For a couple of years now, the iPad had the ability to play videos in picture-in-picture mode. When you upgrade to iOS 14 or later, your iPhone also gets the feature. It works with media apps, YouTube (via Safari) and also for FaceTime calls.
Use Picture-in-Picture for supported apps on iPhone
All media apps that have already supported picture-in-picture mode on iPad exit the box on your iPhone with iOS 14 or later. And now that the feature is available on the iPhone, we expect to see more media and video conferencing apps to add the feature.
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Currently, popular apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime support the feature. YouTube app not, but more on that later.
If you have used picture-in-picture mode on the iPad, you will know the process. Open an app like Netflix and start playing a movie or TV show. Then drag up from the home field (at the bottom of the screen) during playback. If you are using an iPhone with a Home key, press the Home key instead.
You will now see your iPhone’s home screen as the video continues to play in a small media player window.
You can now pinch and zoom in the window to make it bigger or smaller. You can also drag the window to the left or right edge of the screen to hide the video player. The sound continues to play in the background.
To return the picture-in-picture window, press the “Arrow” icon.
Touching the picture-in-picture window displays additional options. From here you can play or pause the video and jump back and forth.
To return to full screen mode, click the “Picture-in-Picture” button in the upper right corner of the window. And if you want to stop playback completely, press the “Close” button in the upper left.
FaceTime also supports picture-in-picture mode and it works the same way. During a video call, go to the Home screen to continue the call in a small picture-in-picture window.
Use picture-in-picture for YouTube (and other sites)
Although YouTube Premium on Android supports picture-in-picture, YouTube just does not offer the feature for iPhone and iPad users. But do not worry, the Safari solution for iPad also works on iPhone.
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You can use Safari to play the YouTube video in the original video player, which offers picture-in-picture functionality. This feature also works for other web media players working with Safari’s original video players.
First visit the YouTube site and then start playing a video. From there, press the “Fullscreen” button.
You’ll notice that YouTube’s media player is gone and replaced by Apple’s own video player. You can now press the “Picture-in-picture” button to quickly activate the function. Or you can drag up from the home field (or press the “Home” button on older devices) to activate picture-in-picture mode.
When you are in picture-in-picture mode, it is as usual. You will find the same option to move the player window and hide the floating window.
You can now continue to use other apps while the YouTube video is playing in the floating window. When done, you can press the “Close” button to exit the player or you can press the “Picture-in-picture” button to return to full screen mode.
Once your iPhone has run iOS 14 or later, make sure you test the new home screen widgets!
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