Even when you’re using a phone, with its relatively small screen, being able to watch a video using picture-in-picture (PiP) can be very handy. You can have a music video playing while you’re checking your Twitter feed, or chat with a friend while watching a favorite movie. In iOS 14, Apple has now made it possible to use PiP on your iPhone or iPad — and using it is extremely simple.
As you’re watching a video, just swipe up to your home screen. The video will continue playing as you check your email, answer a text, or do whatever else you need to do. You can even make the video larger or smaller by using pinch to zoom, or you can swipe it completely out of the way. (It will continue playing; an arrow at the side of the screen will show you where you can swipe it back from.)
If you want to bring the video back to full-screen, just hit the “full screen” icon in the upper-right corner of the video. Close it completely by tapping the “x” in the upper-left corner.
Using PiP on an iPad works very similarly. You simply start your video and look for the PiP symbol (a box with an arrow pointing to a smaller box); if your iPad has a Home button, you can press that instead. You can then move the video around your screen, make it larger or smaller, and move it to a separate screen in the same way as you would with an iPhone. You can then use the “full screen” icon to expand it or the “x” to close it.
Not all apps will work with PiP. Gadget Hacks has a list of all the current (as far as they know) apps that support PiP on iOS 14, and it’s a pretty sure bet that the list will expand. Unfortunately, YouTube is not on that list.
But while you can’t use PiP with the YouTube app, you can use it with a web browser. For a short time, YouTube disabled the functionality for its free version; there were some kludges you could try, but officially, it didn’t work. Now, you can use PiP with YouTube on Safari, Chrome, and other browsers by simply expanding the YouTube video to full-screen and then either swiping up (as above) or tapping the PiP icon in the upper-left corner.