YouTube and many other streaming services have lowered their bandwidth utilization to prevent possible network congestion problems due to everyone staying home and using the internet more than usual in these trying times. For many, YouTube videos start playing at 480p or 720p automatically, but it’s still possible to manually select a higher resolution. According to XDA Developers, Google has taken a more drastic approach for some regions in India and has started capping streaming quality at 480p for those using the Android or iOS app, with no option to go higher manually.
Most reports can apparently be pinpointed to Mumbai and Delhi, while people from other parts of the country say they continue seeing higher resolutions, but that might change later down the road. Those affected see 480p as the highest option available in the video quality adjustment menu, even if they’re YouTube Premium subscribers. That even led to some unfriendly comments accusing creators of uploading low-res videos — somewhat understandably, since there’s no warning in the app telling users what exactly is going on. Luckily, videos on desktops and laptops are unaffected for now.
#YouTube is indeed limiting Videos to 480p Resolution (yes, cant switch to higher resolutions manually now) on mobile devices (both Android and iOS) in India. Higher Resolutions are still accessible on Laptops/PCs/Macs. It is probably to
— Ishan Agarwal (@ishanagarwal24) March 30, 2020
While you could think that YouTube could’ve at least offered 720p as an alternative if you need to see a few more details, you have to keep in mind that India is the second most populated country with the world’s second-largest internet user base. It’s possible that this drastic restriction is absolutely necessary to avoid congestions and server overloads.