A few days ago, Google updated the YouTube app to fix some bugs and most importantly, add support for HD video playback on phones with 720p resolution screen like the Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy Note. For Android handsets with WVGA screen resolution, the YouTube app shows an option to playback videos in ‘HQ’, since the screen resolution of these phones are not good enough to enjoy full HD videos.
Thanks to a XDA member – theos0o – users can now enjoy full HD (720p) videos even on their Android handset’s non-HD screen. Theos0o has released two version of the modified YouTube APK, one for Gingerbread running handsets and the other one for Ice Cream Sandwich running handsets.
To install the modified YouTube APK, users will first need to uninstall the pre-installed YouTube app. Since the app comes pre-installed in the /system partition in quite a few Android handsets, users will need to have root access on their handset to uninstall the app. If you have root access on your handset, and the app is not getting uninstalled the usual way, simply use Root Explorer or any other similar app and delete the YouTube.apk from the /system/app/ folder. Now, simply install the modified APK file of YouTube on your Android handset or tablet.
If you are wondering what’s the point of full HD videos on a non-HD screen since the extra resolution/details won’t be noticeable on a WVGA screen, I strongly recommend you to try out the modified APK once. Even I was wondering the same thing, but after I installed the modified YouTube APK file on my Galaxy S2 running CM9, and saw a video on YouTube in full HD mode, I was left speechless. Even though the screen of the Galaxy S2 is not capable of taking full advantage of the full HD resolution videos, the video still looked much better and clearer. If you have any doubt whether this modified YouTube APK file will improve your YouTube experience on your Android handset, I strongly recommend you to try it. The difference in quality even on the non-HD screen of your Android handset will be more than noticeable.
Keep in mind that Full HD videos require much more bandwith than the usual HQ videos. Users are recommended to use a fast and preferably unlimited Wi-Fi connection instead of their 3G connection to watch streaming HD videos on their phone, otherwise they will end up exhausting their 3G data limit in no time.
The modified APK file can be downloaded from this thread on XDA forums.