On iPhones and iPads, YouTube Will Soon Offer Picture-In-Picture

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Google announced that it will now roll out picture-in-picture viewing for the YouTube iOS and iPadOS app, two years after the feature was made available to third-party developers on iPhones and seven years after it arrived on the iPad.

Google did not provide a specific release date but stated that picture-in-picture functionality would be implemented gradually. It was made clear that the feature’s accessibility would depend on the location and status of Premium subscribers. Everybody with a YouTube Premium subscription and any video will be able to use picture-in-picture functionality worldwide. Picture-in-picture will also be available to US users who don’t have YouTube Premium, but only for what Google considers non-musical content.

This restriction is likely to prevent users from simply using a free YouTube account to play music in the background on their devices instead of subscribing to the service’s music offerings. While picture-in-picture is new, YouTube Premium’s background audio policy has long included music as background audio for currently playing videos.

Picture-in-picture was first made available on iPhones with the release of iOS 14 in 2020, but it was first made available on the iPad with iOS 9 in 2015. Since its debut on the iPhone, the feature has been incorporated into the majority of popular video playback apps on the platform, leaving only YouTube as an outlier.

The feature was tested with YouTube Premium subscribers who opted in, as Google had announced last summer. The test period ended in April. Between then and now, the company had made no further mention of it. YouTube picture-in-picture has been available to Android users for years.

However, it’s not the first time that crucial features of Google apps like YouTube or Google Maps have been made available to iPhone and iPad users much, much later than they have to Android users.

You just need to start playing a video and then swipe up from the bottom of the screen (or press the home button on older iPhone models) to exit the app, just like with other apps that make use of iOS’ native picture-in-picture feature. You should be able to move, resize, and hover over the video window as you use your device’s home screen or other apps to watch it.

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