sharing platforms and is used by millions of people worldwide. With the rise of high-capacity displays and the increasing popularity of 4K resolution, YouTube now offers 4K videos for users with compatible devices and internet connections. However, several users have reported that they can’t watch YouTube in 4K on macOS Big Sur. This issue has become a significant problem for Mac users who want to take full advantage of their high-resolution displays but can’t seem to get 4K playback on YouTube. In this blog post, we will explore the issue and provide you with solutions to fix it.

Detailed Discussion on Can’t Watch YouTube in 4K on macOS Big Sur

Why Can’t You Watch YouTube in 4K on macOS Big Sur?

One of the primary reasons why you can’t watch YouTube in 4K on macOS Big Sur is due to hardware restrictions. Most older Macs don’t support hardware-accelerated VP9 decoding, which is required to watch 4K videos on YouTube. Since YouTube uses the VP9 codec for its 4K content, a computer without hardware-supported VP9 decoding struggles to play 4K video smoothly.

How to Check Whether Your Mac Supports VP9 Decoding

To see if your Mac supports VP9 decoding, open the Safari browser, and visit the YouTube homepage. Search for a 4K video and start playing it. Right-click on the video, and you should see a menu that displays the codec being used. If it shows “VP9,” it means that your Mac supports it. However, if it shows “AVC,” it means that your Mac doesn’t support VP9 decoding.

How to Fix the Issue

If your Mac doesn’t support VP9 decoding, there are still some ways to watch 4K YouTube videos on it.

Use a Different Browser

While Safari doesn’t support VP9 decoding, other browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox do. Switch to a different browser to watch 4K videos on YouTube. Simply download and install Google Chrome or Firefox and start watching 4K videos without any hassle.

Install h264ify Chrome Extension

If you prefer to continue using Safari or don’t want to switch to another browser, you can install the h264ify extension on Google Chrome. This extension forces YouTube to use H.264 codec instead of VP9, allowing you to watch 4K YouTube videos on a Mac without VP9 hardware decoding support.

Upgrade Your Mac

If you’re up for it, consider upgrading your Mac to a newer model that supports VP9 decoding. Most newer Macs, including those with Apple silicon, support hardware-accelerated VP9 decoding, enabling you to watch 4K YouTube videos smoothly.

Concluding Thoughts on Can’t Watch YouTube in 4K on macOS Big Sur

While macOS Big Sur may have some limitations when it comes to watching 4K videos on YouTube, it’s not a dead end. By switching to a compatible browser, installing appropriate extensions, or upgrading to a newer Mac, you can enjoy 4K videos on YouTube without any issues. Always stay up to date with your Mac’s software and hardware and don’t hesitate to seek support from Apple if you encounter any issues.

FAQs About Can’t Watch YouTube in 4K on macOS Big Sur

Why can’t I play 4K videos on YouTube on my Mac?

The most common reason that you can’t play 4K videos on YouTube on your Mac is the lack of hardware-accelerated VP9 decoding support, which older Macs do not have.

Can I still watch 4K videos on YouTube on my Mac?

Yes, you can still watch 4K videos on YouTube on your Mac by using a different browser like Google Chrome or Firefox, installing the h264ify Chrome extension or upgrading to a newer Mac model.

Do I need a fast internet connection to watch 4K YouTube videos on my Mac?

Yes. 4K videos consume more bandwidth, and a fast internet connection is required to watch them without buffering or low quality.

What other software do I need to watch 4K YouTube videos on my Mac?

You don’t need any additional software, but it’s always best to keep your Mac’s software updated and make sure your browsers are up to date.

What should I do if none of the suggestions work?

If none of the suggestions work, you should contact Apple Support to seek further assistance.

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Peter Graham
Peter Grahamhttp://fix-iphones.com
Hi there! I'm Peter, a software engineer and tech enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in the field. I have a passion for sharing my knowledge and helping others understand the latest developments in the tech world. When I'm not coding, you can find me hiking or trying out the latest gadgets.

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