At long last, the YouTube app on iOS is getting picture-in-picture support, allowing users to continue watching videos in a small pop-up window while scrolling on their iPhones and iPads.
In a statement to Gizmodo and other outlets on Friday, a YouTube spokesperson said the feature is currently rolling out worldwide to YouTube Premium subscribers first. A larger launch for all iOS users in the U.S. is apparently in the works, but YouTube did not provide a timeline for when free users can expect to access the feature.
Apple brought picture-in-picture video support to iPads with iOS 9 and iPhones with iOS 14, though actually getting it to work with the YouTube app has been another story. Some users have found creative workarounds via the YouTube website on Safari or iOS Shortcuts. However, updates on YouTube’s end rendered some of these shortcuts obsolete unless you pay for its $12-per-month Premium service.
With official support coming to iOS, hopefully these headaches will be a thing of the past, and iOS users will soon be able to enjoy the same feature that Android users have been able to for years.
Now, I don’t have a dog in the whole Android vs. iOS fight; growing up, my family bought gadgets based on whichever brand had the better sale, and I’ve struggled to shake that curmudgeonly penny-pinching even now with access to Real Adult money. That indifference hasn’t stopped Apple fanboys from talking my ear off, though, especially after I finally got my first smartphone: a Nexus 6, a model that was already a year old by the time I saved up enough to snag one in 2015 (Yes, I know, I was super late to the game). But hey, even that old thing had picture-in-picture support.
Update: 6/18/2021, 8:04 p.m.: Added statement from YouTube.