How to Use Picture-in-Picture in Chrome

Go about your business even as you watch your favorite show

With all sorts of internet-connected devices available to use today, watching or listening to something while working is easy enough to do. You can even do it with a PC or laptop with just a single screen, too, thanks to Chrome's picture in picture (PiP) mode.

What is Picture in Picture in Chrome?

Google's Chrome browser might be the most popular way to surf the web for a number of reasons, but one of them is its great feature set. Picture in picture is just one of those, and it makes it possible to have a floating window displaying any sort of content you want on top of whatever else you're doing.

This means you could have a YouTube video playing in the bottom corner of your screen while you work or play in the main window. It's not just for entertainment, either. It can be useful if you're trying to learn how to do something on your PC without having to keep pausing and minimizing the video to do it.

Update Chrome to Support Picture in Picture

To get started using PiP you need to be running Chrome 70 or later. Chrome should update itself automatically, but if it doesn't for whatever reason, you should see an arrow in the top right-hand corner of your screen. Select it, then select Update Google Chrome to update to the latest version.

To confirm you're running version 70 or later, select the three-dot menu icon in the top right-hand corner, then go to Help > About Google Chrome. You’ll then be taken to a page detailing your browser version number.

Open a PiP Floating Window in Chrome

Once you're sure you're running the latest version of the Chrome browser you can take full advantage of PiP mode.

  1. Use Chrome to navigate to the video you want to run in PiP mode.

  2. Right-click the video, then select Picture-in-Picture from the menu that appears. If it's a YouTube video, right-click twice.

    Some video streaming sites will also offer a PiP button you can use instead.

    Picture in Picture menu
  3. The video will then appear in its own Window which floats in-front of everything else. You can select and drag it where you want to put it, as well as select and drag one of the edges to resize the window.

    You do lose some control in PiP mode, though. While you can pause and play the video, you can't adjust its volume or navigate through the timeline in the same way you can in the main video window. If you want to make such adjustments, use the original video window to do so. The only difference is the changes take place within the PiP window instead.

  4. If you want to return to your normal browsing window, hover over the PiP video, and select the X in the top-right corner to close it. The video will then pause and be viewable back in the original browser window. Alternatively, close down the original video tab and it will close the PiP video as well.

Enable Picture in Picture on Chrome OS

If you're using a Chromebook or Chrome OS 2-in-1 like Google's new Pixel Slate, you will need to jump through a couple of extra hoops to enjoy picture in picture videos:

  1. Open a Chrome window, and type or copy the following into the address bar: “chrome://flags#enable-surfaces-for-videos

  2. Press Enter.

  3. Set Enable the use of SurfaceLayer objects for videos to Embed.

  4. Restart Chrome and picture in picture videos should be possible. To test it out, go to YouTube and select a video. Right-click the video twice, then select Picture in Picture. The video should open in a floating window, which you can adjust it as you see fit.