How to Use Picture In Picture Video Mode on iPad

Oct 15, 2015 - 7 Comments

Picture in Picture mode on iPad with FaceTime or a Video

Picture In Picture mode allows iPad users to open a floating video player or FaceTime chat that persists in a small overlay while doing other activities in iOS. For example, you could be working in Pages or drawing in Notes while watching your favorite sports team in a hovering player window with PiP, it works a bit like hovering a video or FaceTime call over some other application window on a desktop computer. This is a great multitasking feature for iPad users, and it’s easy to use.


To use Picture In Picture (PIP) mode for video or FaceTime, you’ll need iOS 9 or later, the rest is just a matter of accessing the feature in one of several ways. The two easiest are with the Home button or by manually sending a video or call into PIP mode.

Method 1: Enter Picture In Picture Mode from FaceTime or a Video Player

Perhaps the easiest way to enter into Picture In Picture mode is if you’re already in an active FaceTime video chat or watching a video in a compatible player app:

  1. With FaceTime video call active, or a video playing, press the Home button to shrink the video to the corner of the screen into Picture in Picture mode
  2. Open any other application as usual, the PIP video will stay in the corner

Picture in Picture mode of a video playing on iPad

Once the PIP video is playing, you can resize it or move it around to elsewhere on the screen by tapping and dragging. You can also tap once on the Picture In Picture video to see the video player controls, like pause and play, or hangup and mute for FaceTime.

Method 2: Entering Picture In Picture Mode from a Playing Video Manually

Another approach is to manually send a video or FaceTime chat into PIP mode:

  1. Start playing a video as usual from the web or a supported app, then tap to reveal the typical play / pause / volume controls
  2. Tap on the icon in the bottom corner that looks like a smaller box atop a larger box with a little arrow, this is the Picture In Picture icon and it will shrink the video into PIP mode

Picture in Picture mode on iPad

Keep in mind if you’re playing a Picture In Picture video from Safari, you must keep that Safari window / tab open, though of course you’re free to background it or use another app.

Escaping PIP mode is the same in either case, just tap on the video in Picture In Picture mode then tap again on the little overlapping square icon on the video.

Picture in Picture mode button iOS

Keep in mind that some apps do not yet support being sent into Picture In Picture mode, but viewing from Safari tends to always work. If you try to use PIP and the app crashes a good bet is to update the application to the latest version. Also, Picture in Picture requires an iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, and iPad mini 2 or later.

iPad with Picture in Picture mode

The video below from GottaBeMole demonstrates the PIP feature in use on an iPad to watch sports while playing a video game:

This is just one of several major multitasking features that has been introduced to recent versions of iOS that are exclusive to iPad, two other prominent multitasking features for iPad include split screen mode and slide-over. Due to screen size limitations, it’s unlikely these abilities will come to the iPhone or iPod touch anytime soon, even with the large display Plus iPhone.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, Tips & Tricks

7 Comments

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  1. Wharf Xanadu says:

    I don’t use my iPad anymore. Looks like a cool feature but will it work on all models?

  2. Phred says:

    I just tested it on my iPad 3. It is not supported on my iPhone 6+

  3. Phred says:

    Oh and yes it worked on the iPad mini 3.

  4. John Robinson says:

    Works great on my iPad Air. I use the iPad Air all day. Then watch wifi remote movies on it at night. Essential device now.

  5. hawaiian_al says:

    …aloha – you guys are great – thx for the tips now and forever(apple fan) – what version safari works with pip and side-by-side apps windows…

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