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Solved: Why am I getting a YouTube playback error on Mac?

Google is maintaining the servers for YouTube, and there is no doubt that the American internet company has the sophisticated infrastructure in place. We will go through an easy-to-follow guide, so you don’t have to worry about complicated and lengthy solutions.

The error states that YouTube could not play the video for some reasons. You can dive deep into the error, but it is related to several reasons, so do not come to one conclusion. Follow our solutions to ensure that this won’t happen again, and even if the Youtube Playback error persists, and then you can apply the following solutions to solve it.

Check YouTube Server Status

Do not assume that YouTube servers are flawless because no one can guarantee 100% uptime. Technology breaks, even if the chances are 0.1%, and that’s the truth about it. Google cloud infrastructure is superior in many ways but they do encounter downtime due to several problems in nodes and Google data centers in different regions.

  • Check the graph for the current report on the site.

Google did not provide a monitoring tool on YouTube server status, which is a downside, in our opinion. Google News is another source to find YouTube server crash reports.

Use Another Browser

Millions have switched to Chrome as the primary browser in Windows, Mac, and Linux PC. However, Chrome is a highly targeted software where you can find a wide range of threats designed for it. Download another browser such as Firefox to confirm that the problem is persisting in Chrome only.

Sign out Google Account

Chrome is developed by Google and they want to track your online movement all the time. You have to sign out of the account and prevent customized from being active throughout the session.

  • Click on your profile picture icon located at the top right side.
  • Tap on “Sign out” to remove the account from the browser.

The customized setting won’t work anymore, which will remove the chances of old cache or cookies being used in the process.

Firefox Problem

I have installed Firefox on Linux PC, and I was not able to play 720p videos or higher. The low-end laptop can handle 720p streams and videos without errors, but it was happening for unknown reasons. However, I was able to solve it by switching to the Chromium browser managed by Canonical.

What I learned is that Firefox lacks drivers and video codec for specific AMD chipsets. Your Chrome browser might be plagued by irregularities, so we recommend the readers try Chromium instead.

Lower the resolution

I have mentioned above that my low-end laptop could not handle 720p resolution because of Firefox shortcomings. However, my low-end laptop cannot handle 1080p or above, and the contribution goes to a lack of VRAM and processing power. Lower the video resolution from 1080p to 480p for starters because old hardware is designed to load 480p videos smoothly.

The video quality decides how much VRAM and processing power are used to view the number of pixels. Lowering the quality will reduce GPU and CPU load significantly, thus, you have a smooth stream on the screen.

Reset Chrome

Google designed the Chrome browser keeping YouTube in mind, and it is one of the contributing reasons why videos load faster on Chrome. Reset the browser that will remove all customized settings, and it will bring back the software to life.

  • Open the Chrome browser.
  • Click on the three-dot setting to view more options.
  • Choose “Settings” to continue.
  • Click on “Advanced” to continue.
  • Click on “Restore settings to their original defaults” to continue.
  • A confirmation pop-up shows up on the screen, and then click on “Reset Settings” to finish the process.

Chrome will reset everything back to default settings.

Scan for Malware or Virus

Google’s developer team is aware of the threats that are lingering around Chrome software. Now, you have a dedicated option to scan the browser for threats, and it takes less than five minutes to search and dispose of the threats from a PC.

  • Open the Chrome browser.
  • Click on the three-dot setting to view more options.
  • Choose “Settings” and tap on “Advanced”.
  • Scroll down to the bottom and click on the “Clean up computer” option.
  • Click on “Find” to start scanning.
  • Give the inbuilt tool minimum of five minutes to scan the folder.
  • You will have the results on the screen after the scanning is complete.

Your Chrome copy is cleaned and no longer has threats in it. In case, if you found threats that could not be removed from the PC, then make sure to run anti-virus to scan the entire machine for threats.

Disable Browser Extensions

Browser extensions play a crucial role in making digital life easy, or it’s the other way around.


  • Open the Chrome browser and tap on the three-dot setting to view more options.
  • Choose Settings > More tools > Extensions.
  • Disable official and third-party extensions one by one.

You can disable all of them and restart the PC.


  • Open the Firefox browser.
  • Click on the three-dot setting to view more options.
  • Choose “Add-ons” from the drop-down menu.
  • Disable add-ons.

Bottom Line

Remember, if your machine is infected with threats, and then you cannot YouTube playback error without anti-virus protection. Conduct a full system scan in the machine and ensure that none of the threats are left in the software. Malware is a serious threat that overwrites and tamper with system files, and if there is any presence of harmful malware, and then consider re-installing Windows or macOS software.

Nurdin Navodiya
An avid young Blogger, Tech Writer, Web Developer and Founder of


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