YouTube picture-in-picture video on the way to all US iPhone, iPad users

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YouTube Picture in Picture is back. At least for now.
Picture-in-picture YouTube videos ... coming sometime to iPad.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

YouTube repeated an earlier promise to allow all iPhone users in the U.S. to watch video from its application in a small window while another app is open. And it expanded on the commitment by promising iPad will be included too.

But exactly when this will happen is a bit up the air.

YouTube first made the promise of picture-in-picture support for all U.S. iPhones in June.  On Thursday, the company told TechCrunch that the feature is definitely coming to iPad — where it’s far more useful — as well.

Beta testing for the iPhone version began this week, and that’s set to last until October 31. Whether testing will extend past that date or the feature will be available to everyone before then is anyone’s guess.

It’s not clear why the change is being restricted to U.S. users.

YouTube Picture in Picture is/isn’t available

iPadOS 13 brought Picture in Picture support to iPad, and iPhone users got it in iOS 14. Users can play a video then switch to another app and have the video continue playing in a small window that can be moved, resized and quickly collapsed. It’s available in the Apple TV app, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and others.

But Picture in Picture support was never consistently available for YouTube. Which is frustrating considering the service dominates the streaming video market.

This was never about technical limitations — it worked for a while then YouTube disabled the feature for iPhone and iPad users. It is available on Android, and as both Google and YouTube have Alphabet as their parent company it’s possible the feature was being kept in the family, so to speak. If so, the restriction is ending.