YouTube ends picture-in-picture experiment on iPhone without launch

iOS 14 Hero Picture In Picture
iOS 14 Hero Picture In Picture (Image credit: Rene Ritchie)

What you need to know

  • YouTube has officially ended the testing of its picture-in-picture feature on the iPhone and iPad.
  • Picture-in-picture was available as an experimental feature for YouTube Premium subscribers.
  • The feature is no longer available for new testers or any non-Premium users.

Who knows how long we are all going to have to wait for picture-in-picture support for the YouTube app.

As reported by 9to5Google, YouTube has officially ended its testing for picture-in-picture support on the iPhone and iPad. It had been available to YouTube Premium subscribers as an experimental feature for almost a year now but, as of this weekend, it is no longer available to any users of the app looking to enable it.

While Google has been notifying would-be users that "the feature you're trying has been turned off," it is apparently still working for YouTube Premium subscribers who already had the feature turned on before Google shut it down.

That said, the YouTube PiP still works for iPhone and iPad users that previously had the test enabled. It did not disappear on one iPad we actively use PiP on, while installing the YouTube app on a new iPhone and signing into a Premium account enabled it.Premium users, however, that never tried the experiment do not have PiP today. YouTube has yet to widely roll out the capability 10 months later.

I personally enabled the experimental picture-in-picture feature as a YouTube Premium subscriber months ago and can confirm that the feature still works per the above report.

Google has already said that it plans to formally roll out picture-in-picture support to YouTube Premium subscribers as a perk. It also plans to make the feature available to all YouTube users, Premium or not, in the United States. The company has not yet stated when the roll-out will actually happen, however.

YouTube has some catching up to do. Picture-in-picture has quickly become an expected feature for video apps on the iPhone and iPad since Apple rolled it out with iOS 14 a couple of years ago. Even the YouTube TV app added support for the feature at the end of March.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.