TikTok is giving some users a less cluttered viewing experience

Some TikTok users have started noticing a “Clear Mode” option, which allows them to watch a video without the UI overlay that usually shows things like the favorites and comment buttons and other information about the video. TikTok confirmed to TechCrunch that it’s currently testing the feature, but it’s unclear how many people have access to it.

Those in the test group (of which there are at least two) roadside employees) can access Clear Mode by holding down a video and then tapping the Clear Mode button in the menu that appears. The same method can be used to exit erase mode and there is also a button in the lower right corner that takes you back to the standard user interface.

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

Activating Clear mode will allow you to watch a TikTok without all the chrome of the window, but if you scroll to the next video, the UI will come back and you’ll have to re-enable Clear mode if you want the real video experience. in full screen. That’s not how I would expect it to work, but it would make sense for the company to build the feature this way; it ensures that you at least get a chance to see who made the video and what sound is used.

TikTok did not immediately respond to The edge‘s request for comment on whether that behavior is intentional.

I was able to use Clear Mode on TikTok – it was available when I looked at the For You page, as well as on people’s profiles and even in videos DMed to me. It didn’t show up for ads, and interestingly, it wasn’t available when I was taking screenshots. In theory, that will help prevent people from using Clear Mode to steal content and pass it on as their own.

Clear mode off (left) vs. Clear mode on (right).

I don’t want to oversell this change but for me it gives the app a feel usable† I’ve always hated that the UI, which usually contains information I don’t care about, covers a significant percentage of the video I’m trying to watch. Clear Mode solves that problem. (Does the fact that I prefer that Clear Mode is essentially the old person mode? Maybe.)

The fact that TikTok is adding this feels like stronger evidence that the company is focusing more on longer videos – in the past year, the maximum time limit for TikToks has been expanded from one minute to 10 minutes. While the UI that gets in the way of a 30 second video might only be a bit of a nuisance, I don’t think many people want to watch something for 10 minutes with the main content covered by buttons and constantly moving text and icons.

Designing the mode to focus on longer-form content would also explain why you have to re-enable it every time – if that’s a conscious choice. While it’s hard to justify long-pressing the menu and tapping the button to watch something that takes less than a minute, it makes more sense for something you sit down to watch.

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