Two years after the feature was made available to third-party developers on the iPhone and seven years after it arrived in the iPad, Google announced that it will now roll out picture-in-picture viewing for the YouTube iOS and iPadOS apps.
Google says that picture-in-picture capability will roll out gradually, though it did not name a time frame. However, it clarified that the availability of the facility will vary based on premium subscriber status and location. Globally, the picture-in-picture capability will work for anyone with a YouTube Premium subscription and any video. US user who Don’t Have will also be able to take advantage of YouTube Premium picture-in-picture, but only for what Google considers non-music content.
This limitation could prevent users from listening to music in the background on their devices through a free YouTube account instead of subscribing to the company’s music offerings. While picture-in-picture is new, background audio (including music) for currently playing videos has long been a cornerstone of the YouTube Premium service.
Picture-in-picture was introduced for iPhone in iOS 14, which was released in 2020, but on iPad it dates back to 2015 iOS 9. Since its debut on the iPhone, the feature has made its way into the most well-supported videos. Playback apps on the platform, leaving YouTube as an oddity.
Google announced last summer that it would begin testing the feature with YouTube Premium members who opt in, and that trial period ended in April. The company didn’t say a word about it between then and now. Android users have had access to YouTube picture-in-picture for years.
For what it’s worth, the community support post by Google announcing this new rollout acknowledged the slow pace, saying:
We recognize that this has been a slow roll out for a highly requested feature, and would like to thank everyone who shared feedback during experiments (recently youtube.com/new), and waited patiently for this moment!
That said, this isn’t the first time that iPhone and iPad users have received important features of Google apps like YouTube or Google Maps much later than Android users.
As with other apps that use iOS’s native picture-in-picture capability, all you need to do is start a video playing, then swipe up from the bottom of the screen to quit the app (or press the Home button on older iPhone designs). ). The video should continue to play in a playable, resizable, hovering window as you navigate the home screen or other apps on your device.