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iOS 14: YouTube restricts popular iPhone feature



With iOS 14 the popular picture-in-picture mode has also arrived on the iPhone. YouTube, however, is now putting a few obstacles in the way of its viewers to be able to use it.

One of the many new features in iOS 14 is the possibility to use the picture-in-picture mode for videos on Apple’s smartphone. A small video window can float above all other apps and allows for uninterrupted entertainment even while surfing the web or chatting with friends.

Until the final version of the new operating system, this feature also worked in combination with YouTube’s mobile website. YouTube’s own apps do not support picture-in-picture on the iPad, where the feature has been available for a long time, nor on the iPhone.

As MacRumors had noticed, YouTube has apparently been working on its own website to disable the feature. If you tap on the picture-in-picture symbol after starting a video in full-screen mode, the video slides back into the website:

Picture in Picture in iOS 14 stopped working on iPhone for videos on YouTube’s website. YouTube videos embedded elsewhere still work fine. pic.twitter.com/8vTFy4u3Ut

— Eric Slivka (@eslivka)
September 18, 2020

At first glance, this change seemed like a mistake by YouTube. On closer inspection, however, one now suspects that this change is intentional.

If you are logged in as a user with an active premium account, the picture-in-picture mode still works as intended. This is independent of whether you access the mobile site or manually choose the desktop version of YouTube.com.

This also paves a way for users who want to use YouTube in picture-in-picture mode without a premium account. It is currently still sufficient to open the page of the desired video in the desktop version. This is done by selecting the function after tapping the aA symbol in the address bar. Here you can then start the full-screen mode as before, which in turn gives access to the picture-in-picture feature.

YouTube on Apple TV: Still no 4K in sight

In addition to the picture-in-picture function on the smartphone, YouTube is not currently providing much enjoyment for owners of an Apple TV 4K. With tvOS 14, Apple continues to promise support for high-resolution 4K content on YouTube on the small set-top box. 4K videos can now also be viewed on iPhone, iPad, and Safari under macOS Big Sur.

But on the Apple TV 4K the content is still missing. YouTube also confirmed this on Twitter and announced that the necessary support will soon be provided. During the beta phase of tvOS there were reports that 4K videos were occasionally seen. These may just be bugs that need to be fixed by YouTube developers.

Sorry about the back and forth – jumping in to clarify that Apple TV 4K will support 4K playback soon. Stay tuned for an update here.

— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube)
September 18, 2020

As MacRumors reports, YouTube had briefly written on Twitter that the 4K model of Apple TV did not support the necessary codec. This tweet has since been deleted by YouTube.





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