If you were trying to fire up a YouTube video just now and ran into issues: Don’t worry, it’s not just you. YouTube playback appears to be down for many at the time of writing, with widespread anecdotal reports as well as a spike over at DownDetector.
We should note: DownDetector’s general reports are usually correct, but not especially precise: Reports can bleed over to other services that aren’t actually affected, like ISPs. The outage may be affecting other services as well, but combing through more organic reports indicates it’s limited to YouTube and related services, seemingly including YouTube TV and YouTube Music. Android Police’s Taylor Kerns would like it to be known this interrupted his enjoyment of Mystery Science Theater.
Reports are widespread and don’t seem limited to any one area or market. YouTube’s search and browser still work on several platforms, but actually trying video playback stalls out trying to load. Sifting through reports, we’ve noticed a handful of other service outages including regional power and some smart devices, though it isn’t clear if they’re related. We’ve also seen reports that YouTube is working in some locations, though they seem sporadic.
If you’re having trouble watching videos on YouTube right now, you’re not alone – our team is aware of the issue and working on a fix. We’ll follow up here with any updates.
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) November 12, 2020
— YouTube TV (@YouTubeTV) November 12, 2020
TeamYouTube has acknowledged the issue, noting that it’s working on a fix. Upon request for comment, a Google spokesperson directed us to the above tweet. We’re continuing to monitor the situation, though have noted that in the last few minutes YouTube has actually started displaying an error message. That message is “An error occurred (Playback ID: [a unique alphanumeric string goes here]) Tap to retry).” It’s unclear what the root cause of the issue is, as the above statement from YouTube is decidedly vague. The outage also occurred during what is the start of prime viewing time in the US, and has generated massive amounts of complaints on social media.
You’re probably seeing a playback error like this one.
Earlier this year in September, Google had a much more widespread outage that affected multiple services, including Gmail, Drive, and Nest, mirroring a similar issue in March. A more minor outage affecting Drive also happened in September, and two more Nest outages occurred back in April and March. In short, it’s been a rough year for Google’s uptime. Hopefully, today’s episode doesn’t last too long.
As of 5:37 Pacific Standard Time here in the US, YouTube, YouTube TV, and YouTube Music all remain largely down. YouTube has still yet to provide an update on the situation aside from stating publicly that it is aware of the problem, with over an hour having passed since it initially was reported. We’ll keep this post updated with any new updates on the situation.