Android

How to Fix Network Error 503 on YouTube

Some users are reporting that they regularly see the “There was a problem with network [503]” error while using the Youtube web app on Windows, Android and iOS. In most cases, affected users are reporting that the error occurs when they click on a video from the Watch Later list. What’s strange about this problem is the fact that if the user tries to watch the same video from regular search, it typically plays just fine with no error message. Whenever this error occurs, the YouTube app will not load comments and descriptions for affected videos.

There was a problem with network [503]

What is causing the ‘There was a problem with the network [503]’ error?

We investigated this particular issue by looking at various user reports and the repair strategies that are commonly being used to fix the There was a problem with network [503] error.

Looking at the status code, we can determine that this is a server-side issue that typically appears when the site’s server is not reachable (for one reason or another). It’s known to happen with a variety of browsers and operating systems, on smartphones and desktop devices alike.

In most cases, the error ends up being caused by the connector in one form or another. Based on our investigations, there are several different culprits that have the potential of triggering this particular issue:

  • Connection timeout – A connection timeout is known to occur in instances where the APN settings have been modified from their default values. This can end up causing some inconsistencies in how the device is able to access data from other servers. If this scenario is applicable, you should be able to resolve the issue by resetting the Access Point Names to the default values.
  • Corrupted cached data – This is one of the most common triggers on Android devices when it comes to this particular error code. As it turns out, certain Android builds will trigger this particular issue if cache data folder becomes corrupted. In this case, you can resolve the issue by clearing the cache data.
  • Server too busy or is undergoing maintenance – It’s also possible that the issue is server-side: Either scheduled maintenance or an unexpected outage period that is affecting your area. In this case, you don’t have any repair strategy at your disposal other than checking the status of Youtube servers regularly.
  • Playlist queue is too long – It’s also possible that this particular issue occurs because the app is trying to load the playlist queue that loads when you play a playlist, but it ends up failing because the playlist is too long. This typically occurs in instances where the Watch Later list has over a thousand different videos. In this case, you can resolve the issue by deleting enough videos until you hit the 3 figure mark.

Method 1: Verifying the status of Google Servers

Before you move down to the other methods below and start troubleshooting the issue with several repair strategies that other users have found to be helpful, it’s important to ensure that the issue is not beyond your control.

Youtube servers have a reputation for being reliable, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have maintenance periods from time to time. Just last year, YouTube suffered a major outage and the [503] error was top of the list when it comes to user reports.

To ensure that the issue is not completely server-side, take a couple of seconds to visit websites like DownDetector or Outage to check whether other users like yourself are also encountering the same issue.

YouTube Status report

Another good place to look is Youtube’s official Twitter account. They have a habit of posting any type of scheduled maintenance or a major power outage that they might be facing.

YouTube Outage problem

If you’ve verified and there’s no major event that might trigger the There was a problem with network [503] error, move down to the next method below for some troubleshooting guides.

Method 2: Deleting videos from the Watch Later list

In most cases, There was a problem with network [503] error occurs with users that have a lot of videos added to the Watch Later list. Although there’s no official explanation on why this method is effective, several users have reported that they managed to fix the issue after they deleted all videos that they previously added to the Watch Later list.

Once they did this and restarted the application, any new videos that they added to the Watch Later list didn’t trigger the There was a problem with network [503] error. This seems to suggest that Google’s platform is suffering from a recurring but that might end up causing this issue.

Here’s a  couple of quick guides on deleting videos from the Watch Later list. One is for desktop devices (PC and Mac) and one is for mobile devices (Android & iOS). Follow whichever guide is applicable to the type of device that you’re using.

Deleting videos from the Watch Later list on Android:

  1. From your home screen, access the YouTube app.
  2. Once you’re inside the YouTube app, use the horizontal menu on the bottom of the screen to select Library.
  3. Then, from the Library menu, tab on Watch Later to access the menu that we’re looking for.
    Accessing the Watch Later List
  4. Once you get inside the Watch Later menu, simply tap the action button associated with each video and tap on Remove from Watch Later.
    Clearing the Watch Later List

    Note: If you have a lot of videos on this list, an even better approach would be to tap the action button in the top-right corner and select Remove watched. This option will remove every single video that you previously added to the Watch later folder, saving you a lot of time.

  5. Restart the YouTube app, add a new video to the Watch Later list and see if you are able to play it without encountering the There was a problem with network [503] error.

Deleting videos from the Watch Later list on PC:

  1. Open your default browser and visit the Youtube web app (here).
  2. Click on the action button on the right to bring out the vertical sidebar.
  3. Click on Watch Later from the Library section of the menu.
    Accessing the Watch Later list
  4. Once you’re inside the Watch Later list, click on the action button (three-dot icon) associated with each video and click on Remove from Watch Later. Do this with every video inside the Watch Later section until the list is completely cleared.
  5. Add a new video to the Watch Later List and see if the There was a problem with network [503] error is still occurring when you attempt to play it.

If you still get the same error code even after following the method above, move down to the next method below.

Method 3: Clearing Youtube’s Cache data (if applicable)

As it turns out, this particular issue can also be client-side on Android devices. There are a lot of users reports that encountered the There was a problem with network [503] error and managed to fix it by clearing the Youtube’s apps cache and data.

This fix is confirmed to be effective on both newer Android versions and older builds. Here’s a quick on how to clear’s Youtube’s Cache data:

  1. From your Home screen, tap on the Settings icon.
    Accessing the Settings screen
  2. From the main Settings screen, tap on Apps.
    Accessing the Apps menu
  3. Once you’re inside the Apps screen, scroll down through the list of apps until you find YouTube. Once you see it, tap on it once.
    Accessing the YouTube app
  4. Once you’re inside the Youtube App Info, tap on Storage. Inside the Storage menu, tap on Clear data and confirm.
    Clearing data & cache folder
  5. When the process is complete, tap on Clear Cache and confirm.
  6. Restart the Youtube app and see if the issue is now resolved.

If you’re still encountering the There was a problem with network [503] error, move down to the next method below.

Method 4: Resetting APN settings to default (if applicable)

Several Android users have reported that they managed to resolve the There was a problem with network [503] error by resetting the access point names to the default values. After doing so and restarting their device, some affected users have reported that the There was a problem with network [503] error was no longer occurring.

This solution is confirmed to work on Android KitKat, Lolipop, Marshmallow and Nougat.

Here’s a quick guide on resetting the APN (Access Point Names) on an Android device:

  1. From your home screen, access the Settings menu. Inside the Settings menu, tap on Mobile data, then choose your active data connection.
    Selecting the Active data connection
  2. Once the active data connection is active, tap on Access Point Names.
    Accessing the APN settings
  3. Inside your APN settings, click on the action button (three dot icon) and tap on Reset to Default.
    Resetting the Access Point Names values to the default
  4. Restart your Android device and see if the issue is resolved at the next system startup.

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How to Fix Network Error 503 on YouTube

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