YouTube Music's new casting feature is nice, but could be a lot better

YouTube Music
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

YouTube Music has quietly rolled out a new feature that offers suggestions for devices to cast your music to. If you often like to cast your music to a supported, Wi-Fi connected device like a smart TV or wireless speaker, then you'll probably get some mileage out of this update.

Available on the iOS and Android versions of the YouTube Music app, the new feature was initially spotted by ChromeUnboxed (opens in new tab), and appears as a 'Suggested' section at the top of the 'Cast to a device' menu. This new section will suggest supported casting devices connected to your Wi-Fi network, including the best smart TVs or Google Nest speakers, just to give two examples.

These suggestions seem to base themselves on the devices you find yourself casting to the most. As such, it could be an effective timesaver that immediately allows you to connect to your go-to speaker, instead of scrolling through your entire list of casting devices.

If the suggestion isn't what you're looking for, you can also remove it from the 'Suggestions list' simply by tapping the 'X' next to the name of the device. Doing so will replace it with another suggestion if the app can find one.

A cool feature, but it needs more

While we welcome any improvements or quality-of-life additions to YouTube Music, we feel like this casting suggestions feature could've gone further. The feature, by default, seems to suggest the connection that your phone casts to the most. As such, it won't necessarily suggest the device that's closest to you at any given moment. 

For example, you may use a TV or wireless speakers in your lounge as your most commonly used casting option. But if you're in another room (say, if you're a remote worker with wireless speakers at your desk), those suggestions probably won't be the most useful to you at that time.

The feature has promise, though, and we'd like to see Google further improve it somewhere down the line. If you're the kind of person who has more than one device that you frequently cast to, then a preference for setting suggestions to the nearest device – as opposed to the one you use the most – would make for a really nice update.

To give credit where it's due, though, Google has been improving the YouTube Music experience at a steady clip. A couple of months ago, it added the ability to save your music queues as playlists to Android devices.

More recently, it's allowed YouTube Premium subscribers to stream music to Wear OS devices like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. Hopefully Google can continue this steady stream of quality-of-life updates throughout this year and next, and offer improvements where needed.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Writer

Rhys is Hardware Writer for TechRadar Gaming, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Rhys has a strong love for all things gaming, including everything from triple A blockbusters to hidden indie gems. For Rhys, the highlights of the work are being able to test out top-notch gaming hardware, from controllers and headsets to VR and beyond. When he's not on the clock, you'll usually find him logged into Final Fantasy 14 and Sea of Thieves. Or taking massive Ls in Mario Party Superstars.