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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Inside iOS: How to use Picture in Picture Mode

It is now easy to watch a video while doing other things with Picture in Picture.

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Apple added a Picture in Picture Mode (PIP) to the iPad with iOS 13. It soon added that functionality on the iPhone with the release of iOS 14. PIP allows for true multi-tasking when watching videos or taking FaceTime calls.

This is a simple guide that covers everything that you need to know about using Picture in Picture on the ‌iPhone or iPad‌.

Enable Picture in Picture

Picture in Picture is enabled by default on your iPhone and iPad. But you can check the settings to make sure by going to Settings > General > Picture in Picture.

Picture in Picture settings.

Picture in Picture With Native Apps

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Tap on the Picture in Picture icon available at the top of the app to activate Picture in Picture mode. You can also double tap on the video with two fingers, or swipe upward from the bottom of the ‌iPhone‌’s display to activate Picture in Picture mode.

Picture in Picture icon drawn.

Exiting out of Picture in Picture Mode and returning to full screen mode with the app reopened can be done by tapping on the same Picture in Picture icon or double tapping the video with two fingers. Closing the Picture in Picture window and existing out of the app can be done by tapping on the X in the left corner.

Picture in Picture instructions in details.

Picture in Picture mode controls for apps that play television and movie content include play/pause and an option to tap to skip 15 seconds forward and 15 seconds back.

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Picture in Picture works with most apps that stream video contents. It also works during FaceTime video call or in video footage from HomeKit-enabled cameras. 3rd party app developers have to manually implement support for this feature to work. One notable app that is absent from this feature is popular video streaming app YouTube. We don’t know why they chose not to implement this feature on iPhones and iPads though Picture in Picture feature does work on Android phones.

Using Picture in Picture on Safari

While app developers need to ensure that their native app supports Picture in Picture functionality, not all has jumped on board. In those instances you can use Safari which works with almost any video sites including YouTube.

On a site with a video, tap to play the video and then tap the Picture in Picture icon or do a two finger double tap on the video. You can also swipe upwards from the bottom of the ‌iPhone‌ and it will automatically activate Picture in Picture. Using Picture in Picture in Safari also works when using a Mac. On a Mac computer, simply right click on the video and choose Enable Picture in Picture.

Customizing Picture in Picture Window Size and Position

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You can double tap or use pinch gestures on any Picture in Picture to change the video size. There are three sizes to choose from: small, medium, and large. The video windows are shown in landscape orientation on the device Home Screen with the exception of FaceTime or video calls which can be shown in portrait mode.

You can pull a Picture in Picture window over to the side of the iPhone or iPad by swiping it over to either sides of the iPhone. This is especially useful if you just want to listen to the audio or you’re doing something on the iPhone and the video is blocking your view.

Swipe to the left or the right to hide video in Picture in Picture mode.

iOS 14 is the first time iPhone had the Picture in Picture feature. We are hoping to see more improvements over the coming years as the feature grows more mature.

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