Floating Video Player Popup & Other Hacks For YouTube On Chrome And Firefox

How to play YouTube videos differently with a floating player, playback controls while browsing other tabs, video queuing and playing only the audio
Different methods to play YouTube videos while doing other activities: floating always on top pop out player (picture in picture), playback controls while browsing other tabs, video queuing and playing only the audio to save bandwidth.

Floating player (without extensions)

Google Chrome

Starting from Google Chrome 70, the picture-in-picture mode can be enabled to display an always on top floating player from YouTube. This player can be resized and moved, but has no playback controls and the original video window must remain open. To enable this mode, you can right-click inside the video player twice, then select the Picture in Picture option from the context menu. If you are using an older version of Chrome, you can have a similar mode using the picture-in-picture extension.

Firefox

A native picture in picture mode can be tested in the Firefox Beta and Developer Editions. As of now and before it is released, you can use a combination of a Firefox extension and a native program as explained in the following section.


YouTube floating player without extensions in Chrome (1)
Double right-click inside the player
YouTube floating player without extensions in Chrome (2)
YouTube floating player in Google Chrome

Floating player using extensions

Google Chrome

In addition to displaying a resizable and movable always on top floating player, you can with the Floating for YouTube extension control the playback of the video and close the original video window. 2 extensions must be installed:

After installing the 2 extensions, you can open the floating player from:

  • An open YouTube video page by clicking the Open in Floating for YouTube button on the bottom right of the player.
  • A YouTube listing page by clicking the Play in Floating for YouTube icon in the top right of the video thumbnail.
  • An embedded YouTube video by clicking the Open in Floating for YouTube button to the left of the Watch later button.

Firefox

The Floating for YouTube add-on can be used to display a new Firefox window containing only the current open YouTube video. You will need to install an external program to have this window displayed always on top.

The deskpins program can be installed for this purpose in Windows (direct download link). If you're using Mac, you can follow this tutorial.


Floating player in Google Chrome
Floating player in Firefox

Control the YouTube player from any tab

Google Chrome

If you want to just control the playback of an open video player while you navigate other pages, with the ability to change the playback position and to play the next suggested YouTube video, the YouTube Control Center is made for you.

You can access the playback controls window by clicking the extension's button. From the same window, you can access various settings including: toggle the display of the video thumbnail, hide elements of the YouTube page like video suggestions, comments, etc.

Firefox

The Media Player for YouTubeâ„¢ add-on can be used to control the playback of an open YouTube video. You can access the playback controls window by clicking the add-on's button. The preferred video playback volume for all videos can be set from the same window.

Additionally, when you open a new YouTube video page, it's automatically added to the add-on's video playlist. You can then have a video queue effect by enabling the Loop through all the tracks option: the next video in the playlist will be played automatically when the current one ends.


YouTube Control Center
YouTube Control Center
Media Player for YouTube
Media Player for YouTube

Listen to audio without video

If you are just interested by the audio part of a video, and to save CPU, bandwidth and battery, you can install either the Audio Only Youtube extension on Google Chrome or the Youtube audio_only add-on on Firefox and toggle the audio only mode by clicking the extension's or add-on's icon.


Audio Only Youtube disabled
Audio only disabled
Audio Only Youtube enabled
Audio only enabled