Apple recently introduced the iOS 14 software during its completely online WWDC Event amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The newly announced software came with a lot of features and apple was subtly criticized for these “New” features that Android has already had for years. One of the prominent features that were inspired by Android was the Picture in Picture mode, a feature that we first saw on some Samsung smartphones before coming to Google’s Android OS by default.
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This feature is new to the iPhone, but it was already present on the iPad. While this option is completely new for millions of iPhone users worldwide, Android smartphone users have been using this feature to the fullest for a few years now. However, Apple has done a better job of implementing this feature in its latest operating system, and here is why we feel so.
The Picture in Picture mode allows you to watch a thumbnail size video play in the corner of your display while you can do other things on the phone. The video sticks around when you pop open a chat window, scroll through a website on a browser (Safari Only as of now), or browse through your Instagram feed so that you can continue to watch the video on your iPhone from any screen.
While Apple calls this feature as Picture in Picture, it is commonly known as picture-in-picture in the Android world or as PiP in short.
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Apple announced support for the Apple TV, Podcasts, Safari, FaceTime, iTunes, Home, and any other app that supported the same feature on the iPad. App developers can take advantage of the Picture in Picture will have to use Apple’s APIs for this feature. Picture in Picture mode is of great convenience no matter which phone you use it on.
When you start watching a video on a compatible app, if you open another app such as WhatsApp to reply to a text, or open your Mailing application to check for a mail when you swipe up to go to the Home, your video shrinks down and continues to play in a thumbnail view and this works even with the FaceTime video calls.
This thumbnail view is persistent which means that you can switch to any app that you want for as long as you want without the video disappearing. You can pinch to zoom on the video window, you can also simply drag it with your fingertip to move it around the display.
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If you feel distracted with picture in picture window, you can swipe it off to the side so that it docks in and disappears, you will be left with a tab that you can pull when you want it out again. While the video is hidden the audio continues to play even when you dock the video thumbnail out of view.
You can pause, go forward, and more on apps that support these controls in the picture in picture view. You can tap on a control on the window to go full screen or choose to close the video if you are done with the view.
The most important feature of the iOS 14 Picture in Picture mode was the docking feature, it caught a lot of people’s attention when Apple demonstrated this feature to the world. On Android smartphones, you can drag around the PiP window anywhere on the screen but if you move it to the edges it will bump back into the view and stay within the display. There were multiple times that users have ended up close the window because it was always in the way, iOS comes with a better implementation.
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Users don’t always want to close the video, the option to keep the audio playing when the video is docked is extremely useful, this can be especially helpful while making a FaceTime call so that you can use the entire display while still talking to the other person.