The new picture-in-picture mode on iOS 14 allows users to watch videos in a floating window. This feature comes in handy when you have to watch videos and do multiple tasks at once.
Unfortunately, YouTube has come up with an algorithm that prevents users from playing videos in picture-in-picture mode. However, if you’re a premium user, then you have nothing to worry about.
The YouTube app doesn’t allow free users to use the iOS 14 picture in picture feature, but users were able to pull it off via a web browser. One would have to open a YouTube video in Safari and make it full screen. Then, tap on the picture-in-picture icon in the top-left corner or swipe up from the bottom to bring up the floating window.
However, now the video returns to its usual spot on the YouTube website in a few seconds. If you are on the home screen, the picture-in-picture window flickers for a moment and disappears.
As per the observation of MacRumors, you can still watch YouTube videos in picture-in-picture mode if they are embedded on a website. But, if you’re a free user, this mode does not work correctly.
Interestingly, the picture-in-picture mode worked fine on iOS 14 beta builds and the current iOS 14 stable build until yesterday. Another interesting thing to note is that the picture-in-picture mode still works on an iPad, regardless if you’re a free user or a premium user.
Only YouTube premium users have the option to play videos in the background. It’s still unclear if this is just a bug, or if YouTube removed the feature intentionally.
Update: YouTube Restores iOS 14 Picture-in-Picture Support For Free Users
In the latest iOS 14.0.1 update, YouTube has restored support for iOS 14 Picture-in-Picture for free users. That being said, you will still need to open a YouTube video in browsers such as Safari and Chrome in order to activate it.
YouTube is reportedly testing Picture-in-Picture support for its iOS app, however there has been no confirmation from the company. For now, let’s rejoice that the YouTube PiP support via Safari is back.