How to revert YouTube picture-in-picture mode on iOS 14

IOS users know better than others that updates aren’t always a blessing. Either due to the fact that updates are released too often, and developers simply cannot concentrate, or because Apple, in principle, keeps low-skilled employees, but literally every other time, iOS updates reduce either productivity or battery life of compatible devices. But bugs that can be fixed is one thing, and it is completely different – pre-planned changes, which, although they look like bugs, are in fact innovations. It’s good that you can fight them.

I think you’ve already noticed that in iOS 14, the picture-in-picture mode in the web version of YouTube completely stopped working. It is alleged that the corresponding change was made by the developers of the video service, who allegedly planned in this way to push users who need the mode to make a paid subscription. The fact is that as part of the YouTube Premium package for 249 rubles per month, users are offered the opportunity to run videos in the background or in a separate window on top of all other applications.

Picture-in-picture on YouTube

However, I have my own opinion on this matter. For some reason, it seems to me that Apple’s developers played an important role in limiting the operation of the picture-in-picture mode. Still, it is in the interests of the Cupertino-based company that as many users as possible subscribe to a paid YouTube subscription because 30% of the payment will go to its piggy bank. As a result, both parties will earn money, and Apple will also receive some kind of benefit from Google, which owns YouTube and is clearly interested in increasing the profits generated by the service.

If you want to save on your YouTube Premium subscription, you can purchase it for 199 rubles. To do this, you need to issue a subscription through the website using this link. In this case, Google does not pay Apple’s commission and allows itself to sell access to the service at a discount.

However, we are here to break the system, not to understand motivations. This is what we will do.

  • To launch YouTube videos in a separate window on iOS 14, open the web version of the service in Safari;
  • Click on the “Аа” button in the upper left corner and go to the desktop version;
  • Find the video you need, launch it, and be sure to open it in full screen;
  • Click on an empty space on the screen to bring up related controls;
  • Above, to the right of the cross icon, click the “picture-in-picture” button as shown in the screenshot;
  • Drag the video wherever you want to watch it and keep going.
iOS 14 picture in picture

Video in a separate window on YouTube

It is especially cool that the video window that appears after performing all the manipulations described above has all the necessary playback controls. Here you can rewind the video forward or backward, pause it, expand it or, in principle, close it. In addition, if necessary, you can change the position of the roller window, as well as resize it using the pinch-to-zoom gesture, which used to be very popular among iPhone users and was a sign of a multi-touch screen.

It turns out that although Apple made life difficult for its users, in fact, it still did not deprive them of the opportunity to launch videos on YouTube in picture-in-picture mode. Despite this, I do not give up my guess that the decision to make it more difficult to access the video playback in a separate window was made by Apple and Google. It is even possible that Apple itself insisted on keeping the “picture-in-picture” activation tool only in the desktop version so that only those who really understand and are capable of searching can find it.