If you have been using YouTube with your Watch History disabled for as long as you can remember but are now getting the Your watch history is off message when you try to access YouTube… Welcome to the future! First, it was the dislike button, then it was adblockers… Now, it’s watch history... What’s going on over at YouTube? Have they completely lost it?

Related: How to fix Ad blockers not working in Chrome - Ad blockers not working for video.

YouTube is facing a wave of criticism due to recent changes and decisions that seem to contradict its revenue-driven approach. Among these changes is the aggressive testing of measures to block ad blockers on the platform and just recently, further fueling discontent among its user base they have decided to force Watch History upon everyone.

For a very long time, YouTube allowed users (anyone) to use YouTube and watch as much content as they wanted without having Watch History enabled. This meant that nothing you watched would be saved to your profile, thus leaving no data trail. However this latest change forces users to enable the 'Watch history' option to receive video recommendations.

The platform does provide the option for users to disable their history of watched videos, granting them greater control over their privacy and preferences. However, those who opt to disable this feature find themselves deprived of relevant video recommendations on the main page, receiving only random videos. Something that never used to happen. This new change basically makes the platform useless unless you opt into their totalitarian data collection policies.

YouTube: Your watch history is off

Is there anything you can do about YouTube’s new Watch History is off change? YES! But it might not last forver.

Frustration has been building within the YouTube community for a long while now, every since the Dislike button was added and Shorts were forced on everyone. Now with the blocking of adblockers and the forcing of watch history things are starting to get really, really heated. A lot of people feel that this decision infringes upon their privacy and further empowers YouTube's algorithms.

So is there anything you can do about “Watch history off” on YouTube now? Yes!

  • The solution is a rather simple one. Simply enable Watch History, watch one video, and then disable Watch History. This will trick YouTube into thinking you have a watch history to work with.

There are a few issues with this method though. You might get content that always focuses on that very limited watch history. You will have to repeat this process when YouTube clears the data. It will stop working when YouTube realises the gap in their plan.

Why is YouTube forcing everyone to enable watch history all of a sudden?

Despite the growing discontent among users, YouTube has yet to provide an official response regarding this issue. So it remains unclear whether this change is a result of a bug or a deliberate, unpopular policy. As with everything these days the only thing that makes any sense is to bolster revenue generation, akin to their previous aggressive stance against ad-blockers.

By encouraging users to share more data through watch history, YouTube can potentially enhance targeted advertising and improve business outcomes for advertisers. While the situation remains unresolved, the 'Watch history' feature undoubtedly plays a vital role not just in offering personalized video recommendations but also in facilitating targeted advertising, which underpins YouTube's financial success.