[Update: Apr. 12] YouTube web picture-in-picture (PiP) mode previously re-enabled in iOS 14.5 beta reportedly broken
New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…….
Original story (published on February 20, 2021) follows:
Not everyone is a fan of the default YouTube app and instead prefer using its web app from the browser. And upon inquiring about why they do so, you will get a range of different answers.
Some say that it helps reduce their screen time while others feel that the YouTube app occupies too much storage. There may also be a few with the opinion that the default YouTube app is ‘buggy’.
But perhaps the greatest incentive behind it all is the fact that the YouTube mobile website is completely free from intrusive and ever-increasing ads.
This is despite the fact that its desktop site, quite oddly, still throws ads at you, just like on the mobile app.
That said, there is yet another great motive to use the YouTube website on iOS – the picture-in-picture mode. This useful little feature has unfortunately been reserved only for YouTube Premium subscribers.
Therefore, peeps that did not wish to spend on a monthly subscription just for this feature, would simply switch over to the YouTube website as per their needs.
However, the much loved YouTube picture-in-picture mode has been broken on iOS for quite a while now. Things changed with the arrival of the latest iOS 14.5 beta update though, following which, many users were elated to find the feature re-enabled once again.
This joy was only momentary, however, as just a few days later, the picture-in-picture mode was found broken once again.
It is currently unclear as to who is to blame. But it does seem like YouTube continually patches their mobile site to stop PiP from working on iOS. After all, it is a YouTube Premium feature.
Nonetheless, there is a couple of workarounds available to get the feature up and running once again.
Firstly, there is this slick shortcut called ‘YouTube PiP Shortcut’ that does exactly what it’s named after. To download and for further details, you might want to head over to this Reddit post.
While we were unable to verify if it truly does the job, the shortcut is still definitely worth a shot.
If that did not help, then you may also try the below workaround given out by a user.
1. launch another app in the background
2. play video full screen or in PiP
3. swipe up or double-tap to move to the other app
4. browser will not force close the PiP window (tested on 14.5)
Update (March 10)
Ahead of the stable iOS 14.5 release, those on beta 3 are now able to enjoy PiP on YouTube for web by enabling incognito mode on the browser. But we hope this won’t be needed in stable version.
iOS 14.5, Public Beta 3: found a temporary workaround to Google’s new restriction on not letting iPhone users to use PiP in Safari; go into incognito on the Google browser app, go to YouTube website, & bam, you can do PiP that way ???????
Check out a video of the feature in action shared on Reddit.
Update (November 29)
It is coming to light that some YouTube TV users are now seeing PiP support on their iOS and iPadOS devices. This is interesting as on the official support page, Google says the function isn’t supported on iOS and iPad.
This stance could therefore be changing as we have a few reports popping up that it’s now supported. We shall continue to keep an eye on this so stay tuned.
Update (December 01)
Vinegar is a new Safari extension for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It was released earlier this month with the goal of replacing the YouTube player with a minimal HTML player.
Update (February 02)
YouTube has reportedly pushed the availability of picture-in-picture mode by two weeks for premium subscribers. It will now be available until February 14, as an experimental feature for devices running iOS 14 or later.
Update (April 12)
10:21 am (IST): YouTube has reportedly removed the Picture-in-picture experimental feature for iOS users. It was available for YouTube premium users.
Moreover, the company has also announced via a tweet (now deleted) that it is rolling out Picture-in-picture mode for all the users running iOS 15 or later in the US.
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