Managing YouTube Subscriptions

How do you manage your YouTube subscriptions?

Unless I’m missing something, it seems there is no good way to natively manage them. For example, subscriptions cannot be placed in folders, tagged, or even sorted.

To partially mitigate these shortcomings, under my YouTube account, I’ve created several channels, one for each of my major topics of interest (i.e., Tech, News, etc.).

Although it simple to switch channels on the YouTube mobile app, it’s tedious to switch channels using a computer browser with the method designed by Google. Alternatively, I’ve found a way to switch channels quickly using a properly constructed URL. Although it takes a few minutes to create each URL, it’s well-worth the effort. Here are the steps.

Each YouTube channel has a pageid. This 21-digit integer can be found as follows:

  1. Using Safari navigate to your main YouTube page.
  2. Click account icon in the upper-right, select Switch Account, the select the desired account channel.
  3. The home page for the channel will be displayed. After it fully renders, select Develop > Show Page Source.
  4. In the page source search for the following text: “DELEGATED_SESSION_ID”:
  5. A 21-digit integer will follow the found string. In the URL below, replace XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX with the 21-digit integer.

You can repeat this process for each YouTube channel and save these URL’s to a bookmark folder.

Switching Channels Using Keyboard Shortcuts

As a user of Keyboard Maestro, I’ve created a macro for each channel. Each macro is triggered using using Shft+Cntrl+Opt+Cmd+Y (otherwise known as Hyper+Y) so that a Keyboard Maestro Conflict Palette is rendered when pressing Hyper+Y.

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This is awesome! I only use one account to watch, if I had a few I’d keep forgetting to switch then my watch history would be all mixed up. Going to steal the account switching shortcut though because I post videos on a separate account.

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My solutions are:

  • PocketTube for everything

  • For my favs, I add their feeds to Reeder

For doing the last:

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@crjstobal, thanks for sharing your strategy!

This topic is a bit confusing because it seems that YouTube sometimes refers to channels as accounts (e.g., when one uses the native GUI to change channels). Also, each channel has a Channel ID (which you mentioned; they are alphanumeric) and a pageid (which is embedded in the URL I included in my original post; they are 21-digit integers).

I saw that app. Even though the rating were somewhat low I was going to give it a try. But I got cold feet after reading the google privacy warnings.

Me too. Thanks for mentioning that approach.

Here’s another way to find the Channel ID: Find your YouTube user & channel IDs - YouTube Help. I’ve not found a documented method to find the pageid.

Yes, thanks again for sharing that method.

Yep, I currently watch youtube entirely out of rss (besides videos that others send to me in other places). Using RSS is a really great experience for me because I can be confident that I see every video from all of the channels I’m subscribed to, I never fall down “rabbit holes” watching videos I don’t actually want to watch, and I can sort by folders and tags. Highly recommend.