I have an 1Gbps Internet connection speed that can easily support even multiple simultaneous Full-HD (1080p) video streams. However, when I watch videos on YouTube, the 480p quality level is automatically selected.

Why don't they change the video quality automatically based on my connection speed?

UPDATE: I noticed something interesting: if I switch to YouTube's HTML5 player, then it will automatically select the 720p quality-level the moment I switch to fullscreen size.

  • If you're not logged into Google (YouTube, Gmail, etc.) and watch videos, do you still get 480p selected?
    – Vinayak
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 14:49

4 Answers 4


I’m sorry to post in this old thread, but seeing as it’s at the top of Google and lots of people are asking the question on Google, I’ll provide an update. As of June 2020, Google has set the default resolution to 480p on mobile devices to combat the increased load of users working from home. It is unknown when they will switch it back.

  • I get 480p on a desktop browser. Something (AKA Youtube) is broken. But that's what you get when you "test in production". Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 7:11

Maybe it's got something to do with your account settings? You can confirm this by visiting this link:


Video quality settings

Set the video playback settings to Always choose the best quality for my connection and player size.

YouTube automatically changes the video resolution according to the player size (as mentioned in the setting) so if you're not watching a video in full-screen, the resolution might be set to 480p. Switch to full-screen and it's HD.

If you'd rather force a 720p resolution everywhere, you might want to look into installing YouTubeCenter as @stanciupaul suggested

  • Thanks. The first option was already selected. See my edit in my question, may be relevant for this discussion. Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 17:04
  • @RaduMurzea I tried that on my system and can confirm that HTML5 player automatically switches to a higher quality video when playing full-screen. Flash player however, wasn't able to make that switch automatically on my system.
    – Vinayak
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 17:32
  • I guess they don't support this setting anymore? I can't find it.
    – Alex
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 16:15
  • 1
    @Alex yes, they changed it in a way that this answer doesn't make sense anymore. Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 7:09

Maybe they though it's wrong for a desktop that uses a fast mobile Internet connection (with limited monthly quota) to select 1080p quality by default. That way, watching a few videos would make your Internet connection reach the quoata limit very fast or even drive to extra costs. Other reason may be computer's hardware performance that may not be able to run the videos in 1080p.

Yet, there is a solution to benefit of 1080p quality or video's highest available one: https://github.com/YePpHa/YouTubeCenter/wiki

PS: This will also get rid of YouTube's annoying ads

  • @AlE. YoutubeCenter has 103,503 users on Firefox alone, and is open source. They would have no reason to leave a link on this minor thread just to attract a few clicks. That StackExchange policy is to prevent spamming of commercial and obscure programs.
    – user14334
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 20:11
  • Thanks. I tried YoutubeCenter, but it doesn't work. It installs fine and I'm pretty sure I'm changing the right settings, but it doesn't work (by that I mean that 480p is still the default). Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 17:08

I solve this problem by using an extension on desktop - Auto Quality for YouTube™

On android there is skytube (extra) with adblock & picture quality settings.

Don't know about iOS solutions.

PS Pro tip - for better picture use higher quality then your native resolution. Using 1440p for 1080p monitor.

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