Technology

How to Use Picture in Picture (PiP) Video on an iPad

Picture in Picture is an iPad-multitasking feature that lets you watch a video (in a supported app), or conduct a FaceTime call in a small window while using another app. While powerful, figuring out how it works takes some practice. Here’s how to use it.

What Is Picture in Picture?

Picture in Picture (PiP) scales down a video or FaceTime call to a small movable window that stays in the corner of your screen while you use other apps. It is especially handy when you might need to reference a video while working, or in situations where you’d like to continue on a video call while using your iPad for other tasks.

Picture in Picture Window Example on iPad

Apple first introduced Picture in Picture alongside other iPad multitasking features in iOS 9, which launched in 2015. It’s available on iPad Pro or later, iPad (5th generation) or later, iPad Air 2 or later, and iPad mini 4 or later. All iPad models currently sold by Apple support Picture in Picture.

Not every video app supports Picture in Picture, but official Apple made apps like Facetime and Apple TV do. Several major streaming video apps (such as Netflix and Prime Video) support it as well. You can also play certain videos from Safari in Picture in Picture mode.

Third-party developers must specifically choose to support the feature for it to work properly. There is no master list of Picture in Picture supported apps, so you’ll have to use trial-and-error to see if your favorite video apps work with it.

How to Launch Picture in Picture on an iPad

To use Picture in Picture, first open an app that supports it. In some apps (such as Apple TV), you can easily launch Picture in Picture by tapping its icon, which looks like two overlapping rectangles with a diagonal arrow pointing down and to the right inside one of them.

Picture in Picture Button on iPad

In other apps, you can only launch Picture in Picture by returning to the Home screen.

To return to the Home screen, you can either press the Home button (on iPads with a Home button), or by using a Home screen gesture on iPads without a Home button. There are two gestures that return to the Home screen: perform a five-finger pinch on an app, or swipe upward from the bottom of the screen until the Home screen appears.

Once you launch Picture in Picture correctly, the video you are watching (or the video call you are participating in) will turn into a Picture in Picture window in the corner of your screen. You can then launch another app, and the Picture in Picture window will remain as an overlay on the screen.

Picuture in Picture Window Example on iPad

To reposition the Picture in Picture window, you can tap and drag it to any of the four corners of the screen.

Moving Picture in Picture Window on iPad

You can also resize the Picture in Picture window by performing the pinch/expand zoom gesture using two fingers. Place two fingers on the video pane and spread them apart or bring them together.

Resizing Picture in Picture Window on iPad

How to Use Picture in Picture Video Playback Controls

If you are playing a video using Picture in Picture (and not making a FaceTime call), tap the Picture in Picture window once to reveal three control buttons.

Picture in Picture Window Controls on iPad

From left to right, tapping on the first button makes the Picture in Picture video occupy the full screen of your iPad (ending Picture in Picture mode). The second button pauses or plays the Picture in Picture video. The third button (the “X” in a circle) closes the Picture in Picture window completely.

How to Use FaceTime Picture in Picture Controls

If you’re using FaceTime in Picture in Picture mode, you can tap the Picture in Picture window to reveal or hide three control buttons.

FaceTime Picture in Picture controls on iPad
Apple, Inc.

From left to right, tapping on the first button makes the FaceTime call occupy the full screen of your iPad. The second button ends the FaceTime call. The third button “pauses” your video feed, closing the Picture in Picture window but keeping the call open in the background as audio only. You can resume the video feed by tapping on the small green call logo in the status bar at the top of the screen.

How to Hide the Picture in Picture Window on iPad

To temporarily hide or minimize the Picture in Picture window, swipe it quickly toward the left or right edge of the screen (whichever edge is closest). It will turn into a small tab with a carat-style arrow on the edge of the screen.

Picture in Picture Window Minimized on iPad

To see the Picture in Picture window again, tap on the tab, and it will reappear nearby.

How to Close Picture in Picture on iPad

Once you’re done with Picture in Picture mode, you can get rid of the window by tapping on it once to see the on-screen controls. Then tap on the close button (which looks like an “X” in a circle), and the window will disappear.

Close Button in Picture in Picture Window Controls on iPad

If you’d like to close the FaceTime Picture in Picture window, tap on the window to reveal the control buttons. You can either return to full screen by tapping the Picture in Picture icon (on the far left), or tap the hang up icon (it looks like a phone handset in a circle) and the window will disappear.

Learn More About iPad Multitasking—or Disable It Completely

Multitasking features on the iPad can be quite useful if you get the hang of them. Because of the nuances of the gestures involved, they do take patience and practice to get just right.

But if you prefer to use the iPad as a single-task device, or you keep bringing up extra app windows or Picture in Picture by accident, you can easily turn off multitasking features in Settings.

About author

Steve Smith loves to help people online and that's why loves to write about topics that are currently trending or important. Follow him.
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