Elias Pelcastre

Why does YouTube not support picture in picture in iOS 9?

Safari was the first “app” to support picture-in-picture on iOS 9. Apple´s native mobile browser was the only app capable of running videos in the corners of the screen while multitasking.

Later on Hulu, iPlayer, and Vimeo joined the trend – but one of the biggest video streaming players still hasn´t. Apart from Netflix, YouTube – most iPad owners’ first choice to watch a quick video – doesn’t enable you to watch a movie trailer or music video in the background when browsing, chatting, or performing a different task on your Apple tablet.

The lack of picture-in-picture support may have something to do with Red, YouTube´s new video subscription service. Available from October 28 for people based in the United States, YouTube Red brings three new features to enhance your video experience on the go.

“YouTube Red lets you enjoy videos across all of YouTube without ads while also letting you save videos to watch offline on your phone or tablet and play videos in the background, all for $9.99 a month,” says the world´s most popular video streaming platform in a blog post.


Notice the “play videos in the background” bit? That´s what iOS 9´s picture-in-picture does, threatening one of Red´s core offers to entice people to cash $10 a month on a video subscription ($13 if you subscribe through the App Store.)

If YouTube enabled iOS 9’s multitasking feature, that would allow iPad users to watch videos in the background, making Red pointless. Sure, you can save videos for offline watching, but do you need it? Videos use up a lot of space, making the option less attractive for people with a 16 GB devices.

It remains a mystery why YouTube hasn´t brought picture-in-picture to its iOS app. But if you think about it, Netflix doesn´t support the feature either. Do you think YouTube will ever support picture-in-picture in iOS 9? Please let me know your take on this in the comment section below.

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