iOS 14: How to Use Picture in Picture for Videos and Calls on iPhone

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 12 Jul 2020

iPhone iOS 14 Picture in Picture

One small but major usability change that Apple has made in iOS 14 for the iPhone is to add Picture in Picture support. The feature has been present on the iPad for a few years now, so it was odd to see Apple not bring it to the iPhone. With Picture in Picture support, one can multitask easily on their iPhone while on a video call or watching a video. Here’s how you can use Picture in Picture on your iPhone on iOS 14.

The addition of Picture in Picture on the iPhone could not have come at a better time as more and more people across the globe are using their iPhone for video calling purposes. As things stand right now, if you are on a video call, it is not possible to access other apps or documents on your device without pausing the video feed. This is where the new Picture in Picture mode on iOS 14 comes into play.

There are plenty of other new features in iOS 14 that you should read about as well.

What is Picture in Picture Mode on the iPhone?

Picture in Picture will basically allow you to play a video in a small floating window that you can move around the screen. This way, when you are on a video call, you can access your documents stored on Dropbox without having to pause the video feed. You will also be able to see the video feed as well as the file you need, both at the same time on your iPhone’s display. It is also handy to browse the web or continue a conversation while streaming content on YouTube or Netflix. In selected apps, you will also get an option to fast forward or go back by 15 seconds in the PiP window. Apple’s implementation is unique to that of Android as the Picture in Picture (PiP) window is resizable as well. You can double-tap or pinch to zoom on the PiP window to cycle between three window sizes: small, medium, and large.

Picture in Picture on iPhone in iOS 14

How to Use Picture in Picture For Videos and Calls on iPhone

Using Picture in Picture on iPhone running iOS 14 is extremely easy and requires little to no user input. For PiP support in third-party apps, it will be up to developers to support the feature. Most of the popular streaming apps including Netflix are already working with Picture in Picture mode on iOS 14, though YouTube still does not work. The incompatible apps should be updated by the time iOS 14 is officially released to the public.

There are three methods using which you can enable Picture in Picture in a third-party app on your iPhone. Both of them are mentioned below.

Method 1

The first method is relatively simple and makes activating Picture in Picture very easy.

Step 1: Open an app like Netflix or Prime Video and start streaming the content you want to watch.

Step 2: Switch to full-screen mode and then simply swipe up or press the home button to go to the home screen.

Step 3: This will automatically enable Picture in Picture and the video will play in a small window on your home screen that you can drag around and position as per your requirement. This will also work when you are on a FaceTime video call.

If a third-party app does not work with Picture in Picture, you will have to wait for the developer to update the app.

iPhone Picture in Picture

Method 2

In supported apps, you will see a small icon in the media player to activate Picture in Picture mode.

iPhone Picture in Picture BUtton

In selected apps like Apple’s own TV app, you can do a two-finger double-tap on a video to play it in Picture in Picture mode inside the app itself. It is possible that more apps will adopt this gesture once they are updated for iOS 14.

How to Play YouTube Videos in Picture in Picture on iPhone

The good thing is that Picture in Picture on the iPhone in iOS 14 also works with content that you stream inside Safari. So, if you are playing a video on a website in Safari, you can put it in Picture in Picture mode and then continue to stream it while browsing the web or checking another document. Using this method, you can play YouTube videos in Picture in Picture mode as the app itself does not support the feature as of now. This method will work irrespective of whether you are a YouTube Premium subscriber or not.

Step 1: Open in Safari and proceed to play the video of your liking.

Step 2: Switch the video to full-screen mode. Then in the media player window, tap the PiP window on the top left corner.

Step 3: The PiP window will come up and you can then continue browsing the web on Safari on your iPhone while watching the video or even while using other apps.

iPhone Picture in Picture YouTube iOS 14

How to Hide a Picture in Picture Window on iPhone

You can hide a Picture in Picture window on your iPhone by simply it to the right edge of the screen. You will be able to still hear the audio of an ongoing video call, but your video feed will be stopped. You can then tap the arrow to bring up the PiP window again.

What are your thoughts on Apple’s Picture in Picture implementation on the iPhone? While the company has been a little late in implementing it, the execution seems to be fantastic in my opinion.

Don’t forget to check out the hidden iOS 14 features such as the ability to launch apps and other cool trips using the new back tap feature.