Back in June, YouTube announced that picture-in-picture mode — the feature that lets you watch a video even when the YouTube app is closed — is coming to iPhone and iPad. The rollout was gradual, coming first to YouTube Premium subscribers in the U.S. as an experimental feature, but now 9to5Google has noticed that it’s (widely) available.
I’ve tested PiP out on a non-U.S. YouTube Premium account, and it worked, so it’s probably available globally.
To enable it, first you must be a YouTube Premium subscriber. Then, go to youtube.com/new on Chrome (while being logged in with the account that has the Premium subscription), scroll down to “Picture-in-picture on iOS” and click “Try it out.”
The feature is only available to Premium subscribers, and only on the iPhone.
Credit: screenshot: youtube
This will make the feature enabled for you. Now, when you open a video in the YouTube app on your iPhone, if you close the app (either by swiping up or clicking the home button), the video will continue playing in a small window. You can move that window around, and do other things on your iPhone, and it will continue playing.
The video can be moved around, and it sticks to the upper right/left or lower right/left part of the screen. You can also push it out of the screen; it’ll continue playing but it will not be visible, and it’ll turn into a little drawer you can pull back out to see the full video.
Credit: screenshot: stan schroeder / Mashable
When you want to close the video, tap on it and you’ll get an “x” in the upper left corner. In the upper right corner, you’ll see an icon that lets you expand the video back into the YouTube app. And if you lock the iPhone’s screen while the video is playing, it will pause, but you can resume it from the lockscreen, and the video’s window will stay on your screen when you unlock the phone again.
How to FaceTime friends without iPhones
According to 9to5Google, the PiP mode doesn’t currently work on iPads, only on iPhones.
YouTube says this is a test feature that will be available until Oct. 31.
Picture-in-picture mode was launched in iOS 14 back in 2020. YouTube eventually plans to make it available to all users, though there’s no exact date for when that might happen.