(Credit: Screenshot: Download.com/Tom McNamara)

You may have noticed that a lot of people don't know how to record videos on their phones. When you record while holding your phone the same way that you do when you're texting your BFF, you cut off about half of what you could see if you just rotated the device 90 degrees.

SEE: Can a revamped YouTube Music app be the top alternative to Spotify?

YouTube hasn't been able to stem the tide of the unfortunate disease known as Vertical Video Syndrome (VVS), instead opting over the weekend to optimize the layout of a video page to accommodate these continual shenanigans. On the bright side, dark mode has finally come to the Android version of YouTube, after having been available on a desktop browser and in iOS for some time.

Let's talk about YouTube's recent changes to handle VVS first. Before, the site would put fat black bars on each side of the vertical video, to compensate for the uploader's tragic illness. Now, as first spotted by Android Police, the shape of the video section itself can be made vertical, though this has the side effect of pushing the video description out of view.

On the other hand, it makes YouTube comments less visible, which may be better for your mental health. It also means a longer list of video recommendations on the right, so we recommend you visit YouTube while logged into your Google account, which tends to reduce the appearance of clickbait that this section's become notorious for.

If you don't want to log in to YouTube because then it will know about your embarrassing enthusiasm for toy poodles, the company recently added an incognito mode that doesn't track your browsing activity.

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Now back to dark mode on Android. This is handy for viewing something at night, or otherwise in a dimly light room where you don't need a lot of illumination. YouTube doesn't go fully black with this mode, because the contrast between a black background and white text can actually be a little harsh for your eyes. So instead it's more of a dark gray, or "charcoal" if you're a color hipster.

YouTube is rolling this feature out in stages, so you might not have it yet. If you do, tap your profile pic in the upper right corner, then Settings, then General: you will see a slider for dark mode near the top of the screen.

And when you're done checking out dark mode and it's time to make some YouTube videos with your phone, remember... friends don't let friends record vertically. Save a life today.

The takeaways

  1. YouTube's video pages can now take pity upon vertical videos by changing the shape of the page to accommodate them, instead of putting black bars on the sides.
  2. YouTube also finally released a dark mode for the Android app, though it's rolling out in stages, so you might not have it yet.

Also see

Tom is the senior editor covering Windows at Download.com.