One of the significant iOS 14 new features is the picture-in-picture mode, which lets users watch videos in a small window while doing other things on their iPhone.
That can come in handy if you want to watch a YouTube video in Safari while chatting with friends or to check email. But unfortunately, it appears that YouTube has done something to stop videos from continuing to play while PIP mode is enabled – unless you pay for YouTube Premium.
Try to practice it yourself. Drag a video on the YouTube website in Safari on your iPhone and view it in full screen. If you tap to pull down the playback controls, you’ll see a picture-in-picture icon in your screen’s top left corner.
Tap that, and the video briefly enters its window before returning to its usual place on the YouTube site. And if you try to return to the home screen while watching a video in full screen, you’ll notice that the video briefly switches to picture-in-picture mode before it disappears.
Interestingly, as quoted from TheVerge, Saturday (19/09/2020), you can watch YouTube videos in picture-in-picture mode if you watch them on the website. And if you have YouTube Premium, picture-in-picture works as expected. But it doesn’t work very well if you are a free user. This didn’t happen as recently as yesterday.
Picture-in-picture mode still works with YouTube videos in Safari if you’re using an iPad, regardless of whether you have a free or premium account.
It’s not clear if this is a bug or if YouTube removed the functionality on purpose. As for its app, YouTube limits the ability to play videos in the background for YouTube Premium subscribers. It seems plausible that YouTube wants to limit picture-in-picture to paying subscribers.