Xiaomi has announced that it is removing a popular feature that allowed users to play YouTube videos in the background. YouTube Premium users who pay for ad-free streaming can play YouTube videos through other apps in picture-in-picture (PiP) mode or just the audio in the background without the video. However, this Xiaomi feature allowed users to get the same functionality for free. The move comes at a time when YouTube is cracking down on several third-party apps and features that are likely affecting the number of their paying users.

The company announced via a Telegram channel post that will remove Play video sound with screen off function in the video toolbox and Shutdown screen feature in the game’s toolbox via over-the-air updates. While Xiaomi didn’t elaborate on what prompted it to remove these popular features, the post said the move was “due to compliance requirements.”

Notably, the move comes months after YouTube tried to get more people to subscribe to YouTube Premium. It tried to limit the use of ad blockers by slowing down video playback for users with ad blockers and making it significantly harder to skip ads.

Xiaomi has confirmed that this fix will affect all smartphones running MIUI 12, MIUI 13, MIUI 14 and the newly released HyperOS, including the Xiaomi 14, Xiaomi 13, Xiaomi 13 Pro and Xiaomi 12T. Xiaomi in particular introduced the feature to support video playback without the screen being active with the MIUI 12 2021 update.

A recent report claims that YouTube may launch a PiP mode for non-Premium users outside the US. But the company has not confirmed such actions. YouTube Premium paying subscribers using the Xiaomi models affected by the removal of the native feature should still be able to use YouTube videos in PiP or background player mode.

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