Up until now, to use the picture-in-picture feature built into Android 8.0 Oreo with YouTube, you’ve had to be subscribed to YouTube Premium (or Red). Now, that requirement is being dropped as Google has confirmed on its support page that those with free YouTube accounts can use PiP on their Oreo devices.
To use the feature, while watching a video in YouTube, tap the home button and the player will shrink into a small window you can drag around your screen. You can then resize it to an extent if you wish or close it altogether. I’ve been testing the feature with my free trial of YouTube Premium and, I have to say, it’s super convenient if you want to watch a video while, say, scrolling through social media.
It isn’t perfect for free users, however. Unlike with YouTube Premium, you can’t listen to any videos with a focus on music such as music videos. If a video is labeled “music,” the video will just stop playing when you hit the home button. I’d say let’s hope for Google to bring the feature over in a future update, but then there’d be no point in subscribing to something like YouTube Music. Fortunately for Premium subscribers, free users still can’t download videos to their phones so at least you still have a slight leg up.
Also worth noting is the lack of international support for YouTube PiP. For now, only free users in the US can use the feature. We’ll let you know if it expands to other regions in the future.
You can download the latest version of the YouTube app for Android for free from the Play Store.