Up to now, you could only make use of YouTube’s picture-in-picture mode if you were paying for its subscription-based Red service (now Premium and Music). But, following recent testing, the Google-owned company has just opened it up to non-subscribers, too.
The nifty feature lets you minimize a video so you can do stuff on other apps, whether surfing the web, browsing your Instagram feed, or checking your Facebook page.
But take note — there are some limitations with it. First, your device needs to be running Android 8.0 Oreo or above, and you need to be based in the U.S.
Also, according to its Help page, it won’t work for music content without a Premium subscription. So if you want to listen to tracks from YouTube while you do other stuff on your smartphone, you’ll need to fork out $12 a month for the privilege. And content creators can, if they wish, prevent their videos from being minimized, so don’t get too frustrated if you can’t switch to picture-in-picture mode with some of your selections.
To use the feature, you’ll first need to enable the option in YouTube’s Settings page. To do so, tap your profile icon top right, then hit Settings, then General. Look for “picture-in-picture” and hit the button beside it (if you don’t see it, it means the rollout hasn’t reached you yet).
Next, hit play on your chosen video, and tap the home button to enable picture-in-picture. Now try opening other apps on your device and pushing the small video picture around the display to place it where you want. Tap the video twice to return it to full size on its YouTube page, or close it by hitting the “x” button at the top right of the miniature player or by swiping it off the bottom of the display.
Given the attention YouTube has been giving to picture-in-picture functionality across various platforms of late, it may not be too long before it turns up for iPhone users. YouTube on iOS currently lets you minimize the video within the app so you can browse other videos, but stops playing if you try to open a different app.