The move is aimed at easing the burden on internet infrastructure as lockdowns and other emergency policies have kept millions at home.
The global change, which was announced and began rolling out on Tuesday, is expected to last for approximately 30 days as millions of people around the globe stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, YouTube said the move is meant “to do our part to minimize stress on the system during this unprecedented situation.”
Users will still be able to manually change to a higher resolution on a per-video basis, YouTube told CNN.
Due to more people working and studying from home, the internet’s underlying infrastructure is expected to face “an enormous stress test,” industry analysts have told CNN. Even some of the biggest tech platforms are now grappling with a greater challenge in keeping their services up and running amid surging demand.
On Tuesday, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, said there is “a lot of usage, a lot of demand” on the service. During an Instagram livestream, Mosseri added that a new feature on Instagram dedicated to showing what users are doing from home — titled Stay Home — was so popular it “almost took down Instagram” in its opening hours.
- The Year the Internet Thought I Was MacKenzie Bezos – WIRED
- Easy ways to get the fastest internet connection possible in your home – Komando
- Elon Musk says Starlink internet private beta to begin in roughly three months, public beta in six – TechCrunch
- Verizon is canceling home internet installations during the pandemic – The Verge
- Ethiopia’s internet shutdowns are disrupting millions of lives – Quartz Africa
- How to check if your service provider is throttling your internet – CNET
- 8 charts on internet use around the world as countries grapple with COVID-19 – Pew Research Center
- How to boost your home internet speeds while you’re stuck at home: Tech Support – Yahoo Money
- Welcome (Back) to the Appointment Internet – New York Magazine