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How To: Use Picture-in-Picture Mode on Your iPhone in iOS 14 to Multitask While You Watch Videos

How To: Use Picture-in-Picture Mode on Your iPhone in iOS 14 to Multitask While You Watch Videos

Have you ever watched a video on your iPhone but wanted to look at something else real quick? In past iOS versions, you had to choose between pausing the video or waiting until it's over — not exactly ideal for a device that's supposed to help you multitask. Well, iOS 14 just fixed it, giving us picture-in-picture mode to watch and perform other on-screen tasks at the same time.

If you've ever watched a video in the YouTube app on your iPhone, you may be somewhat familiar with how picture-in-picture, also known as PiP, works. The app lets you watch videos in a small overlay while you browse the rest of YouTube; only the PiP window would not persist when switching apps or closing YouTube.

The system-wide PiP mode, which Apple is stylizing as "Picture in Picture," minimizes the video or movie you're watching into a small window that sits on top of other apps and other areas of iOS. While you browse the web, check your email, or perform thousands of different possible actions with your iPhone, you can continue watching the video via the small overlay.

Best of all, the PiP window is resizeable, so it can be as big or small as you need it. And you can move it around the screen in case it's obfuscating important information you can't see right away. It works almost as well as it does on the iPad, which has had the feature for years.

Step 1: Activate PiP Mode

Start by playing a video from your favorite streaming service or start a FaceTime video call. For a list of PiP-compatible apps in iOS 14, jump to the end of this article.

To activate PiP mode, swipe up while the video is playing to go to the home screen. You can also swipe up and use the app switcher to select another app. Either way, the video will transform into a small window with the video and audio playing. Just keep in mind that the video must be playing; if not, the PiP window won't appear.

How To: Use Picture-in-Picture Mode on Your iPhone in iOS 14 to Multitask While You Watch Videos

In some apps, you may see a PiP button in the controls. For instance, on some content in the Starz app, there's a button that looks like it's for PiP, only it doesn't do anything right now.

How To: Use Picture-in-Picture Mode on Your iPhone in iOS 14 to Multitask While You Watch Videos

You can use PiP in both landscape and portrait mode, but for either to work, the app you're using with the PiP window open must support landscape or portrait orientations. Also, while you can use other video apps while a PiP video is playing, as soon as you play the other video, the PiP video will pause or the window will close.

Step 2: Use the PiP Player Controls

Once activated, there are a few things you can do with PiP mode. First, you can tap the window to bring up a few on-window controls. From there, you can pause or resume play, close the video, or re-enter the full in-app view.

How To: Use Picture-in-Picture Mode on Your iPhone in iOS 14 to Multitask While You Watch Videos

Step 3: Resize the PiP Window

You can also resize it by either pinching or spreading the window. There is only two sizes, small and large (the default is large). You can also double-tap the window to jump between the two sizes as well.

How To: Use Picture-in-Picture Mode on Your iPhone in iOS 14 to Multitask While You Watch Videos

Step 4: Move the PiP Window

You can move it around by dragging the window around the screen. The large size can only be moved up and down in portrait while the smaller size can be moved into any of the four corners.

How To: Use Picture-in-Picture Mode on Your iPhone in iOS 14 to Multitask While You Watch Videos
How To: Use Picture-in-Picture Mode on Your iPhone in iOS 14 to Multitask While You Watch Videos

Step 5: Hide the PiP Window

You can also move the screen offscreen, allowing you to continue listening to audio without the video. This is helpful when your wireless carrier throttles you (or deprioritized your device).

How To: Use Picture-in-Picture Mode on Your iPhone in iOS 14 to Multitask While You Watch Videos

Apps That Support PiP Mode Right Now

Based on our testing, we found the following apps currently support PiP mode. Starz is not on the list despite it having a button in some videos since it doesn't work anyway.

  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Apple TV
  • FaceTime
  • HBO Max
  • Home
  • Hulu
  • iTunes
  • MLB
  • Netflix
  • NHL
  • Pocket
  • Podcasts
  • Showtime Anytime
  • Spectrum
  • YouTube (web app only)
  • Vudu
  • And any third-party app which supports it on iPadOS

A notable omission is the YouTube app, which has its own PiP player. While you wait for Google to add support, there are two ways to circumvent it. The first is to use a browser (we tested Chrome and Safari) and request the desktop site of YouTube. When you play a video, there will be PiP mode video along with the playback. Another way is to share the video with Pocket, then open Pocket and activate PiP mode.