YouTube free users on iOS 14 can once again use PiP on mobile web

Following recent controversy over the loss of this functionality, free YouTube users can once again utilize iOS 14's picture-in-picture mode when streaming videos in a mobile web browser. The change quietly arrived a couple of weeks after users reported that the PiP support on iOS 14 had disappeared...except for users who were paying for a YouTube Premium subscription, that is.

Put simply, iOS 14 has a built-in picture-in-picture mode that enables users to watch videos in a small foreground window, giving them the opportunity to watch streaming content while messaging, playing a game, or other similar things. Last month, users reported that they were no longer able to stream YouTube videos in PiP mode when using a mobile browser on their iPhone; the feature had apparently been restricted to only paying Premium customers.

The restriction had understandably proven very controversial among users who have already heavily criticized YouTube for how often it pushes Premium on users. The change was noted by MacRumors yesterday alongside a demonstration of the returned functionality.

A number of other iOS 14 users report also being able to enable PiP playback on YouTube on the web, though it remains unavailable to free users on the YouTube app itself. Many consumers have criticized YouTube Premium as failing to offer enough value to justify its $11.99/month cost, which currently gets subscribers things like YouTube Music Premium, video downloads for offline watching, background playback, and an ad-free experience.

Many have pointed out that it's not too difficult to (unofficially) get access to offline YouTube video playback using third-party apps. As well (and somewhat unethically), there are also ad-blockers that can remove the ads from YouTube videos. This leaves Premium subscribers with the Music Premium and background playback perks, neither of which justifies the high price — according to critics, at least.