YouTube users on iPhone or iPad can again access picture-in-picture mode on all browsers when visiting the video-sharing mobile site when running the recent iOS 14.5 beta.
The ability was last working with the iOS 14.0.1 update but was limited to Apple’s own Safari browser. The iOS 14.5 beta update rolled out just a few days ago – our colleagues over at 9to5Mac have done a deep dive into all of the new additions – but this very specific feature is usually reserved for YouTube Premium subscribers.
Just like on Android, picture-in-picture mode — using the mobile site workaround — was only available to those with a YouTube Premium account for some time on iOS. Another notable is that YouTube Premium costs $11.99 per month in the US, but due to Apple’s App Store 30% commission policies, you’ll pay $15.99 if you sign up on an iOS device through the app.
The YouTube app on iOS does not yet support picture-in-picture mode, with the only workaround being via the mobile site in a browser. We have seen this feature removed several times before, which does lead us to wonder why this feature has returned in the iOS 14.5 beta. It’s worth noting that iOS 14 offers the ability for developers to support picture-in-picture mode, so it’s even stranger that YouTube would not allow the option.
It really does seem like a ridiculous constraint, but no longer are you bound to Safari to get this picture-in-picture option working. It’s also neat that you don’t need to be signed in to your YouTube account, nor do you need a Premium subscription to access the feature. The option was first spotted by our esteemed 9to5Mac colleague Benjamin Mayo and we have since tested on Firefox and Chrome for iOS with the same result — which you can see in action below:
Like that last time, we’re simply not sure how long you’ll be able to access this picture-in-picture workaround on iOS devices with the YouTube mobile site. It was unceremoniously disabled in a previous update, which is highly likely to happen again here. This update hasn’t affected the background play feature that is still available to Premium subscribers via the YouTube iOS app.
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