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Without sideloading I can't use a 3rd party youtube app that has no ads, no tracking and allows downloads. I also can't use my pebble watch because the official app is unsupported and only community supported software exists. I also am restricted from some content that android users of the same app can view because apple prohibits adult content inside of apps.

I see a phone as a tool to do what the user needs. Not the user doing what the phone will allow.






I have a little "share" button on my iPhone that invokes Youtube-DL via Pythonista, so I can open any Youtube video and get a locally saved copy pretty much instantly. I can use VLC to stream YouTube videos without ads.

There's a bunch of apps that let you load pretty much arbitrary code onto the platform - Pythonista and Scriptable are two of the top ones (Python and JS interpreters respectively), and with those you can do quite a lot.

It's not the same experience - that I'll grant you - but if you're moderately a power user iOS gives you enough to work with.


Oh, and apparently there's a new contender too - Play.js includes a fully functional Node.js implementation with support for npm (via package.json dependencies). So now you can basically use any NPM package on iOS. I can already tell that I'm going to get a lot of mileage out of it :)

That’s really smart! Could you share your script (as a Gist or something) I’d really like to use it.

Sure, here it is: https://gist.github.com/nneonneo/f6b2d659ba76542e7d27e13598a...

You need to install YouTube-DL via Pip, but happily the StaSh shell for Pythonista already includes Pip. If you're not using StaSh yet, give it a whirl - it includes a huge number of handy tools like SSH, Git, Pip, etc. Pythonista is awesome!


I know this is a privileged position, but I just solved that by paying your YouTube premium which gets rid of ads and allows me to download.

The problem with YouTube Premium is that it doesn't solve the tracking aspect of it. If anything, it gives Google validated identity & billing details about you which makes the situation worse from a privacy point of view.

I'm a heavy YouTube user and would be happy to pay for it. Yet, I can't do so without agreeing to their insane "privacy" policy and providing personal details to a company that has proven its bad faith countless times with all the dark patterns & invasive tracking.


In other words, you solved it by not stealing.

This is a slippery slope. In this case, is turning down the volume during ads also stealing? Is looking away stealing? Etc.

Downloading files for later has been a basic feature of computers since decades. If Google is now giving us defective-by-design tools it shouldn't be considered stealing to fix them or replace them with something non-defective.


It sure is, but I think it's pretty clear that "using YT Vanced/other apps to watch all of my YT content" (or ad blockers for that matter) is effectively stealing by using Google's bandwidth, server time, data redundancy, etc. without giving them anything. Maybe you're fine with that, maybe even Google is fine with that (since, at least with only ad blockers, they still get the data to build their human-level intelligence ML model in 20 years), but not everyone wants to do so.

Legally speaking it's not stealing. But this is an ethics debate, which is probably why you inserted the word "effectively" before "stealing". That's perfectly acceptable rhetoric :)

However, I would rather characterise it as misleading Google into sending data they didn't really mean to send given the exact ways in which the data is used (i.e. watched without ads and stored locally).

So this is "effectively" giving Google some of its own medicine. Misleading people into sending them data they might not have sent given full knowledge of the facts is at the core of personalised advertising.

So is this the ad industry stealing people's data, bandwidth, CPU time and battery capacity? No, not legally speaking. Is it ethically questionable? Definitely.

So is it OK to turn the tables on them? Stealing from thiefs if you like the stealing metaphor. I think it depends, but I see it mostly as a pragmatic issue, not so much an ethical one.

I don't personally use ad blockers, because paying for everything directly is an even greater threat to privacy than advertising. It doesn't even stop tracking - on the contrary. I don't currently see a viable alternative to some form of advertising (not necessarily personalised).

But because I'm accepting ads, I'm getting to feel the full brunt of the industry's deceptive efforts to prevent me from exercising my legal rights. They are using every imaginable technical and legal trick in the book to avoid compliance with lawmakers' stated intentions.

Given this context and considering Google's oligopoly sized margins, I feel that it is disproportionate to use "stealing" as a metaphor for the comparably tiny ethics issues related to ad blocking or youtube downloaders.

We need to nudge or coerce advertising back to using context and content for ad targeting instead of running deceptive spy organisations. That would also result in more money ending up in the pockets of content producers instead of middlemen.


Google gives you the data, you do not take it. If they give you the data without showing you adds, that is their problem, not yours.

My workaround for YouTube (on both iOS and macOS) is to use an RSS reader like News Explorer (it natively supports subscribing to YouTube URLs and syncs via iCloud) and then just watching via the browser with a content blocker (AdGuard) that seems to block the ads & cancer on YouTube pages.

This also allows you to subscribe to channels without having a Google account and agreeing to their "privacy" policy.


> I can't use a 3rd party youtube app that has no ads, no tracking and allows downloads.

It's called YouTube Premium. It's funny how we Hacker News users complain about services like YouTube and say we'd pay, but very few do.


I'm not complaining. I have a setup that works well for me. It just isn't possible on iOS.

I agree in principle, but if you want to get your Pebble working, check out “Rebble”. I’m happily using my old Pebble steel smart watch with iOS!

Potentially more on topic though, Apple gives significantly more functionality to the Apple Watch that third-party devices will simply never have access to. That’s the kind of lock-in I am annoyed about when it comes to iOS. Google play music will always be a second-class citizen compared to Apple Music, as is Google maps compared to Apple Maps. OneDrive and Fropbox will never be allowed to match the built-in functionality of iTunes back up. Flux can’t work on iOS, you’re stuck with the built-in Night Shift. Third-party keyboards are finally allowed, but they’re definitely second-class citizens and tend to not work very well due to operating system limitations.


Without sideloading I can't use a 3rd party youtube app that has no ads

What now? Safari + an ad blocker work just fine.


I just have AdBlock Plus installed and enabled for Safari on my iPhone. Haven't seen any ads on YouTube for quite some time now if I am viewing it on Safari. Only downside is that I have to click the cancel button everytime YouTube shows a pop up to open the link in the app.

You’re seeing it as a computer. It’s a phone.

This is the typical response I expected. "Your using it wrong!!"

Explain to me why the use case of using youtube without adverts or connecting my phone to my smartwartch is invalid.


I felt the same way as you for a long time, but eventually I got too busy to keep tinkering with my Android phones.

* First I got too busy to build custom ROMs, so I switched to ClockworkMod

* Then I didn't have time to load ClockworkMod on a new phone, so I just stuck with regular Android

* Then I gradually didn't bother to keep up to speed on new, better versions of the software I was using. Over the course of a few years apps kept breaking due to SDK changes

* This whole time, Google was steadily updating the Android UX and making obnoxious changes in an attempt to beat out Apple. So the OS was getting worse and worse every year

Finally, I switched to an iPhone due to some unrelated circumstances, and I was shocked to find that I barely miss Android at all. It sucks as a computer and a cool hackable platform, but it works great as a dumb device for a few basic use cases


Those are valid. YouTube Premium allows the first (while still paying content creators), and someone mentioned an iOS app that allows the second.

I don’t care if you switch, but figure you may want to know.


That doesn't mean he's wrong.

I've chosen not to "see" my phone as a computer, you as well. I treat mine as an appliance - not even as a phone really, it's significantly more a Messenger (Signal mostly), a music player, a web browser, and RSS reader, a camera, and a book. I hardly ever make/receive calls on mine.

But you can't argue that his choice isn't valid for him.


"watch videos" and "connect to a smart watch" are some of the primary uses of a smart phone. What are you even trying to say?



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