YouTube discontinues picture-in-picture experiment for iOS, but it still works for existing users [Update]

YouTube has officially discontinued its picture-in-picture video playback experiment for iOS users. The company had been testing its YouTube picture-in-picture feature for iOS since last year, and it was limited to Premium subscribers only. However, instead of rolling it out to all users, the company has discontinued it.

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YouTube ends picture-in-picture experiment for iOS

All YouTube Premium users who had enabled the experiment have been seeing a notification banner that tells them that the feature has been turned off.

However, the feature continues to work for users who had enabled the test by going to youtube.com/new. These users can still put YouTube videos from the app into picture-in-picture mode on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, despite getting the notification. What this means for new users is that they will not be able to enable the experiment anymore.

How to enable YouTube picture-in-picture mode on iPhone

It has been expected that YouTube would roll out this feature to all users sooner or later, but it has been 9 months since August 2021, when the experiment was first made available. Yet it has not been released to all users. Even before the experiment, the company has been testing native picture-in-picture support since 2020, so it has been years in the making.

It is possible that there are some business decisions at play which means that users have not been provided the feature yet. YouTube TV users received support for the feature on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 just last month, however, the service is only limited to the United States.

Interestingly, the TeamYouTube Twitter account responded to a user saying that the picture-in-picture feature is still rolling out and will be available in a matter of days across all iOS 15+ devices. This might be why the feature continues to work for existing users. However, going by the speed at which dark mode was rolled out for users, we could be in for a long waiting period before everyone can use picture-in-picture on iOS.

Update: TeamYouTube has now deleted the above tweet and clarified that the picture-in-picture feature is only rolling out to YouTube TV users. Picture-in-picture feature is limited only to YouTube Premium members on Android smartphones. This will come as a disappointment to users as they had been waiting for the feature to be available on iPhones and iPads for some time now.

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