YouTube picture-in-picture may be globally expanding beyond the premium membership

YouTube picture-in-picture may be globally expanding beyond the premium membership
Picture-in-Picture (PiP), the feature that lets you watch videos in a floating window while using other apps, is a staple for many mobile users. While Android has made PiP as part of the operating system for some time, the YouTube app itself has been more selective about its availability.

Until recently, only YouTube Premium subscribers outside the US could take advantage of PiP, unlike in the US where free users have had that benefit. That seems to be changing, though, as reports  are circulating of non-Premium users in Europe suddenly discovering access to YouTube's PiP functionality.

Conflicting information and speculation among users

Confusingly, as Android Police notes, YouTube's official support page still maintain that PiP requires a Premium subscription outside the US. Further, the feature wasn't replicable in tests outside of Europe. This leads to a few possible scenarios:
  1. Experimentation: YouTube may be testing PiP with a select group of non-Premium European users.
  2. Accidental Rollout: The feature's appearance could be an unintended error.
  3. Delayed Official Announcement: An expansion of PiP for non-Premium users outside the US could be in the works, but YouTube hasn't made a formal statement yet.

Possible limitations and US precedent

Even if expanded PiP access becomes official, some restrictions may still apply. YouTube's support pages note that even in the US, where non-Premium PiP debuted, music videos remain unavailable without Premium. Some copyrighted content could be similarly restricted for free users.

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This aligns with 2022's rollout of PiP to non-Premium users on iPhone and iPad in the US. At the time, YouTube specified "non-music content" as the scope of the PiP expansion.

While the evidence right now seems promising, it's too early to say for sure whether YouTube's PiP will become widely available to non-Premium users outside the US. It will be interesting to see how YouTube continues to navigate the balance between providing access to PiP for non-Premium users while respecting copyright restrictions. As the platform evolves, it is likely that more updates and changes will follow.

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