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YouTube begins rolling out picture-in-picture on iPhones and iPads

Enlarge / The iPhone 12. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Two years after the feature was made available to third-party developers on iPhones and seven years after it came to iPad, Google announced it will now roll out picture-in-picture viewing for the YouTube iOS and iPadOS app.

Google says picture-in-picture capability will roll out gradually, though it didn’t name a time frame. However, it clarified that the feature’s availability would vary based on Premium subscriber status and location. Globally, picture-in-picture capability will work for anyone with a YouTube Premium subscription and any video. Users in the US who don’t have YouTube Premium will also be able to take advantage of picture-in-picture, but only for what Google deems non-music content.

That limitation is likely to keep users from simply listening to music in the background on their devices via a free YouTube account instead of subscribing to the company’s music offerings. While picture-in-picture is new, background audio (including for music) for currently playing videos has long been a cornerstone of the YouTube Premium service.

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