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iOS 14 Picture in Picture No Longer Working With YouTube's Mobile Website in Safari [Without Premium]

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Apple in iOS 14 added Picture in Picture to the iPhone, a feature designed to let you watch a video in a small screen on your device while you continue to do other things on the phone.

When Picture in Picture was working with YouTube​

The YouTube app doesn't support Picture in Picture, but up until yesterday there was a functional workaround that allowed videos from YouTube.com to be watched in Safari in Picture in Picture mode.

As of today, that workaround is gone, and it's not clear if it's a bug or a deliberate removal. Attempting to use Picture in Picture on a video on the mobile YouTube website simply doesn't work. Tapping the Picture in Picture button when in full screen mode pops the video out for a second, but it immediately pops back into the website, so it can't be used as a Picture in Picture window.


Picture in Picture works with YouTube.com on the iPad, and YouTube videos embedded on third-party sites such as MacRumors.com appear to be able to play in Picture in Picture mode, but Picture in Picture is not functioning on the YouTube website.

We tested Picture in Picture with YouTube just yesterday for a Picture in Picture tutorial video and as you can see below, it was working fine. Since then there have been no updates to iOS or Safari, so it's not clear what's going on.


For now, Picture in Picture is no longer working with the mobile YouTube website, but there is another workaround. If you request desktop site on YouTube.com in Safari, you can get Picture in Picture to work as intended.

Update: Picture in Picture appears to work on the mobile YouTube website in Safari for those who are YouTube Premium subscribers, which suggests that the restriction is intentional and not a bug.

Article Link: iOS 14 Picture in Picture No Longer Working With YouTube's Mobile Website in Safari [Without Premium]
 
Last edited:

anticipate

macrumors 6502a
Dec 22, 2013
586
342
It works if you force Safari to desktop mode on the phone. That’s the way it’s always been.

I just tested this.

I am also YouTube premium subscriber though, so I’m not sure if that has something to do with it.

Normally YouTube only allows picture in picture within their app. Even if you were a premium subscriber of the only thing that plays in the background on iOS is the audio. I suspect this may be always the case, but I hope Google can figure a way around this so that premium users can use the iOS provided picture in picture within the iOS app.
 
Comment

brock2621

macrumors 65816
Jun 8, 2007
1,001
488
Kentucky
Fair enough. I started paying for Premium. Got fed up with the ads and I DO watch a lot of YouTube. Worth the price.

EDIT: I think YouTube removed this feature to get more people to sign up to Premium.

This... no other reason.
 
Comment

jamieinoc

macrumors 6502a
Jun 6, 2020
581
1,556
You can still do it. Pull up the YouTube video in safari. Go full screen, then swipe up to go home. The video will go into PIP and continue to play.
I stand corrected. I am YouTube Premium and even the PIP button worked. I logged out and went to the same video and saw the behavior described in the article. It seems google is somehow actively blocking PIP for non-premium subscribers.
 
Comment

4jasontv

macrumors 68040
Jul 31, 2011
3,422
3,540
Fair enough. I started paying for Premium. Got fed up with the ads and I DO watch a lot of YouTube. Worth the price.

EDIT: I think YouTube removed this feature to get more people to sign up to Premium.

Only problem is that Premium doesn't offer PiP. It only offers background audio, which is likely due to people just playing music video playlists in the background instead of paying for Google Music... which is also now part of Premium.
 
Comment

4jasontv

macrumors 68040
Jul 31, 2011
3,422
3,540
I stand corrected. I am YouTube Premium and even the PIP button worked. I logged out and went to the same video and saw the behavior described in the article. It seems google is somehow actively blocking PIP for non-premium subscribers.

Open YT in private mode and it starts to work and then closes the video stream.

...

That seems intentional.
 
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