One of the best features of iOS 14 is the picture-in-picture mode, which allows you to watch a video in a small window while doing other things on your smartphone. This can be useful for following a YouTube video on Safari while chatting with your friends, for example. However, the joy was short-lived. It looks like YouTube did something that prevents videos from playing in PiP mode – unless you pay for the premium subscription. Also Read - iOS 14, iPadOS 14 now rolling out in India: Here’s how to get the update on your iPhone, iPad
YouTube disables PiP functionality in iOS 14
If you want to take the test, open a YouTube video through Safari on your Apple iPhone and display it in full screen. When you touch the playback controls, you should see a picture-in-picture icon in the screen’s upper left corner. From there, the video will briefly go to its own window, but soon return to its normal place on the YouTube website. The same is true if you return to the home screen in the middle of a video: it blinks briefly in a new window and disappears. Also Read - iOS 14 announced: Check release date, list of compatible devices, top features
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Interestingly, this happens only on the website itself. MacRumors website noticed that you could use the picture-in-picture mode to watch videos embedded on another website. Now, if you have YouTube Premium, PiP mode works normally. During beta testing and even in the early days after the release of iOS 14, the feature worked as expected. Also Read - iOS 14 update to mess up Facebook’s online advertising on iPhones, says Facebook Inc
Picture-in-picture still works with YouTube videos on Safari if you’re using an iPad, regardless of whether your account is premium or free, which makes the situation even stranger. It is not clear whether this is a bug or if the platform intentionally removed the functionality. YouTube only allows you to play videos in the background if you are a YouTube Premium subscriber. Considering this, it seems plausible to think that the platform wants to restrict the picture-in-picture mode only to its paying users.