How to Use Picture-in-Picture on Your Android

This Android feature lets you watch your favorite videos while multitasking

Picture-in-Picture (PiP) is a feature available on Android smartphones running Android 8.0 Oreo and later. It allows you to multitask. For instance, you can search for a restaurant while video chatting with a friend or watch a YouTube video while getting directions on Google Maps. PIP also works with most online streaming services.

It's a nice feature for heavy multitaskers who jump from app to app. PiP is also convenient if you want to casually watch something rather than pay full attention, such as a funny video that's taking too long to get to the punchline.

Instructions in this article apply to Android 8.0 or later.

This feature may not be something you use every day, but it's definitely worth giving it a try. Follow the instructions below to set it up and use it.

Apps Compatible with Picture-in-Picture

Since this is an Android feature, many of Google's top apps support picture-in-picture, including Chrome, YouTube, and Google Maps.

However, YouTube's PiP mode requires a subscription to YouTube Premium (previously YouTube Red), its ad-free platform. PiP mode also works with YouTube TV, the company's streaming service.

Other compatible apps include VLC, an open-source video platform, Netflix (with an update to Android 8.1), WhatsApp (video chats), Facebook and Instagram (videos), Google Duo, Pocket Casts (video podcasts), and Hulu.

Find and Enable PiP Apps

This feature isn't compatible with all apps, and it's up to developers to indicate whether their program supports this function. You can see a list of all the apps on your device that support picture-in-picture. First make sure your Android apps are up to date, then:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Tap Apps & notifications.

  3. Go to Advanced > Special app access.

    Apps & Notifications, Advanced, and Special App Access in Android settings
  4. Select Picture-in-picture.

  5. Choose an app from the list.

  6. Tap the toggle button to enable PiP.

    Turning on PiP for an app in Android settings

How to Launch Picture-in-Picture

How you launch picture-in-picture depends on the app. With Google Chrome, you have to set a video to full screen, then press the Home button.

On the YouTube app (with a premium account), start watching a video, and then press the Home button.

With some apps such as VLC, you have to enable the feature in the app settings first. On WhatsApp, when you're in a video call, tap the preview of the video to activate picture-in-picture. 

YouTube no longer allows PiP within Chrome. The following instructions apply to non-YouTube videos.

  1. Navigate to a website that contains a video.

  2. Tap the fullscreen option.

  3. Select Play.

  4. Once the video begins playing, press Home, then you can move the video around your phone screen.

Picture-in-Picture Controls

When you've figured out how to launch PiP in your favorite app, you'll see a window with your video or other content on the bottom right of your display.

Tap the window to look at the controls. In some cases, you'll see Play, Fast Forward, Rewind, and a Maximize\Fullscreen button that brings you back to the app in full screen. For playlists, the Fast-Forward button moves to the next song on the list. Some videos only have an exit and fullscreen button.

You can drag the window anywhere on the screen, and pull it to the bottom of the screen to dismiss it.

Some apps, including YouTube, have a headphone shortcut that lets you play audio in the background if you don't need visuals.