Getting picture-in-picture video going on your iPad Pro, iPad Air, or iPad mini

Picture-in-picture (PiP) isn’t a new concept. It’s existed for television and computer displays for years. Traditionally, the idea was that you could watch more than one thing at the same time. So, for example, having the channel showing the baseball game on your TV, full screen, and the channel playing the football game in a smaller window in one of the corners. With PiP on the iPad, the idea is that you can watch a video while doing something else at the same time.

Picture-in-picture compatibility

Because picture-in-picture needs to run the video on top of another app, it requires the a 64-bit Apple A7 processor or better. That means:

  • iPad Pro
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Air
  • iPad mini 3
  • iPad mini 2

How to enter picture-in-picture mode

Developers need to enable PiP support in their apps or web services in order for it to work. If you don’t see the PiP button on your favorite app or web site, let the developer know you want it.

  1. Launch your video app. (We’re using Apple’s built-in Videos app.)
  2. Go to the video you want to play.
  3. Tap Play to start playing the video.
  4. Tap the PiP button to enter picture-in-picture mode.

Picture-in-picture mode will also launch automatically if you leave a PiP-enabled app while the video is playing. (That’s how to put FaceTime into PiP mode, for example.)

How to control the PiP video

If you tap the picture-in-picture player, you’re presented with a set of controls.

  1. The PiP button will send you back to the app that owns the video and restore the video to full screen.
  2. The pause/play video will, as the name suggests, pause or resume playback of the video.
  3. The close button will end playback, close the PiP, and leave you to get on with whatever else you’re doing.

There’s also an incredibly thin progress bar along the bottom that shows you how far along you are in the timeline. You can’t use the progress bar to scrub forward or back through the video, but you can use it to quickly see how much is left.

How to change the size and position of the PiP video

Picture-in-picture video defaults to roughly quarter-screen size (with amble transparent border) and the lower left-hand side of the display, but you can easily resize and reposition it.

To resize it, you use the trusty pinch-to-zoom gesture.

  1. Touch two fingers down on the PiP.
  2. Pinch your fingers together to shrink the PiP.
  3. Spread your fingers apart to expand the PiP.
  4. Let go.

To reposition it, you simply drag.

  1. Touch one finger down on the PiP.
  2. Drag the PiP to any of the other corners.
  3. Let go.

How to hide the PiP video

If you need to use your full iPad screen for something else but don’t want to stop listening to the video’s audio, instead of closing the picture-in-picture window, you can simply tuck it away for a time.

  1. Touch one finger down on the PiP.
  2. Drag the PiP sideways off the screen.

A small tab will remain visible so you can pull the PiP back out again when you want to continue watching.

  1. Touch one finger down on the PiP tab.
  2. Drag the PiP sideways back on screen.

How to disable PiP video

Because the picture-in-picture video can start automatically when you leave an app during playback, and that might not be what you want, Apple gives you a way to disable it.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Tap on Multitasking.
  4. Switch Persistent Video Overlay to Off.

To re-enable it, simply repeat the process and switch Persistent Video Overlay to On.
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