Watching Patrick Willems’s latest video about “content,” I realized that I don’t use YouTube like most people. I never, ever use autoplay. I don’t go there to find videos that are suggested to me. For me, it’s a destination video site: I watch the video I planned to watch, then I close the window. Here’s how I use it.

  1. I don’t stay signed in to any Google products in Safari. I haven’t used Gmail as my email in nearly 20 years. I’m always logged out. I’m sure Google keeps a cookie to try to track me some—my sidebar definitely shows stuff I’m sure it thinks I want, but Safari’s anti-tracking measures help me some here.
  2. No ads. I use the Vinegar Tube Cleaner extension in Safari. This tricks YouTube into using HTML5, and thus Safari’s built-in video player, on all videos instead of YouTube’s own player, which means YouTube doesn’t serve me ads.
  3. RSS. If you to any YouTube channel, and copy the URL of the videos tab (, you can paste that into an RSS reader (I like NetNewsWire). Instead of relying on YouTube’s subscriptions and notifications—which wouldn’t see because I don’t ever log into YouTube—my RSS reader keeps track of new episodes for me.
  4. Chrome fallback. I do subscribe to one site to get its member-exclusive videos. For that I use Chrome, where I do stay logged-in. In fact, the only reason I ever use Chrome is when I need to use a Google product or when I need to use Zoom on the Mac, which doesn’t work as well in Safari.