Google pulls plug on YouTube for older iPads, iPhones, smart TVs

'Try the built-in browser – that might work'

Pulling the plug

Some aging smart TVs, Blu-Ray players, iPhones and iPads are headed for early dotage, thanks to a decision by Google to shut down the older version of its YouTube API.

According to a revised product support page, the YouTube apps built into certain devices manufactured in 2012 or earlier will soon stop functioning, beginning this week. The cutoff will apparently happen regardless of whether the manufacturers advertised their devices as supporting YouTube at the time customers bought them.

Google, characteristically, has tried to cast the end of service in a positive light, describing it as an "upgrade."

"As we upgrade the YouTube Data API to bring more features, we'll begin shutting down the old version on April 20, 2015," Google's post explains. "We will continue to focus our efforts on improving our official YouTube app for TV which is available on most 2013 and newer Smart TVs and Blu-ray players, game consoles and streaming devices."

The devices that will be locked out of the streaming service include pre-2013 TVs and Blu-Ray players by Panasonic and Sony. But a surprising number of other, even "smarter" devices will no longer work, either, including many from Apple.

Any device not running iOS 7 or above won't support the new API – meaning the iPhone 3GS and earlier, the fourth-generation iPod Touch and earlier, the first-generation iPad, and the second-generation Apple TV are all shut out.

The Chocolate Factory's move will even cut off YouTube access for versions 2 and earlier of its own Google TV platform, presumably because it would like to shift customers toward the newer Android TV, which replaces it.

From the sound of it, customers shouldn't expect any future software update to restore service to older devices, either. Google none-too-helpfully suggests that anyone whose YouTube app gets cut off should see if there's a way that they can access the service via the device's onboard web browser. In order for it to work, though, the browser will have to support "Flash and/or HTML5."

To be fair, though, device manufacturers have had plenty of time to upgrade the outdated apps, if they ever intended to. Google first notified world+dog that YouTube Data API v3 was on the deprecation hit list in March 2014.

It seems, however, that smart TV buyers now have more to worry about than their goggle boxes spying on them. They also have to realize that their fancy sets, however expensive, may actually have a shorter working life than their picture elements suggest, and that the services that make them "smart" may disappear long before the screens themselves burn out.

Apple, Panasonic, and Sony have yet to respond to El Reg's request for comment on the matter. The API shutdown was first spotted by Android Central. ®

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