Although I unsubscribed from all YouTube channels and removed the app from my phone, I now try to consume videos in a more controlled way. I now subscribe to channels using my feed reader Miniflux.
It seems like each YouTube channel has a channel ID, consisting of a random string, and an optional username. I found the following methods to work to subscribe to a channel:
- If the YouTube channel has a custom username (the URL of the channel is
https://www.youtube.com/user/ + username), go to the videos tab, copy the URL and paste it into Miniflux’s “Add subscription” page. It will find the correct feed.
- If the URL of the channel is like this:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/ + random string (the channel ID). Copy the channel ID and paste
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id= + channel ID into the “Add subscription” page.
Subscribing to YouTube channels this way allows me to subscribe to new videos, but Miniflux shows them between all the other news I subscribe too. Because the YouTube feed contains an embedded player, I can watch videos without looking at comments or video recommendations, decreasing the distraction. And I can bookmark videos to watch them later. I group all YouTube subscriptions into a category.