Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

YouTube PiP mode now free for Android Oreo users, but there are catches

Picture-in-picture (PiP) mode for YouTube is now available as a free feature, but only to a selection of smartphone users.

While it’s not quite Background Play, fans of the site have been calling for the feature − which lets you watch YouTube videos in a floating window on your screen while you use other apps − for a long, long time.

Read more: YouTube Music UK

It was previously only available to subscribers to YouTube Premium, which costs £11.99 per month.

Google has now announced that PiP mode on YouTube doesn’t cost a thing anymore − but only if you’re an Android O user based in the US.

According to the Android Developers Dashboard, just 4.9% of Android users are actually on Oreo, with the vast majority still using Marshmallow or Nougat. This could be a good reason to upgrade.

Then again, perhaps not. That’s because only YouTube Premium subscribers have the ability to watch music videos in PiP mode. One of the main reasons people want PiP mode at all is so they can play music from YouTube, while doing other things on their phone.

They’re some pretty hefty catches. So it’s a step in the right direction, but not quite what users may have been holding out for.

Related: Spotify vs Apple Music

“Picture-in-picture shrinks the video into a small player that you can move around your home screen and position over other apps. With this feature enabled, you can continue watching YouTube videos while using other apps on your mobile device,” Google explains on a support page.

“To start PiP playback while a video is playing in the YouTube app, tap the Android home button. The video will shrink into a PiP window, which can be dragged to different parts of the screen, allowing playback to continue on top of other apps.

“To resume playback in the YouTube app, double-tap the PiP. To dismiss the PiP altogether, you can it drag to the bottom of the screen.”

How useful are you going to find the feature, considering the size of the catches? Share your thoughts @TrustedReviews.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have 9 million users a month around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.