A trick to avoid being tracked by Youtube using xclip and xbindkeys

A trick to avoid being tracked by Youtube using xclip and xbindkeys


2 min read

Sometimes you need to avoid being tracked by Youtube. So you want to watch a certain video but you don't want Youtube to show you suggestions related to it or you don't want the video to be added to your Youtube history.

A very quick and simple solution is to have a key binding to a command that will open for you the video url from the clipboard.

  1. You right click the video
  2. Copy link address
  3. Press the shortcut keys to open the video using vlc or mpv

We are going to use Xclip and Xbindkeys to achieve this.

  • Xclip is command line interface to the X11 clipboard.
  • Xbindkeys is a program that allows to bind commands to certain keys or key combinations on the keyboard.

A quick and interesting note

For X11 based systems like Linux there are two clipboards:

  • Primary: Which is copy-on-select, you select a text and paste it using the middle mouse button!
  • Clipboard: This is the normal one we all know (Ctrl+c and Ctrl+p)

For macOS and Windows we only have one clipboard.

๐ŸŒŸ The primary clipboard is very useful for Linux terminal users. We can call it a Quick-Copy. So you select what you want to copy, and press the middle mouse button to paste it without the need to explicitly do copy-paste operations.

Installation guide

sudo pacman -S xclip xbindkeys

Or from AUR

yay -S xclip xbindkeys

For other linux distro users you know what you need to do :)

I have chosen the (Super+Alt+p) to be my shortcut keys. You can choose whatever you like.

  • type xbindkeys --key in terminal and press the keys combinations you want to choose and copy one of the two lines that will appear.
    $ xbindkeys --key
    Press combination of keys or/and click under the window. 
    You can use one of the two lines after "NoCommand" 
    in $HOME/.xbindkeysrc to bind a key. 
    "(Scheme function)" 
     m:0x58 + c:33 
     Alt+Mod2+Mod4 + p
  • vim ~/.xbindkeysrc and add those lines
    "vlc `xclip -o`"
      Alt+Mod2+Mod4 + p
    Here I am using vlc to open videos. you can choose any video player you like. Another alternative would be mpv.
  • Make sure configs are reloaded
# Make xbindkeys reload config
killall -s1 xbindkeys # SIGHUP signal

# Start xbindkeys daemon
xbindkeys -f ~/.xbindkeysrc

That's it!