YouTube’s Picture-in-Picture could soon expand to non-Premium users

Picture in Picture
(Image credit: Future)

What You Need to Know

  • Multiple European users are noticing that picture-in-picture is available on non-Premium accounts. 
  • Certain content, like those with copyrighted elements, including music videos, are ineligible for free users. 
  • The feature allows users to watch a video without needing to be directly in the app.

For users dedicated to productivity, picture-in-picture (PiP) has been a godsend. The feature, which allows users to watch a video outside of a dedicated app, has long been a staple on Android. For iOS YouTube users in the United States, it’s been around since 2022 for free. Now, it appears that global YouTube users will be able to take advantage of it without the need for a Premium YouTube subscription. 

As first spotted by Android Police, the feature is slowly becoming available to users in Europe who currently do not have a Premium membership. In the past, users outside the U.S. needed to be subscribed to YouTube Premium in order to take advantage of the feature. Meanwhile, U.S. users have been able to use PiP for nearly two years at no additional cost. 

Multiple Reddit threads have popped up as far back as two weeks ago, with users finding PiP functionality on non-Premium level accounts. That speculation was heightened when a Romanian user noted that they, too, had PiP access without being subscribed to Premium. 

Still, however, there remains some confusion as the official YouTube account on X (formerly known as Twitter) noted that a Premium subscription is needed for users outside of the U.S. A Google spokesperson clarified to Android Central that feature is currently limited to channels where shopping features are present.

"We've recently rolled out an experience that allows viewers to use the picture-in-picture feature while viewing content from some channels with our shopping features enabled," a spokesperson said. "This is currently accessible to users in countries where YouTube Shopping is available."

It’s important to note that should the PiP feature make its way beyond the U.S. for free, non-premium subscribed accounts won’t be able to utilize it for things like music videos or videos in which copyrighted elements are present. That would still require a Premium subscription as it does in the U.S. 

For reference, a YouTube Premium subscription runs at $13.99 a month in the States, with student plans costing $7.99 and annual offerings at $139.99 for an individual account. A family plan is also available for $22.99 a month and allows users to host up to five family members, provided that they are 13 years of age or older. 

PiP first made its way in July of 2022, when the company announced that iOS and iPadOS devices at 15.0 or higher would be able to take advantage of the feature that Android users had already had access to. 

Android Central reached out to Google to confirm the PiP expansion, however they did not get back to us in time for publication. We will update this article once information becomes available.