In these days where it’s not so easy to visit and hang out with friends, we can miss out on simple pleasures such as watching videos together.

Of course, we can send links or share them on social media sites, but it’s not the same as getting the reaction from your mates in real-time. Well, there is a way to still watch these videos together, in sync, and it won’t cost you a penny. Here’s how to enjoy YouTube videos together with friends.

If you prefer to take content offline, then you'll want to read how to download YouTube videos to laptop, phone & tablet.

How to set up an online room to watch YouTube with friends

There are several services that now let you meet up with others and watch videos online. The principle is that one of you creates a ‘room’ and invites the others to join. Then, with the aid of the service in question, you can access YouTube or other online (usually non-subscription) platforms and enjoy content at the same time. Often there will be chat windows in which you can discuss what’s going on or generally shoot the breeze and some include webcam access too, so you can see and hear your friends.

It’s not quite the same as being alongside each other on a big sofa, but while Covid remains a threat, it will do as a substitute.

Some of the most popular services we’ve come across are Watch2Gether, Sync Video and TwoSeven. For this tutorial we’ll be using the latter, but the method is pretty much the same on all of them.

How to use TwoSeven to watch YouTube videos with friends

Go to the TwoSeven site and sign up for a free account - just an email address and password. Verify your email, log in and you’ll see the main page with a Start Watching button in the middle.

How to watch YouTube together: Start Playing

Click this and a pop-up window will appear with a couple of options. These give you the choice of letting yourself and any visitors use them webcams and mics when in the room, plus a second option for whether you retain control over the videos displayed or allow others to be able to grab the remote.

Once your selections are made, click the Just Me button to create the room.

How to watch YouTube together: Control options

The room screen has a section where the YouTube video is displayed but you can also select other services from the ribbon along the top of the page. Subscription services such as Netflix require you and any guests you invite to have an active account, plus you’ll need to download a browser plug-in from TwoSeven to get things up and running.

To find a YouTube video you’ll need to have the site open in another tab, then copy the URL from there into the YouTube URL field just below the video player.

How to watch YouTube together : URL

If you want to use your webcam and microphone, then select the appropriate buttons on the right-hand side of the page.

How to watch YouTube together: Microphone and camera

With all this in place, all you need now is to invite some friends. To do this, click the icon in the top right corner that looks like the silhouette of two people with a plus sign and use the Copy Link button.

How to watch YouTube together: Copy Link

Share the link with your friends and they will be able to join the room, although it does require them setting up free accounts. Once they’ve done this, you’ll see them appear in the room. If they have webcams and mics, they can use those, otherwise you’ll want to click on the Messages box in the bottom right corner and chat through that instead.

How to watch YouTube together: Messages

With everyone set up you can now click the play button on the video and all enjoy it together. If you’ve given permissions to the others, then they’ll be able to pause the video that’s currently playing or enter a new URL for one when it’s finished.

That’s it. You’re now set up and able to have YouTube sessions with friends once more. It’s a little different to how things used to be, but not a bad solution given the current situation. Plus, you can now invite mates from overseas or who live too far to pop over. Swings and roundabouts.

If you want to share the Netflix experience with others, then be sure to read how to use Netflix Party.