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Inside iOS 9: Apple's iPad-only 'Picture in Picture' mode lets you keep watching video with any task

With the release of iOS 9 this week, iPad owners can now shrink video and continue watching and listening while accomplishing other tasks, thanks to Apple's all-new Picture in Picture mode.




Picture in Picture mode is invoked by taking a full-screen video and tapping an icon in the bottom right corner. Doing so shrinks the video to a corner of the iPad's screen, and the content will remain in that general vicinity as the user goes on to do other tasks.

PIP videos can be displayed in a range of customizable sizes, increased or decreased with pinching gestures. The video can be dragged to all four corners of the screen.

he video itself will automatically move to get out of the way of essential items— for example, when navigating to the home screen, a video pinned to the bottom of the iPad display will move upward slightly to accommodate for the iOS app dock.




In addition to being viewed in all four corners, Picture in Picture can also be dragged off the screen to make room to see more of the display. By simply dragging the video window off to the side, a sliver of the video will remain viewable, allowing it to be dragged back into view whenever a user chooses. Apple includes a semi-transparent arrow icon on the sliver of the video, indicating to the user that the content can be dragged back onto the main display.




Tapping the PIP window once will bring up three oversized, easy-to-press buttons allowing the user to return the video to its original location, play or pause the clip, or close it completely.

Picture in Picture works in any video viewable within Safari, as well as Apple's own native Videos app. Any third-party application using the standard iOS playback controls can do Picture in Picture. The app must support Apple's tools for background playback in iOS.




However, applications using proprietary video players do not support PIP capabilities. That includes popular video playing apps such as YouTube and Netflix.

If a user plays other media while Picture in Picture is enabled, such as a song or another video, the PIP video will automatically pause. Replaying the PIP video will pause the other media accordingly as well.