YouTube has improved over the years at curating content for us based on our viewing habits. But let’s face it – it’s nowhere near as good at curation as a human being, and part of that is probably intentional to keep you clicking around the Internet’s biggest video database. To block YouTube channels you’ll need to play outside YouTube’s rules and use a nifty third-party app to help you out.
Video Blocker for YouTube doesn’t just outright block channels but gives you control over what types of channels appear on your YouTube in the future. Here’s our guide on how to use it as well as a few other tips to stop unwanted video junk from appearing on your homepage.
Pause Watch History or Use YouTube “Incognito” Mode
Before moving onto the more elaborate methods of blocking YouTube content, let’s give a nod to this easily overlooked feature. Introduced in 2018, YouTube’s “Incognito” mode works on both smartphones and on computers, but the method is a little different for each. Essentially, this feature will stop YouTube tracking what you watch, which will in turn stop it pushing channels onto your homescreen.
To do this on PC, click the three-lined menu icon at the top left -> History then over on the right-hand side click “Pause Watch History” and “Pause” again. You’ll need to come back to this screen to turn your watch history back on again.
On smartphones, click your profile picture at the top right, then Settings -> History and privacy and tap the “Pause watch history” slider.
Control What Appears on Your YouTube Homepage
First, it’s worth trying the in-house method of at least partially blocking YouTube videos. Your YouTube homepage displays all manner of videos it thinks you’re interested in – from recent uploads on regularly visited channels to “Recommended” videos based on your viewing habits – but these may include videos that you don’t want … at all.
To block videos from certain channels from appearing in your recommended feed, click the three-dotted menu icon next to the title of a video on your YouTube homepage (it’s invisible until you hover your mouse over the right area), then click “Not interested.”
After that you can pick multiple reasons why you’re not interested in a video including the option “I’m not interested in this channel.” If you select this, videos from this channel will stop appearing in your recommended feed.
Note that this doesn’t block the channel from appearing in search results, only from your YouTube homepage. If you want to outright block channels, then you can go a step further.
How to Block YouTube Channels
I can’t find any reliable way to completely block a YouTube channel on the YouTube app for smartphones. However, on the desktop you can take advantage of the Video Blocker extension for Chrome, Firefox and Opera to block videos and channels.
This extension lets you completely block all videos from a channel or specific type of video and make them completely inaccessible like they were never uploaded to YouTube. They will not show up as recommendations, and even searching for the channel’s name will not show any results.
Block Channels with Video Blocker
For demonstration purposes we will be using the extension on Chrome, although the same instructions will apply for Firefox and Opera as well. The basic blocking process is simple; as soon as you see a video from a channel that you don’t like, right-click on it and select “Block videos from this channel.” That should do it. All videos from that channel will be immediately removed from your sight.
However, when we tested this ourselves, the first time we tried using the above method, it didn’t work for us.
An alternative method using Video Blocker is to click the Video Blocker extension icon in Chrome, then click “Blocklist.” Here you can manage all your blocked videos. Go to “Add new” in the pane on the left to add channels to your blocklist manually. Once we did this the first time, it seemed to unlock the right-click method we outlined above.
Managing Your Blocklist
Once you’re in the Video Blocker menu, there are quite a few options you can dabble with. When adding a new video to block, for instance, you’ll see three different options under the “Type” dropdown. Here’s what they mean.
- Channel item: When this option is selected you need to enter the exact full name of the channel (case sensitive) where you would like to block the videos. It is better to copy/paste the channel’s name, but you can also type it yourself.
- Wildcard: It is the same as the “Channel item” option, but it is not case sensitive. Any words entered here will be searched, and that channel will be blocked if the words match. This option is perfect for blocking multiple channels of the same type.
- Keyword: This option filters all videos containing a specific keyword (not case sensitive). Just enter the keyword, and Video Blocker will filter all recommendations and searches containing that word in any order.
You can also add a password to Video Blocker to stop other users from adding or removing channels from the block list. However, this feature is not available in Firefox and Opera, and you can only use it in Chrome.
Click the Video Blocker extension icon and select “Options.”
In the Video Blocker menu click “Security” in the pane on the left, and you’ll see the option to set your password. It should be kept in mind that this will not prevent someone from deleting the Video Blocker extension, but if they do delete it, at least you know that someone tried to watch the content you blocked.
In addition to protection, Video Blocker also allows you to export and import your block list so you can use the extension on any PC without losing your block list.
Video Blocker works best in the hands of parents who are trying to protect their children from inappropriate content, although it can also be used for blocking annoying recommendations from channels you don’t like. If you know a similar solution for smartphones, share it with us in the comments below.
This article was first published in 2017 and was updated in May 2019.