Make YouTube Videos Default to Highest Quality in Chrome & Edge

This guide will show you how to make sure that Google Chrome and/or Microsoft Edge always play YouTube videos at the highest possible quality.

Using a small, free, “set it and forget it” extension for Google Chrome (which also works with Microsoft Edge) you can make sure that YouTube always plays videos at the highest possible HD quality. Or, you can choose a specific resolution level to set as the default instead of the highest possible. For example, if your screen or monitor doesn’t support 4K video, you’ll want to set the default to 1080p (or lower).

  1. Head over to the YouTube Auto HD extension page and click the Add to Chrome button.
  2. adding the YouTube Auto HD extension to Chrome or Edge

  3. When prompted, click the Add extension button.
  4. a browser extension installation confirmation dialog box

  5. Now you need to locate the newly installed extension icon. Depending on your version of Chrome (or Edge) it may appear directly in your toolbar – if it does, click it from there. It may also be “hidden” in the Extensions section – in which case you’ll need to click that icon first and then click the YouTube Auto HD icon.
  6. an arrow pointing to an extension icon in Chrome

  7. A list of all the possible YouTube “quality” settings will be displayed. Decide which one you want to become your new default and select it from the list.
  8. list of YouTube video resolutions to choose from

  9. Once again, click on the YouTube Auto HD icon and confirm that the check-mark is next to the quality setting that you want to use.
  10. list of YouTube video resolutions with 4K selected

  11. Now let’s head over to YouTube and find a video to watch. One way to test out your new settings is to just search for “4K”. Choose a video from the list of search results and confirm that it’s 4K video by locating the 4k icon.
  12. search result for a 4K video

  13. The video will start playing at the resolution you selected via the extension, not the one that YouTube wants you to use.
  14. YouTube playing a video at the highest quality

  15. Of course you can always change to a different quality level while you’re watching the video, the same always.
  16. list of quality settings for a YouTube video

  17. That’s it!

While you’re here, why not check out some of the other ways you can improve Chrome with extensions :)

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