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 video player in a popup window

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

The picture in picture (PiP) mode was enabled on Firefox starting from the 71 version. A blue icon is displayed to the right of the YouTube video player to enable PiP.

If you use an older version of Firefox, or if you need playback and volume controls on the floating player, 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
YouTube Picture-in-Picture in Firefox

Enhancer for YouTube

The Enhancer for YouTube™ extension lets you improve your YouTube viewing experience on both Google Chrome and Firefox with many features such as:

  • Automatically pause videos opened in background tabs
  • Pause other videos when a new video starts playing in the foreground
  • Disable YouTube's "Autoplay" feature
  • Set the video quality preference
  • Set the default volume level
  • Control the volume level with the mouse wheel

It also allows you to continue viewing the video while scrolling down to read comments by keeping the player visible in the screen.

Enhancer for YouTube - Pinned always on top video player

You can customize this pinned video player's size and position in the settings:

Enhancer for YouTube - Pinned video player settings

You can also configure shortcuts such as resizing the player and entering the cinema mode by visiting the following URL in Google Chrome: chrome://extensions/shortcuts. If you are using Firefox, visit about:addons then click the gear icon on the top right and choose Manage Extension Shortcuts.

Enhancer for YouTube - Keyboard shortcuts


Control the YouTube player from any tab

Google Chrome

You can control the playback of an open video player while you navigate other pages on Google Chrome starting from the 77. You had to explicitly enable the Global Media Controls experiment flag to use it, but it can be tested in the latest versions without any tweaking.

When playing a YouTube video, a media button will appear in the toolbar next to the profile button. When clicked, a panel that includes 3 buttons will be displayed to:

  • Play/pause the video
  • Seek backward
  • Seek forward
  • Enter picture-in-picture

Global Media Controls in Google Chrome

Firefox

There was some add-ons that allowed YouTube video control from other tabs but they are no longer working.


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