YouTube Picture-In-Picture Mode Is Back To iOS App

YouTube is restarting the picture-in-picture function for iPhones for all premium subscribers to the video service. There has been an incredible back and forth with the option for months, now the feature is returning in the iOS app.

Google has now confirmed that YouTube users with a premium subscription can now try out picture-in-picture (PiP) mode in conjunction with the iOS app again. In late spring, the company stopped this option and then announced in June that the feature was being worked on.

Now it says on YouTube:

Picture in picture on iOS devices

  • Available until October 31st
  • With the “picture in picture” function you can play YouTube videos in the mini player and use other apps at the same time.
  • How to: swipe up (or tap the home button) while watching a video to close the app and watch the video in a mini player.
  • Note: If you lock the screen while viewing a video in the PiP window, the video will be paused. You can continue the video using the media controls on the lock screen.
  • We are working to fix these issues.

Now it is the case that Google has marked the picture-in-picture function for its iOS app as an “experimental” feature. The reference to October 31st could mean that the function will no longer be restricted as of November 1st. According to 9to5mac, this could also be an indication of when YouTube is planning to introduce picture-in-picture in the iPhone and iPad apps on a broad basis. In the USA, PiP mode is also offered to free users with advertising.

A lot of confusion about the mini player

The picture-in-picture mode has been supported by many apps since iOS 14, which was released in 2020, so there is a new way of multitasking. But Google has had a particularly difficult time with this so far. First, it was announced that the picture-in-picture mode would come for the app, then it was only for paid customers. Finally, YouTube even blocked the possibility of running YouTube through the Safari browser in order to activate the mini-player. All of this just confused users unnecessarily.