How to watch YouTube in picture-in-picture on iPhone and iPad

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How to watch YouTube in picture-in-picture
There are a couple of quick and easy workarounds.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

It’s been almost five years since Apple brought picture-in-picture to iPad, and yet the feature still isn’t supported by the official YouTube app. But there are other ways to enjoy PiP with YouTube videos.

Discover two of the best in this how-to guide.

We’ve basically given up on asking for PiP support inside the YouTube app at this point. It doesn’t look like it’s ever going to happen, and we have no idea why Google is against it (it is available on Android).

But it doesn’t matter. There are a number of ways to watch YouTube videos in PiP mode with or without the official YouTube app.

Use Safari to watch YouTube videos in PiP

The easiest method is to avoid the YouTube app altogether and use Safari instead:

  1. Open the Safari app.
  2. Visit YouTube.com.
  3. Find a video you want to watch.
  4. Enable fullscreen mode.
  5. Close Safari.

Step four is very important: If you don’t enable fullscreen mode, you will find that PiP won’t work when you close Safari. Your YouTube video will simply stop playing, and you’ll need to go back to resume it.

Use PiP-it with the YouTube app

If you would really prefer to use the YouTube app, you can combine it with an app like PiP-it! to make picture-in-picture possible. PiP-it! is free to download and try for three days, then $1.99 to unlock for good.

After installing PiP-it! on your device, follow these steps:

  1. Open the YouTube app and start a video.
  2. Tap the Share button, then tap More.
  3. Select Picture-in-Picture with PiP-it!
How to watch YouTube in picture-in-picture
PiP-it! brings picture-in-picture to the official YouTube app.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Once your video is playing in PiP mode, you can move the window to any corner of the screen, and double-tap it to resize it (on iPhone). You can also swipe it to the edge of the screen to temporarily hide it.

Note that picture-in-picture will not work on iPhone without iOS 14.

Enjoy YouTube in 4K

One nice improvement to YouTube in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 is the ability to play 4K videos, which looks great on high-resolution Retina displays. This is because Apple now supports Google’s VP9 codec.

Sadly, there’s little Apple can do about PiP support in the official YouTube app.