The current beta of iOS 14.5 has made iOS 14’s Picture in Picture (PiP) mode work with YouTube videos in Safari and other browsers, although it probably won’t last for long.
Tim Hardwick, MacRumors:
Tests show it works in Safari as well as third-party browsers like Chrome and Firefox by expanding a video to play fullscreen, and then tapping the small picture-in-picture icon in the top-left of the interface. Then you can minimize the browser and use other apps while continuing to watch the video in a frame that can be moved around the screen or slid out of sight if you just want to listen to the audio.
Like before, the native YouTube app doesn’t support Apple’s PiP feature.
iOS 14 brought PiP support to the iPhone, allowing people to watch a video in a mini-window while using other apps. PiP works with the vast majority of web videos hosted on a variety of video-sharing sites, but it’s up to developers to decided whether they would like to make their videos compatible with PiP.
Google is working on it
But following the release of iOS 14, YouTube chose to block PiP while watching videos in Safari unless you’re subscribed to YouTube Premium. Google later re-enabled PiP support for everyone, giving hope that the company was wise enough not to hide such basic platform functionality behind a subscription.
Unfortunately, this was short-lived as Google nixed PiP support just a few days later.
We expect the latest PiP support for YouTube videos in the current iOS 14.5 beta to last until YouTube’s next update. Google is obviously going to great lengths to prevent iOS 14’s PiP feature from working on YouTube, likely. because PiP doesn’t work with YouTube’s video ads.
If it’s any consolation, a YouTube beta tester has spotted that PiP was working on his iPad in the YouTube app. While only working with a few live streams, it was enough to hint that Google may be working on finding ways to support PiP on its mobile app and in web browsers.
PiP has been available on the iPad since iOS 9.