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YouTube’s Picture-in-Picture mode now free for iOS users in the US

This feature used to be locked behind YouTube Premium.

youtube logo with blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

If you own an iPhone or iPad, use the YouTube app, and live in the US, you can now enjoy the highly-anticipated picture-in-picture experience for non-music content.

This is because picture-in-picture support is finally rolling out to the official YouTube iOS app for all users in the US.

This is coming months after PiP rolled out to YouTube Premium subscribers. This has been a long time coming, and thankfully, it seems it is actually happening this time.

What really is picture-in-picture?

If you’re wondering what picture-in-picture is, it allows you to watch videos in a minimized window at a corner of your screen, over other apps.

The YouTube Team announced that it is now making the much-awaited picture-in-picture feature available to all iOS and iPadOS users in the US, noting that it has been a slow roll-out.

With this latest update, Google is making it easier for you to continue watching your favorite YouTube videos while performing other tasks on your iOS device. This is great for multi-tasking.

As for Apple, picture-in-picture became available on iPhones from iOS 14. It functioned with services like Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, and later YouTube Premium, among others. Now, that list also includes YouTube without a subscription.

Picture-in-picture became available on iPads from iPadOS 9 and Android from Android 8.0. Earlier this year, YouTube TV rolled out support for PiP in iPhones.

Using YouTube’s picture-in-picture mode on iOS

youtube picture-in-picture mode illustration
Image: KnowTechie

Both iOS and iPadOS 15 and later now support picture-in-picture mode for the YouTube app. To use it, open a YouTube video on your iOS device, then swipe up to close it.

The video will appear in a new minimized floating window that you can drag and drop anywhere on your screen.

While it is playing, you can continue using other apps like Facebook and Twitter. To exit the picture-in-picture mode, simply tap on the X button in the top-left corner of the window.

Will YouTube’s pip feature go global?

You can currently access PiP on iPhone via a YouTube Premium subscription anywhere in the world. At the moment, only iOS users in the US can use it for free, for non-music content.

Android users already have picture-in-picture functionality, as well. However, YouTube Premium subscribers have the added benefit of using it for both music and non-music content.

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Joy Okumoko is a freelance technology writer who loves all things tech. She spends her spare time crocheting and working on her crafts.

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