iOS 14 has a picture-in-picture mode that works on any website that can play a video. The only condition is that the website is accessed via Safari. Other apps, such as the Netflix app, support it so you can watch Netflix in picture-in-picture mode on your iPhone.
One app that has consistently held out adding support for picture-in-picture is YouTube. As far as the official YouTube app is concerned, picture-in-picture is still a feature reserved for premium YouTube users.
The good news is that YouTube has relented somewhat regarding picture-in-picture and its mobile website. Previously, and we personally tested this out, users could not watch a YouTube video on YouTube’s mobile site in picture-in-picture more. Now they can.
YouTubepicture-in-picture mode on iPhone
You must be running iOS 14 for this to work.
- Open Safari.
- Visit the YouTube mobile website.
- Select a video to play.
- Once the video is playing, switch to full-screen mode by tapping the full-screen button at the bottom right of the player.
- Once you’re in full-screen mode, tap the picture-in-picture button at the top left.
- The YouTube video will switch to picture-in-picture mode, and you can use other apps on your iPhone while you watch.
Exit YouTube picture-in-picture mode
To exit a YouTube video that’s playing in picture-in-picture mode, follow these steps.
- Tap the video to show its controls.
- Tap the close button at the top left to close the video.
- Tap the restore button at the top right to return to the Safari tab playing the YouTube video.
Play YouTube in background
The other great news is that, with this feature now enabled, you can easily play YouTube in the background. Here’s how.
- Open a Safari tab.
- Navigate to the YouTube mobile website.
- Select and play a video.
- Switch to full-screen.
- Tap the picture-in-picture button at the top left.
- Return to the home screen on your iPhone.
- Lock the screen.
- Wake the screen.
- Tap the play button on the media widget.
- The video will play.
When we covered Netflix’s picture-in-picture mode, we speculated whether or not YouTube would ever make it a non-premium feature. It seems that the company has relented but what remains to be seen is if the ability to play YouTube in the background, with the screen locked will remain or not. YouTube has a tendency to block it and it may go so far as to disable picture-in-picture mode for the mobile site if it can’t block background playback.