YouTube is bringing a long-awaited feature to its iPhone app: picture-in-picture (PiP). All Premium subscribers will soon have access to the viewer, and YouTube says it plans to enable PiP for all iOS users in the US.
“Picture-in-Picture allows users to watch YouTube videos in a small mini player while simultaneously browsing outside of the YouTube app on their mobile device," a YouTube spokesperson told Engadget. "We’re starting to roll out PiP for YouTube Premium members on iOS, and plan to launch PiP for all US iOS users as well.”
Apple brought PiP to iPhone last year as part of iOS 14. Many video streaming apps already support the feature, including Netflix, Twitch, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Apple TV. Even though it has supported PiP on Android since 2018, YouTube had been a notable holdout on iOS until its change of heart, which was first reported by MacRumors.
Some iOS users found workarounds to watch YouTube through PiP. It has sometimes worked via the YouTube mobile website and some people have accessed it through Shortcuts. YouTube hasn't revealed the timeline for the PiP rollout, but eventually those workarounds will no longer be needed.
PiP support on the YouTube app is long overdue, and it's nice to see that it won't be just for Premium members, at least in the US. I'm personally looking forward to kicking back and watching chaotic Overwatch League matches on a mini player while reading reactions on Twitter.