Apple rolled out Picture in Picture mode on the iPhone in iOS 14 and the iPad with iOS 13, but you wouldn’t know it by using the YouTube app. While the feature has technically been around for the better part of a year, it was limited to Premium subscribers before it disappeared last week.
Earlier today, Google’s Team YouTube Twitter account appeared to confirm that it actually is going to be rolling out “in a matter of days across all iOS 15+ devices.” The account didn’t specify whether it will remain a Premium feature, but that doesn’t matter. A few hours later it “clarified” its comment by saying the feature isn’t actually coming to the YouTube app at all but rather to YouTube TV, which costs $65 a month.
Picture in Picture allows you to switch to another app while continuing to watch a video. In apps that support it, such as Safari, FaceTime, and Chrome, you’re able to swipe out of the app while a video is playing to have it minimized to the bottom of the screen. The video will overlap on top of any app you open and can be resized and moved to any corner of the screen.
That feature would obviously be quite useful for YouTube. As it stands, you have to keep the app open on your screen in order to watch anything. As soon as you switch to a new app or return to the home screen, the video stop playing. However, if anyone actually wants to use it, it appears as though they’ll need to switch to an Android phone.
To turn on Picture in Picture for other apps, head over to the General tab in the Settings app and tap Picture in Picture. Then flip the Start PiP Automatically toggle.