Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Juno is the Vision Pro YouTube app that Google should’ve made

Published Feb 2nd, 2024 2:16PM EST

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

The Vision Pro was released in Apple stores on Friday, after two weeks of preorders. Buyers who will be testing the spatial computer for the first time over the weekend should know they’ll get plenty of apps right out of the box. In addition to over a million iPad apps that work on the Vision Pro, you also get about native 600 apps that were customized for the AR computing experience.

We’ve already shown you a few great Vision Pro apps, including Microsoft’s own Copilot and Microsoft 365 productivity suite. But you won’t find an official YouTube app for Vision Pro in the App Store. Google is one of the developers that is currently snubbing Apple. Netflix and Spotify also decided not to customize existing apps for the Vision Pro. 

While you can use the Safari browser to access any of those services, there is a fix for the YouTube experience on Vision Pro. You can download Juno, a third-party YouTube app from a well-known developer.

You might know Christian Selig as the developer who made the great Apollo app for Reddit. Sadly, it’s an app he had to retire after Reddit made it financially untenable for Selig to keep running Apollo. He’s back with Juno for YouTube, which does what Google isn’t ready to do. It puts a dedicated YouTube player on your Vision Pro. 

Priced at $4.99, Juno might be a great app to buy early on the Vision Pro. Of course, there’s always a chance that Google is working on a free YouTube app of its own.

Google might have multiple reasons to avoid Apple’s spatial computer. Like Netflix and Spotify, Google might not appreciate the recent DMA-related iPhone sideloading developments in Europe. Or how Apple is operating the App Store. But unlike Netflix and Spotify, that would be a rather hypocritical view. After all, Google is in the same position with Android, where it operates the Play Store.

Playing YouTube via Juno on the Vision Pro.
Playing YouTube via Juno on the Vision Pro. Image source: Christian Selig

The real reason for Google to avoid the Vision Pro is the hardware itself. The Vision Pro is something Google doesn’t yet have. It’s a product that might set the stage for true AR glasses that could replace the current smartphone experience. And Google pays dearly to be the default search engine on the current iPhone. Then again, it might just be a matter of Google not wanting to devote resources to a device that will undoubtedly have a very small user base for the forseeable future.

Whatever the case, watching YouTube via Safari isn’t the best option for the Vision Pro. That’s where Juno will come in handy. 

Selig said in a blog post that he made Juno because Google didn’t release a YouTube app for Vision Pro. Nor did it make the iPad version available for the spatial computer.

He reused Apollo code to create this new YouTube client for the Vision Pro. Then, he just used the YouTube APIs to make YouTube video playback happen in a third-party app. He used the kind of APIs that would not make Google grumpy. That is, you’ll see ads if you’re not on YouTube Premium:

Lastly, they have an embed API that’s pretty powerful, and is what I used in Apollo and now Juno. There’s no API keys, or limits to how many times a day you can call it, as it literally just loads the video in a webview, and provides JavaScript methods to interact with the video, such as pause, play, speed up, etc. It’s really nice, you can play YouTube videos back, and YouTube still gets to show ads (if the user doesn’t have YouTube Premium) and whatnot so no one is grumpy.

Juno features a translucent interface that meshes well with the Vision Pro UI. It’ll auto-detect aspect ratio, and it’ll offer you native controls for video playback. You can also use gestures, like pinch-drag to scrub through the video and double pinch on either side of the video to jump forward and back by 10 seconds. 

Juno will also show you your recommendations, playlists, and subscriptions. But you won’t see comments and captions. They might be coming in the future. Selig also says he’s working on more immersive environments for the app and multiview support. 

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

More Tech

Latest News