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.


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.

The YouTube app has never supported PiP, a feature that has been available to ‌iPad‌ users since iOS 9. Apple is also bringing PiP to iPhone with iOS 14, due to release this fall.

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.

Tag: YouTube

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Top Rated Comments

InGen Avatar
51 months ago
The reason they’ve never implemented this on their iOS/iPadOS apps is because they are unable to activate the feature exclusively for Premium users. Because it’s an Apple API feature not a YouTube built one, they have to add it into their app for everyone or no one at all. And so giving this to everyone would make premium users feel disadvantaged. And also confuse normal users who could PiP their videos but still not turn to screen off without stopping the video

so yeah the implementation of this feature is way overdue but not due to lack of ability to code it in, rather the decision of whether to add it in everyone or no one. The battle continues
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
anthorumor Avatar
51 months ago
I deleted the YouTube app on my iPad and just trained myself to open Safari everytime I wanted to YouTube something. It’s pretty good to go PiP. Note, I have Premium (which PiP works natively on my Samsung Galaxy Note), so unsure if this method works with ad-supported version on iPad through Safari.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jprmercado Avatar
51 months ago

The reason they’ve never implemented this on their iOS/iPadOS apps is because they are unable to activate the feature exclusively for Premium users. Because it’s an Apple API feature not a YouTube built one, they have to add it into their app for everyone or no one at all. And so giving this to everyone would make premium users feel disadvantaged. And also confuse normal users who could PiP their videos but still not turn to screen off without stopping the video

so yeah the implementation of this feature is way overdue but not due to lack of ability to code it in, rather the decision of whether to add it in everyone or no one. The battle continues
I’m on YouTube Premium, and I wouldn’t mind if they enabled PiP for all users, whether they’re on Premium or not. I’m all for an improved user experience for everyone, which comes at no cost to me.

I guess I’m OK with this because my main reason for subscribing to Premium is to get rid of the ads, and background playing is just a bonus to me. I can imagine it’d be different for people who subscribed to Premium primarily for background playing.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ghost31 Avatar
51 months ago

While Pip is nice I don't see a the point on such small screens.
To play the audio of a video while you’re doing other crap
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
51 months ago
That’s a good feature
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tubomac Avatar
51 months ago

While Pip is nice I don't see a the point on such small screens.
It's just nice to have it.
I seldom use it but sometimes I have to check a message or something and I'm happy to continue to listen while I read a short text.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)