One of the biggest innovations coming with iOS 14 is the picture-in-picture mode. In this way, you can continue watching videos in a small window while doing other work on your iPhone.
This can be useful, for example, when you want to watch a YouTube video in Safari while chatting with friends or checking your e-mail messages. However, YouTube does not seem to allow videos to be played on the small screen when the picture-in-picture mode is enabled. This requires you to be a YouTube Premium subscriber.
You can also try this yourself. On an iPhone with iOS 14, use Safari to open a video on the YouTube website and bring the video to full screen. If you click the screen and bring up the playback controls, you will see the picture-in-picture topic in the upper left corner of the screen. When you click this, the video briefly goes to its own window before returning to its normal place on YouTube’s site. And if you try to go back to your home screen while watching a video in full screen, you’ll see it briefly switch to picture-in-picture mode before it disappears.
As MacRumors observed, if a YouTube video is embedded on any website, you can watch it in picture-in-picture mode. And if you have a YouTube Premium subscription, the picture-in-picture works as expected. But if you are a free YouTube user, this feature doesn’t work exactly as desired.
If you’re using an iPad, picture-in-picture mode can be played on YouTube videos on Safari, whether you have a Premium account or not.
It is not known whether this is a bug or whether YouTube intentionally blocked this feature. YouTube offers background video playback in its own app only for YouTube Premium subscribers. It seems logical for YouTube to keep the picture-in-picture mode only for paying subscribers.