Xiaomi Removes Feature That Let Users Run YouTube Videos in the Background for Free: Here’s Why

Xiaomi has announced that it is removing a popular feature which allowed users to run YouTube videos in the background. YouTube Premium users, who pay for ad-free streaming, can play YouTube videos over other applications in a picture-in-picture (PiP) mode or just the audio in the background without the video. However, this Xiaomi feature allowed users to gain the same functionality for free. This move comes at a time when YouTube is cracking down on several third-party apps and features which presumably affect their paying user count.The firm announced via a Telegram channel post that it will remove the Play video sound with screen off feature in the Video toolbox and the Turn-off screen feature in the Game toolbox via over-the-air updates. Although Xiaomi does not specify what compelled it to remove these popular features, the post states that the move is “due to compliance requirements.”Notably, the action comes months after YouTube has been trying to push more people towards subscribing to YouTube Premium. It has tried to curb the use of ad blockers by slowing down video playback speed for users with ad blockers and making skipping ads significantly harder.Xiaomi confirmed that this decision will affect all smartphones running MIUI 12, MIUI 13, MIUI 14, and the newly released HyperOS, including Xiaomi 14,  Xiaomi 13, Xiaomi 13 Pro, and Xiaomi 12T. Notably, Xiaomi introduced the feature to support video playback without the screen being active with its MIUI 12 update in 2021.A recent report claimed that YouTube may be rolling out PiP mode for non-Premium users outside the US. But the company has not confirmed any such moves. Paying YouTube Premium subscribers using the Xiaomi models affected by the native feature removal, should still be able to use YouTube videos on PiP or background player mode.Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.

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