People love using their free time for things that entertain them — watching YouTube videos, for example. Unfortunately, we can’t have 100% free time. Even when on vacation, things would pop up and require you to do other things on your phone. Perhaps you need to send an email about something you forgot to do before leaving work. Or, maybe you just want to maximize your time by doing as many things as you can during your off’s period.
That will require you to pause the YouTube video you are watching and temporarily close the app. It is a pain.
But do not worry. You can say goodbye to that frustration soon. YouTube is testing a Picture-in-Picture feature on the iOS YouTube app.
The Picture-in-Picture feature allows people to watch YouTube videos in a floating mini-player. This player will stay on the screen even if they exit the YouTube mobile app. It is perfect for people with busy schedules who want entertainment from video content.
In the past, PiP in iOS was a back-and-forth game. People with iPads using Safari can access the feature. However, it is only available to those with a YouTube Premium subscription.
Meanwhile, iPhone users can only access the feature periodically. When you enter PiP mode, the video will go into the mini-player. Then, it will immediately go back to its usual spot on YouTube.
Suppose you were watching a video on full screen, then you went back to your phone’s home screen. The video will flicker into PiP mode, and then it will disappear. However, if you are a YouTube Premium subscriber, the feature will work as intended.
Macrumors has reported that you can watch YouTube videos in PiP mode if it is embedded on a website.
Things weren’t like this before. The Verge reports that PiP functioned properly in iOS 14 betas, even if you are a free YouTube user.
Until now, free users can only access PiP mode through a workaround that involves using a Shortcut.
Thankfully, iOS users – in the US, at least – would no longer need to rely on the workaround. Nor would they need to pay for a YouTube Premium subscription. YouTube has announced PiP support for iOS devices.
YouTube is testing the feature and says it will roll out to Premium subscribers and non-subscribers.
The experimental feature has been available for YouTube Premium subscribers already. YouTube’s plan intended it to be available until January 31 only. But the company has extended the testing and pushed the date forward several times. The current date set for the end of testing for PiP is February 14.
In the past statement, YouTube said PiP would be available to free and Premium subscribers. Though, it did not provide a timeframe. As of now, the feature remains exclusive to Premium subscribers.
Macrumors reached out to Google to know if it still plans to make PiP accessible to non-Premium subscribers. According to the tech giant’s response, there have not been any changes in its plans apart from the duration of the testing.
YouTube has still not given further updates at this time.
You can make a swipe-up gesture, press the home button, or tap on the PiP button (two rectangles with an arrow). These actions will close the YouTube app and play the video on a mini-player.
YouTube Premium allows you to watch videos even when your device is locked. It also applies when watching in PiP. When you lock your device, YouTube will pause the video. You can resume it using the lock screen media controls.
YouTube says that PiP may not work the first time you try it. If that happens, you have to wait for an hour before it functions properly. And if one hour has passed and it still doesn’t work, YouTube recommends uninstalling and reinstalling the app. That should fix the issue.
As it is right now, PiP is a feature locked behind a paywall. That, of course, garnered negative comments.
The workaround mentioned above is a Shortcut that turns off built-in parameters on the YouTube site that disables Picture-in-Picture. So, iOS support for PiP being unreliable is indeed YouTube’s fault.
People did not like YouTube’s decision to force people to pay for something essentially a part of the OS. Again, PiP used to function as intended before YouTube tinkered with the feature.
People were relieved when the company announced that it would be free to all users. Still, the company failed to please everyone. Even during testing, free users still can’t access the feature.
Some users say that the testing is just a ploy. They believe YouTube only did it to get paid for a feature it can’t monetize. You have to pay for a Premium subscription to access PiP, so it makes sense.
One commenter also said that they would still opt for the workaround method. The commenter says the scripts also disable video ads. So, it offers some of the things a YouTube subscription offers, but for free.
Users outside of the US also have something to say. They demand an answer to why this feature is a US-exclusive. YouTube has not yet responded to this and has not yet discussed whether or not PiP on iOS will be available worldwide.
But there is a high chance that it will be similar to Android users’ situation. People from all around the world only have access to PiP if they are a YouTube Premium member. Meanwhile, users in the US can access it so long as they are running Android Oreo on their devices. Their devices should also support PiP playback. If these conditions are not met, they can’t watch videos in PiP mode.
That is speculation, of course. Things may be better or – knock on wood – worse. Let’s just wait for further updates from YouTube.
Date: April 6, 2022 / Categories: News, / Author: Rich Drees