Despite a now-deleted tweet from YouTube’s support account that seemingly indicated otherwise, YouTube Premium subscribers can no longer sign up to test YouTube’s picture-in-picture feature on iOS. Picture-in-picture has disappeared from YouTube’s list of available experimental features, where it was previously listed with an April 8th expiry date. 9to5Google reports that some users are seeing a “the feature you’re trying has been turned off” banner notifying them that the test has ended. Both 9to5Google and iMore add that the feature is still working on accounts that previously signed up for the test.
The tweet was posted in response to a user asking about a previous test of the feature, which was available to YouTube Premium subscribers. Just last month, the search giant brought picture-in-picture support to its YouTube TV service on iOS, and according to Google spokesperson Allison Toh, the tweet was referring to YouTube TV — not the main YouTube app. The @TeamYouTube support account has now tweeted again with the corrected information:
Are you using an iOS smartphone? If so, the Picture-in-Picture feature is still rolling out & will be available in a matter of days across all iOS 15+ devices. Tweet back @ us if needed.— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) April 10, 2022
Just to clarify – what's currently being rolled out is the YouTube TV picture-in-picture for iOS 15+ devices. If you're referring to the one for the YouTube app, it's only available to Premium members on Android mobile phones. https://t.co/wB9vUWtm3U— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) April 11, 2022
Picture-in-picture support is available for video services generally at a system level for both iPhones and iPads, but YouTube’s support for the feature has been spotty, requiring workarounds like watching it through a browser rather than via its native app. But YouTube’s Premium test made the feature much more seamless, and it allowed viewers to continue watching after they navigate away from the main YouTube app.
YouTube’s test of picture-in-picture support for premium users was always meant to be limited. First announced in June last year, the beta period was originally set to end on October 31st before being extended. But although the test was only for premium users, last month YouTube reiterated its hope to roll out the feature for all iOS users in the US, including non-premium users, “in the coming months.”
Update April 11th, 8:12AM ET: Updated with YouTube’s confirmation that picture-in-picture is launching “in a matter of days.” Also updated headline.
Correction April 11th, 3:05PM ET: The updated version of the story noted just above cited a tweet from YouTube support indicating that picture-in-picture support will be available in a matter of days. Google has clarified that the account’s tweet was in reference to the previously announced YouTube TV rollout of picture-in-picture on iOS. A rollout for all users in the US on iOS is still planned for “the coming months.”