With the introduction of iOS 14, picture-in-picture mode has also arrived on iPhones. Thanks to him, you can now watch a video while on Twitter or make a FaceTime call while reading an eBook. We know this feature from the iPadOS 13, but there are some interesting differences and new possibilities.
Using the picture-in-picture function, also referred to below as PiP (Picture in Picture), is simple. You start an app supported by the function on the iPhone, for example the TV app, and play a film or a series. If playback is running, simply exit the app as usual and switch to the springboard. You will see the video automatically appear on the edge of the screen and hover over the rest of the information. As an alternative method, you can use the PiP button in step 3, which is immediately to the right of the video close button.
There are several options for playback in PiP mode. You can change the size and position of the playback. The classic two-finger gesture for zooming in or out also works here above the playback window and allows you to choose from three different sizes. Another way to switch between sizes is to double-tap the playback window. In this way you can change the window size between small, medium, large and so on. To move the playback window, you can simply move it to the desired position. At the maximum size that takes up the entire screen in width, you can only choose between top or bottom, while with the medium or small size you can switch between the four corners of the screen. You can also drag the video to the far right or left side of the screen, where it continues in minimized view. Even if you don’t see the content like this, the sound will continue to play. A pause / resume button is available to control playback. It is also possible to fast forward and rewind in film content. A button to return to full screen mode is also included.
In addition to the TV app, you can of course also use other pre-installed apps (such as podcasts, Safari, iTunes or FaceTime), as well as apps from third-party providers that already support the PiP function on the iPad. In the case of a FaceTime call, the user of the iOS 14 device not only sees the person they are talking to when they move on the home screen themselves. Its video signal is also transmitted to the communication partner. The interactions for fast forward and rewind or a pause button are of course missing.
Even though Google introduced the picture-in-picture function earlier, the Apple version Android PiP could actually be superior. So users on Android smartphones can drag a PiP window anywhere on the screen. Parking at fixed positions or even on the edge of the screen in the “largely” hidden state is not possible on Android. The PiP window under Android is rather in the way and often a nuisance. The option to keep the audio playback after the video has been docked is extremely useful, especially for FaceTime calls. After all, users can continue to use their mobile phone fully while talking to the other person.
When zooming the playback window, the PiP mode of iOS 14 is also superior to how it works on current Android systems. Although users can zoom in on devices such as the OnePlus 8 Pro to enlarge a playback window a bit, the video will be opened in full screen at the latest when the zoom is next. A real “scaling” is also not possible with Android. It should be noted that all of these functions can be solved with customized software. Apple did not copy PiP from Android, but adapted and developed it in the way you need for professional handling.
However, Android offers something that iOS – at least in version 14 – cannot do, namely PiP when using Google Maps. It will be interesting to see whether Apple will be able to offer a similar feature here in future versions. (mb)