What is YouTube Leanback? In this feature we explain what YouTube Leanback is and how you and your friends can get the most out of it. 

We've talked about YouTube Leanback in past reviews, features and guides but we haven't really gone to town on it or explored it in much detail. 

We’ll now explain what YouTube Leanback is and how to use it. 

Why should I use YouTube Leanback? 

Watching YouTube videos on a big TV screen with a group is a lot of fun, but it can also be a pain. Text entry on smart TVs isn’t always the most intuitive thing in the world. If you've ever desperately tried to search for a video with an Xbox 360 controller, you'll known what we mean. In lieu of a real keyboard, it's more akin to entering your name on to an old-school arcade game than actually typing. 

Thankfully, YouTube Leanback takes the sting out of all of this. 

How to get the most out of YouTube Leanback on your smart TV
How to get the most out of YouTube Leanback on your smart TV

YouTube Leanback lets you use your phone to search for videos. It's a smart, effective way for you to use your mobile phone as a remote control, queue up video requests and make playlists.

As well as making it easier for you to watch YouTube videos on a big screen on your own, it’s great in social situations too, as everyone can use their phone to throw their favourite videos into the playlist. 

How does YouTube Leanback work? 

YouTube Leanback is available on all computers, smart TVs and devices with a web browser that support Adobe Flash. 

Setting up YouTube Leanback is really easy. First of all, on your laptop, PC, games console or smart TV, open up the web browser and go to youtube.com/leanback

Select the ‘Search’ option. If you’re accessing YouTube Leanback via your PC or laptop, a shortcut to this is mapped to the ‘S’ key. On games consoles this will be mapped to any one of the buttons on your controller - look for the on-screen prompts. 

How to get the most out of YouTube Leanback on your smart TV
How to get the most out of YouTube Leanback on your smart TV

Pairing your phone or tablet with YouTube Leanback 

On your phone or tablet, open up the browser,  go to youtube.com/pair

You’ll then be prompted to enter the nine digit code on your screen. Once this is done you’re ready to start queuing up videos.

You don't need to be connected to the same WiFi network as your TV or games console, but your phone or tablet will need to have some kind of data connection, whether its 3G, 4G or WiFi. 

How to get the most out of YouTube Leanback on your smart TV
How to get the most out of YouTube Leanback on your smart TV

Playing videos on YouTube Leanback 

Once you’ve paired your phones and/or tablets, you’re ready to start slinging requests into the video playlist. 

While still accessing YouTube on your mobile device, search for videos as you normally would. 

How to get the most out of YouTube Leanback on your smart TV

When you’ve found the video you want to play or add to the queue, tap the screen and wait for the ‘Add to TV Queue’ option to appear in the bottom left of the screen.

When your video is playing, you can pause and play the video from your phone by tapping on the circular icon in the middle of the screen.

You and your friends and flatmates can all start slinging playlist requests into the TV Queue which you can manage by tapping on the TV Queue link in the top left corner of the screen.

Managing the TV Queue in YouTube Leanback 

How to get the most out of YouTube Leanback on your smart TV

Currently, you only have the power to delete videos from the TV Queue from your mobile device not change the running order.

Hopefully this is a feature that’ll be added in future updates - if you want to move videos around in a Leanback playlist at the moment, you’ll need to delete and re-add videos appropriately.

What else is there to know about YouTube Leanback?

That’s pretty much all you need to know to start using YouTube Leanback. Once again, make sure the browser of your smart TV, games console or PC/laptop browser is capable of supporting Flash or has Flash already installed. 

Any news, updates or improvements and changes to the service will be added here in the future.