YouTube tweets iOS 15+ users will get picture-in-picture feature ‘in a matter of days’ [Update: YouTube clarifies]

YouTube has been slower than most to test its picture-in-picture support for iOS; however, according to a tweet, it will be coming to the service in a “matter of days.” [Update: After prompting much confusion about the sped-up time to launch of this long-awaited feature, the YouTube Twitter account returned to “clarify” its earlier — and clearly incorrect — statement.]

Just yesterday, a user posted to Twitter they were having problems accessing the experimental feature. YouTube’s Twitter response indicates that it is now coming to its regular YouTube service and soon, all subscribers (premium and non-premium) will finally be able to access the feature after multiple tests.

First announced in June 2021, the beta period was set to end for Premium users on October 31. It was then extended, according to the YouTube experiments website, until April 8.

On March 30, 2022, YouTube TV tweeted that “picture-in-picture is now rolling out to your iOS 15+ devices.” A YouTube spokesperson told TechCrunch at the time that the feature will be available to iOS users of the flagship YouTube app in the “coming months.”

Now, according to YouTube’s tweet, it appears that it will arrive on iPhones and iPads within days. But this seems to be incorrect, as it turns out. After news sites (including ours), noted this change to the launch timeframe, YouTube returned to Twitter in an attempt to clarify what it had said.

The company said that its tweet had been referring to the PiP feature for the YouTube TV app, which was recently added. But the question from the user that had prompted YouTube’s reply in the first place was not asking about YouTube TV. The user even tagged the YouTube and YouTube India accounts directly and referred to the app they were experiencing an issue with as just “YouTube,” not “YouTube TV.”

It seems YouTube itself got this one wrong. [YouTube had been asked for comment. We’ll update if one is provided.]

The availability of YouTube picture-in-picture has been wishy-washy, with the feature working via the YouTube website on Safari on iOS via workarounds, but PiP on the native iOS app was still an “experiment.” Some users even resorted to Shortcuts in order to turn off built-in parameters on the site that disables PiP.

YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan reported a couple of months ago that there will be “new products and tools…rolling out in 2022.” And it seems with this picture-in-picture feature, along with many other updates, the company has been sticking to its word.

Also announced a few days ago, YouTube is adding filtering options so viewers can more easily find the content they’re looking for. This includes filtering and sorting options within a YouTube channel’s video tab, so subscribers can sort by content type: Video, VOD, Shorts and Live. This launch will be live on iOS and Android.

(Updated 3:30 pm et with YouTube’s new statements)