YouTube gets official Picture in Picture support on iPhone … with a catch

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YouTube Picture in Picture on iPhone
You need a YouTube Premium subscription.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Google has begun rolling out official Picture in Picture support for YouTube on iPhone. It’s just an “experimental” feature for now, but it works as intended — giving you the ability to watch videos in a small window above other apps.

Oh, and there’s a rather large catch. You can only use the feature right now if you cough up for a YouTube Premium subscription.

Given that YouTube is one of the largest video platforms in the world, with more than 2 billion users, it’s no surprise a significant number of people have been waiting for the service to get Picture in Picture support on iPhone.

Third-party hacks and workarounds have enabled Picture in Picture on YouTube in the past, but they typically don’t last long before Google finds a way to kill them. Now you don’t need to rely on these tricks.

Picture in Picture hits YouTube on iPhone

Picture in Picture support is now rolling out as an experimental feature for YouTube on iPhone. To try it out, follow these steps:

  1. Visit youtube.com/new in your browser.
  2. Sign in to your YouTube account.
  3. Scroll down to Picture in Picture on iOS, then tap Try it out.

Once the feature has been activated, you can begin watching a YouTube video and then close your browser app, and the video will continue to play inside a Picture in Picture window above other content.

Experimental YouTube features are available only to YouTube Premium subscribers, and Google says Picture in Picture support ends on October 31. It’s not exactly clear what happens after that date.

Everyone will get it eventually

We’re hoping that by the time October 31 rolls around, Picture in Picture support will be ready to roll out to all YouTube users. Google has confirmed you won’t need YouTube Premium to enjoy it in the future.