YouTube still doesn’t offer promised picture-in-picture feature on iPhone


YouTube picture-in-picture may finally be close to full iPhone support
The long, long wait for YouTube picture-in-picture support for iPhone could be near its end.
Graphic: YouTube

YouTube has once again pushed back the date when it will apparently follow through on its promise to allow all iPhone users to watch video from its application in a small window while another app is open. The feature is already available for YouTube Premium subscribers, but it in beta testing, and that is scheduled to end on April 8. So that’s that next date that picture-in-picture could become available for all iPhone users.

When it finally launches, PiP will make YouTube videos easier to enjoy because they’ll allow people to use their iPhone to multitask while also watching.

YouTube in a miniplayer coming soon to all iPhones

YouTube’s support for iPhone picture-in-picture has come and gone several times. Then, in June 2021, YouTube promised, “We’re starting to roll out PiP for YouTube Premium members on iOS and plan to launch PiP for all US iOS users as well.”

And in February, YouTube chief product officer Neal Mohan said your feature will roll out “hopefully in the next few months.”

Currently, the feature is available for Premium subscribers as part of an opportunity to “try out new features that we’re working on,” according to YouTube’s website. But, as noted, that availability ends April 8. That might be when YouTube picture-in-picture is released to all iPhone users.

But it might be delayed instead. Until recently, beta testing was scheduled to end March 14. And YouTube has pushed back the end date for Premium-only access before then.

Get ready for YouTube picture-in-picture

As it stands now, when one is watching a YouTube video on an iPhone and switches to another application, the video stops. But in the same situation, rival apps move their video to a small window so the user can continue watching while, for example, sending a text.

Apple TV picture-in-picture.
The Apple TV application doesn’t cut off your video when you leave the app.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

YouTube Premium subscribers can already take advantage of the service’s support for PiP on iPhone. “With Picture-in-picture (PiP), watch YouTube videos in a miniplayer while using other apps,” according to the streaming service. “While you are watching a video, swipe up (or press home) to close the app and watch in a miniplayer.”

While there’s evidence for a mid-April launch, it’s hardly guaranteed. But YouTube did promise the feature is coming to all iOS users.


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