YouTube is saying good-bye to its past and many aging tablets, smartphones, and set-top boxes are going to be caught in the cross-fire. If you've got a first generation iPad, anything older than an iPhone 4, or a second-generation Apple TV or older, your device's built-in YouTube app will stop working soon.
Google announced late Monday that version 2 of YouTube's data application programming interface (API) would stop working on Monday, April 20. Many older YouTube apps—including the one that was built-in to iOS until version 6—will stop working. Other affected devices include select smart TVs and Blu-ray disc players, older game consoles, and anyone running Google TV version 2 or older. Anyone with Google TV version 3 or 4 can just upgrade their YouTube app in Google Play.
The impact on you at home: Although Google said the apps would stop working on Monday, as of Tuesday morning the original YouTube app was still working on a first-generation iPad running iOS 5.1.1. According to a YouTube blog post, version 2 will continue working for a few weeks yet. Starting now, anyone with an affected device will start seeing a video warning users in multiple languages that the app will soon cease to work. In early May, older apps will only be able to play the warning video and then by late May the apps will start displaying standard error messages.
What you can do
It may be the end of older YouTube apps, but it won't be the end of YouTube on older devices, at least for some. If you own an older iOS device that is set to lose the YouTube app, you'll still be able to get your YouTube fix using Google's mobile site. Older Apple TVs will have no way to watch YouTube once the app goes dark; the same goes for Google TV version 2 or older. To learn more check out Google's help pages.
Google's migration away from YouTube's Data API v2 began more than a year ago when it announced in March 2014 that it would be deprecated. Then it published another blog post in April warning of the impending doom.
The end of v2 comes just as Google has confirmed that it will soon offer a subscription service that allows YouTube fans to view select videos without ads.