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.