How to Use Picture-in-Picture on iPhone

Do more with the Picture-in-Picture mode on your iPhone

The Picture in Picture (PiP) mode on iPhones makes multitasking easier. Now, you can watch a video in a PiP supported app or take a FaceTime call while doing something else on your iPhone. The video window scales down to a thumbnail automatically and doesn't obstruct your work on another app.

Apple introduced PiP in iPadOS 13. If you own an iPhone running iOS 14, it’s now easier to adjust when you jump from an iPad to an iPhone. Here’s how to use PiP and why you will want to start using it. 

How to Use Picture in Picture with FaceTime

Picture in Picture can give you a productivity boost when you are on a FaceTime video call. In iOS 13, your video would pause when you swiped the screen away to check something on the phone. With PiP now, you can continue the chat as the FaceTime window minimizes to another part of the screen when you swipe or press the Home button to display the home screen.

The new Picture in Picture viewer works on all iPhone models that support iOS 14. 

  1. When on a FaceTime call, press Home or swipe up to display your home screen. 

  2. The FaceTime call window scales down to a thumbnail. You can now switch to any other app while on the call. Return to a full FaceTime screen with a tap on the tiny maximize icon. 

  3. PiP allows you to modify the video window in a few ways:

    • Drag it to a different corner of the screen.
    • Pinch it open to make it larger or pinch it closed to shrink the size between small, medium, and full screen.
    • Drag it off the left or right edge of the screen to hide the window.
    • Tap the video window to show or hide the controls.
    • Tap Close to close the video window.

These different ways to manage the video window give you room on the screen depending on what you are doing with other apps. For instance, you can hide the entire PiP window by dragging it to the right or left of the screen. The audio will continue to play. An arrow tab is the only indication that the video is there.

You can stay on the call while using the entire screen to do other things like take down notes, scan your calendar, or even draft an email. 

A Few Picture in Picture Apps You Should Know About

You can use PiP with most of Apple’s own apps that handle video content. Try it on Apple TV, Podcasts, iTunes, FaceTime, Files, Home, and Safari. 

Many third-party apps also support Picture in Picture. To find out if your favorite app supports PiP, start watching a video and maximize it to a full screen. Then press the Home button (if you have it) or swipe up from the bottom of the screen to exit the app. The floating thumbnail is the surest way to check for Picture in Picture support.

Open video in Picture-in-Picture mode in iPhone

Here are some of the common apps that come with the Picture in Picture experience:

  • Netflix
  • Disney+
  • ESPN
  • HBO Go
  • HBO Max
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Google Play Movies & TV
  • CNN: Breaking US & World News
  • Hulu
  • PBS Video
  • Pocket
  • Vimeo

Browsers That Support Picture in Picture 

Along with third-party apps, you can also enjoy PiP in Safari and all common browser apps. Open a site with embedded videos and follow the same method as above. 

  • Google Chrome
  • Firefox: Private, Safe Browser
  • Firefox Focus: Privacy browser
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Opera Touch

While many popular apps support PiP, some of the most well-known apps still don’t. You will find that Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit still can’t play your video when you go elsewhere on the screen.

But if you can’t get the video to play in their app, try going to the service's webpage instead. Social media sites like Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook can be viewed in the PiP mode in your favorite browser. You don’t even have to open the desktop version of the site. Log into the mobile site and you are good to go with any video. 

Browsers include proprietary features to support the floating window. Developers have to write code that allows users to use PiP mode in their apps or the equivalent mobile sites for all playing videos. 

So, what about YouTube?

How to Watch YouTube in Picture in Picture Mode

You can view YouTube in the PiP mode as long as you stay within the app. But you will lose the view when you swipe the app away to come to the home screen. Google also doesn’t allow YouTube in a tiny window on browsers like Chrome.

The only way to get PiP on YouTube is to become a YouTube Premium subscriber. 

How to Disable Picture in Picture from Playing Automatically

Though PiP is a multitasking feature, you may prefer to watch videos within their apps instead and not show up on the home screen. A single toggle switch helps to disable the feature. 

  1. Open Settings

  2. Go to General > Picture in Picture.

  3. Toggle the switch to the Off position.

    Switch to start/stop Start PiP Automatically.

Picture in Picture won’t start automatically with a swipe. Though, you can still force the video to play within the small thumbnail when you want. 

Play a video and tap the screen to show the playback controls. Then, tap the Picture in Picture icon on top of the playback window. It is a small rectangle with an arrow pointing to a smaller rectangle.