YouTube picture-in-picture to launch for all iOS users “in the coming months”

Picture-in-picture in YouTube’s iOS app is taking a bit longer to hit all iPhone users, whether they’ve subscribed to Google’s YouTube Premium service or not.

YouTube video timestamp
  • Google has confirmed that it’s still testing picture-in-picture mode in the iOS app
  • The feature will hit all iPhone and iPad users in the US in the coming months
  • Both Premium subscribers and non-subscribers will get it

When will picture-in-picture launch on YouTube for iOS?

Google spokesperson Allison Toh said in a statement to The Verge that the company is “still testing picture-in-picture on iOS with Premium members and hope to make it available to all iOS users (Premium and non-Premium) in the US in the coming months.” This isn’t too dissimilar from a statement the company gave to MacRumors earlier, saying it was “still planning to launch picture-in-picture for all users without a YouTube Premium subscription in the US” but refused to commit to a firm deadline.

Only Premium subscribers are currently permitted to test picture-in-picture.

How to try out YouTube PiP on iPhone

Testing picture-in-picture support is currently limited to YouTube Premium subscribers. You must opt in to experimentally try out the feature in the iOS app.

  1. Open YouTube’s Labs page at in your favorite web browser.
  2. Click the “Sign In” button to try out experimental new features.
  3. Choose “Try it out” next to “Picture-in-picture on iOS.”

Google says this test will expire on April 8.

How to use picture-in-picture on YouTube for iOS

Picture-in-picture on YouTube lets you multitask while watching a video. To enter PiP mode while watching a video in the mobile YouTube app, simply go to the home screen or launch another app and the video will continue playing in a mini player.

  1. With PiP turned on, open the mobile YouTube app.
  2. Start watching a video, then go to the home screen or launch another app.
  3. That’s it, the video should now continue playing seamlessly in a preview window.

The video is overlaid on top of whatever you happen to be doing at the moment so it’s always visible and reachable. Use pinching to make the preview window smaller or larger. You can also tap the window to reveal playback controls, swipe it to any screen corner or flick it away to only listen to the audio portion. The video’s audio continues playing when you lock the device, and you can use standard audio controls on the lock screen to control the playback of the picture-in-picture video.

Picture-in-picture won’t require YouTube Premium after all

Google has been dragging its feet with this feature.

Picture-in-picture mode on YouTube has been in testing for months already. Although Google initially said it would hide picture-in-picture behind a paywall, it announced in December that YouTube Premium subscribers could experimentally try out picture-in-picture in the iPhone and iPad app until January 31, 2022.

January came and went without the feature officially launching, and now Google seems to be taking some extra time to perfect the feature before releasing it.

Google said earlier that both subscribers non-subscribers will get picture-in-picture when it officially arrives. Honestly, it’d be illusory to expect folks to commit to a YouTube Premium subscription only to get such basic functionality.