In September 2020, video giant YouTube launched its answer to TikTok and Instagram: YouTube Shorts. These vertical videos are under 60 seconds long, autoplay on a loop, and - according to some - absolutely ruin the aesthetic of the app.

Want to disable them? YouTube doesn’t make it easy. But there are some workarounds, and we'll show you.

The bad news? YouTube has made it nearly impossible to fully disable YouTube Shorts.

The good news? You can hide them, pause them for 30 days, try a Shorts-blocking browser extension (on desktop), or install an old version of the YouTube app (on Android). Here's how.

Remove Shorts temporarily

This doesn’t really disable YouTube Shorts, but it’s a quick option to make them disappear temporarily.

  1. Select the Shorts tab and open the page.
  2. Tap Not Interested on every single Short.

All Shorts will disappear from your home screen - until you open the app or website next time. If that's not good enough, try pausing them for 30 days.

Pause Shorts for 30 days in Settings

  1. From the YouTube Home, go to the Shorts tab and select X.
    This will disable Shorts for 30 days.
  2. Once the 30 days expire, lather, rinse, and repeat.
You can set a reminder on your phone – or simply wait till they pop up again a month later. 

Block Shorts with a browser add-on

This option only works on desktop devices.

If Shorts bother you – well, looks like you're not the only one. Developers even created browser extensions just to block this feature. Here are the top three we found.

Hide YouTube Shorts | Chrome, Firefox

Instead of displaying as vertical videos, this add-on will make Shorts display just like classic YouTube videos. Shorts will disappear from Home, recommendations, subscriptions, and search results, developers claim.

  • Ratings: Hide YouTube Shorts clocks in at 4.7 stars on Firefox and roughly 4 stars on Chrome.

YouTube Shorts Block | Chrome, Firefox

Shorts will display in the classic player, the add-on claims. When using the Firefox browser, the Shorts tab will also disappear from the Home page, but users can enable or disable this setting.

  • Ratings: YouTube Shorts Block scored 4.7 stars on Firefox and 4.5 stars on Chrome.

Shortsblocker | Chrome

Shortsblocker for Chrome is pretty much the same deal as the previous two. It promises to disable YouTube shorts from search results, Explore, Home, subscriptions, and the sidebar.

  • Ratings: Chrome users gave Shortsblocker 4.5 stars.

Install an older version of the YouTube app

If you have an Android device, there's good news: you can go back in time to before the Shorts era struck. This is the most effective option by far, in line with the many customizations Android offers users.

1. Disable YouTube app updates in the Google Play app

First, disable YouTube app updates in the Google Play store.

  1. Open the Google Play app on your Android phone.
  2. Tap your avatar photo to access profile settings.
    Your avatar should be on the top right. This will load a dropdown panel with a list of options.
  3. Select Library and Devices.
    Depending on your version of the Google Play app, it may be called Manage Apps and Updates.
  4. Select YouTube from the list of apps.
    A list of all apps you’ve installed from the Google Play store should appear.
  5. Once you’re on the page for YouTube app settings in the Google Play store, tap the three vertical dots.
    An option to Enable auto-updates will appear with a checkbox toggle. This option is selected by default.
  6. De-select the checkbox labeled Enable auto-updates.

We're not quite done. To finish disabling YouTube Shorts, proceed to your device’s app settings and repeat this process.

2. Disable YouTube app updates in your phone’s Settings

  1. Open your Android phone’s Settings.
    The Settings app usually has an icon that looks like a gear.
  2. Select Apps.
  3. Select YouTube.
    From here, you can customize the settings for your phone’s YouTube app.
  4. Tap the three vertical dots, then select Uninstall Updates.
    A warning message will appear asking you to confirm your decision.
  5. Select OK.
Using an outdated version of the YouTube app is less secure, but it’s the easiest way to disable YouTube Shorts on a mobile device.

3. Install an older version of the YouTube app 

Once you’ve disabled auto-updates in the Google Play store and in your phone’s settings, you can install an older version of the YouTube app from APK files.

APK (Android Package Kit) files are the type of file used by Android phones to install mobile apps. Instead of downloading from the app store, this time you’ll load these files directly to your device.
  1. Go to APK Mirror.
  2. Download the files.
  3. Select Download or Install when a warning window appears.

That’s it. Next time you open the YouTube app, you should not see YouTube Shorts.

YouTube doesn’t make it easy for you to disable Shorts, but it can be done. If these short-form videos bother you enough, it might be worth it.

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