YouTube is finally bringing its handy picture-in-picture feature to the iOS app for all iPhone and iPad users.
Once it arrives for your app, you’ll be able to swipe up to return to the home screen whilst watching a YouTube video, and the video will continue playing in a little floating window.
This will enable you to do things like check your messages or browse the web without interrupting your video-watching.
YouTube seemed to acknowledge the protracted wait for this feature in a follow-up tweet, claiming that “We really appreciate your patience while we worked on enabling this key feature for your iOS 15+ devices”.
Picture-in-picture has been available for free on Android, albeit only to certain users, since June of 2018.
It took the Google-owned company until June of 2021 to begin testing the feature on iOS. However, even then it was locked behind the YouTube Premium paywall. The fact that all users in the US could use the feature at that point added further frustration.
Admittedly, Apple itself only added picture-in-picture support to iPhone in iOS 14, which rolled out in September 2020, and on iPad in iOS 13 the previous year.
However, with YouTube being the primary video service for most people, we might have expected YouTube to get its iOS app service in order a lot sooner. After all, it’s not like Apple’s hardware offering is incredibly diverse (unlike Android’s) or lacking in resources, barring a relative dearth of RAM.