YouTube Tests Native Picture-in-Picture Mode for iOS App
YouTube appears to be testing Picture in Picture (PiP) mode for its iOS app, reports 9to5Mac. The feature allows users to watch YouTube videos while using other apps, and was discovered by developer Daniel Yount, who stumbled across it while viewing a YouTube live stream on his iPad.
Picture in Picture working on iPadOS with the YouTube app. (But only worked with this live stream, there must be some codec trickery happening behind the scenes for certain playback scenarios). pic.twitter.com/75vG7Ai4ln — Daniel Yount (@dyountmusic) August 27, 2020
Yount wasn't able to get PiP to work in YouTube during any other playback scenarios, suggesting the feature is still in the experimentation stage.
Developer Steve Troughton-Smith speculates that the feature's introduction is part of a deal between Google and Apple that brings support for YouTube's VP9 codec to tvOS 14 and iOS 14, allowing 4K YouTube content to be watched on those platforms. In any case, it's not clear that PiP will be available to all users when the YouTube feature launches.
Officially, YouTube only allows users to playback videos in the background if they subscribe to YouTube Premium, which means PiP may be restricted to paying users. YouTube Premium costs $11.99 ($15.99 through the YouTube app for iOS due to Apple's in-app purchase fees).
However, iOS 14 users can still watch YouTube videos in Picture in Picture Mode through Safari. Read our step-by-step guide to learn how.