TikTok: Users are getting a less Cluttered Viewing Experience

Some TikTok users have begun noticing a “Clear Mode” option, which lets them watch a video without the UI overlay that usually offers things like the favorite and comment regulators and other info about the video. 

TikTok guaranteed that it’s currently testing the feature, but it’s unclear how many people have access to it.

Those in the test group can access transparent mode by pressing and keeping on a video, then tapping the Clear Mode button on the menu. The same method can be used to exit manner transparently, and there’s also a button in the bottom right corner that will return you to the standard UI.

Activating transparent mode is a two-step process. If you start Clear Mode, you’ll be able to watch a TikTok without all the window chrome, but if you scroll to the following video, the UI comes back, and you’ll have to reenable transparent mode if you want to get the authentic full-screen video experience. 

That’s not how you’d expect it to work, but it would make sense for the company to build the feature this way; it ensures that you’ll at least have the chance to see who made the video and what sound it’s using.

You will be able to use Clear Mode across TikTok — it is available when you look at the For You page and on people’s profiles, and even in videos that had been DM’d to you. However, it didn’t show up for ads, and interestingly enough, it wasn’t available when you will be screen recording. In theory, that’ll help prevent people from using Clear Mode to steal content and pass it off as their own.

You don’t want to oversell this change, but it makes the app feel useable to me. You’ve always hated how the UI, which mainly contains the info you don’t care about, covers up a significant percentage of the video you are trying to watch. Clear Mode solves that issue. 

TikTok is adding this feels like more substantial evidence that the company is focusing more on longer videos — within the past year, the maximum time limit for TikToks has expanded from one minute to 10 minutes. While the UI being in the way of a 30-second video might only be a bit bothersome, you will not think many people want to watch something for 10 minutes while buttons cover up the main content and constantly moving text and icons.

Designing the mode to focus on longer-form content would also explain why you have to reenable it every time — if that’s an intentional choice. While it’s hard to justify activating the long-press menu and tapping the button to watch something less than a minute long, it makes more sense for something you’re settling down to watch.