TikTok is offering some users a less cluttered viewing experience

Some TikTok users have started to notice the “clear mode” option, which allows them to watch videos without UI overlays, often showing things like favorite and comment buttons and other information about the video. TikTok confirms TechCrunch It’s currently testing the feature, but it’s unclear how many people will have access to it.

those in the test group (which included at least two edge employees) can enter clear mode by pressing and holding the video, then tap the clear mode button on the pop-up menu. Clear mode can be exited using the same method, and there is also a button in the bottom right corner that returns you to the standard UI.

Activating clear mode is a two-step process. (Apologies for the recording method, we’ll explain why it had to be done this way later.)

If you activate clear mode, you’ll be able to watch TikTok without all the window chrome, but if you scroll to the next video, the UI will return if you want a true full-screen video experience. It’s not the way I expected it to work, but it makes sense for companies to build functionality this way; it ensures that you at least have a chance to see who made the video and what sound it uses.

TikTok did not immediately respond edgeAsk for comment on whether the behavior was intentional.

I’m able to use clear mode in TikTok – it works when I’m viewing the “Recommended for you” page, people’s profiles, and even videos DMed to me. It doesn’t appear in the ad, and interestingly, when I do a screen recording, it’s not available. In theory, this would help prevent people using clear mode to steal content and pass it off as their own.

Clear mode off (left) and clear mode on (right).

I don’t want to exaggerate the change, but for me it makes the app feel available. I’ve always hated how the UI (which mostly contains information I don’t care about) covers a good portion of the video I’m trying to watch. Clear mode solves this problem. (Does the fact that I like it mean that clear mode is essentially old man mode? Maybe.)

The fact that TikTok is adding this feature feels like stronger evidence that the company is focusing more on longer videos — over the past year, the maximum duration of TikToks has expanded from one minute to 10 minute. While the UI for a 30 second video might just be a bit of a hassle, I don’t think a lot of people want to watch 10 minutes of content with the main content covered by buttons and constantly moving text and icons.

Designing the modal to focus on longer-form content also explains why it has to be re-enabled every time – if it was an intentional choice. While it’s hard to justify activating a long-press menu and tapping a button to watch less than a minute of content, it makes more sense for content you’re settling in to watch.

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