Announced in May, the revamped YouTube Music is not yet widely available. Rolling out through an early access program, we’ve so far found it to be a rather promising offering. Meanwhile, the latest version of the Android app is rolling out today and it hints at sort of smart remote.

About APK Insight: In this ‘APK Insight’ post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

Smart Remote

Version 2.35 features a single string referring to a “SmartRemote.” There is no other context, but one possibility is controlling playback on devices like speakers and TVs in a fashion similar to Spotify Connect. Of course, there is the question of how this would differ from existing Cast controls on Android.

One theory is that the remote is for controlling future YouTube Music apps on non-Cast devices like gaming consoles, streaming boxes, and other smart TVs. For instance, Spotify features a PlayStation client with Connect allowing users to output and control playback from their phones. YouTube already develops dedicated clients for LG and Samsung television sets.

<string name=”mdx_smart_remote_title”>SmartRemote</string>

Meanwhile, YouTube TV earlier this year was testing in-app voice remote functionality that accepts audio commands to control playback on other devices. The main YouTube app has also long supported controlling content playing on a connected smart TV via a phone. As noted by Android Police, the main YouTube app also references a “SmartRemote” feature in version 13.19.57 from late May.

Virtual reality

This version also features several updated strings related to watching virtual reality content in YouTube Music given how many artists are increasing adopting the recording format, especially for live performances.

<string name=”vr_pick_different_viewer_title”>Use a different viewer</string>

<string name=”vr_select_viewers_label”>Switch viewers</string>

<string name=”vr_watch_in_vr_message”>Watch in &lt;b>&lt;xliff:g id=viewer_model>%1$s<!–xliff:g> viewer?–>

<string name=”vr_watch_in_vr_title”>Watch in VR</string>

Namely, it changes references to Cardboard to general VR headsets, like Daydream View or other third-party alternatives.

<string name=”vr_welcome_get_vr_headset_link”><a href=”“>Get a VR headset</a></string>

<string name=”vr_welcome_watch_videos”>Place your phone in a VR headset. For the best VR experience, turn on High Quality playback.</string>

How to update?

Version 2.35 of YouTube Music is rolling out now via the Play Store. We do not post APKs to download directly given the legal challenges associated with copyright and possibility of removal. Meanwhile, that model moving forward is perilous given upcoming system-level changes from Android App Bundles and Google Play’s Dynamic Delivery.

Dylan contributed to this article

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: