PIP mode: what it is and how to activate it

Picture-in-Picture mode, PIP, allows you to use multiple apps at the same time and is available on latest generation smartphones and smart TVs.

One of the most interesting technologies of the moment is Picture-in-Picture, often abbreviated as PIP, a technique that allows you to use multiple apps at the same time. Specifically, it's a sophisticated video technique, with which you can leave a movie playing to write messages, read emails or open another app.

This mode is available on several Android smartphones, iPhone iOS and Smart TVs, compatible with apps like WhatsApp, YouTube, Netflix, Facebook and Google Maps. Here's how to make the best use of it.

What is PIP (Picture-in-Picture)

In recent years, the PIP feature, Picture-in-Picture, a technique whose meaning is "superimposed images", has appeared on the latest generation devices. In practice, it is a video playback mode, which allows you to display two windows at the same time, one main window open to the full screen and the other smaller, miniaturized, usually consisting of a small box located at the bottom right of the display.

The PIP mode is an innovative technology, with which you can follow a video event, while focusing the attention of users on a specific shot. For example, you can show your face in a window at the edge of the screen, while an event or video game is playing in the background. Initially used on radio and TV stations, during Formula 1 races and the Olympics, today this feature is available on Smart TVs and modern smartphones.

How to Enable Picture-in-Picture on Android

Until some time ago on the smartphone you could run one application at a time. If you wanted to read your emails, for example, you couldn't continue watching your favorite TV series or leave a YouTube video playing. Today, however, this is no longer the case, thanks to Android's Picture-in-Picture mode, available since version 8.0 Oreo released in 2017, present on models such as Samsung Galaxy M30, LG Q Note, Huawei Y7 Pro and Asus ZenFone Max Pro, but also on some of Apple's iOS iPhones and iPads.

To enable the feature on Android, for example by turning on Picture-in-Picture on Huawei P30, simply go inside the settings, following the App and Notifications> Advanced> Special Access> Picture-in-Picture path, selecting the desired app at this point and tapping the Allow Picture-in-Picture feature. The mode is only available on some apps, with geographical restrictions; in the United States, in fact, many apps already provide PIP mode, while in Italy only a few.

How to use the PIP feature with WhatsApp and YouTube

Since 2018 you can use Picture-in-Picture technology on WhatsApp, a useful feature that allows you to write messages to your contacts without interrupting video playback, present on both Android smartphones and iOS iPhones, including the desktop version WhatsApp Web. In this you can watch a newly received video, choosing whether to see it full screen or in thumbnail format, by tapping on the icon that depicts two small screens.

This mode is also present on other applications, in fact you can take advantage of the Picture-in-Picture function on YouTube Premium, while it is not yet available on the normal version, activated only in the United States with smartphones equipped with the Android Oreo operating system. One app that is compatible in Italy is Facebook, which offers native PIP functionality by updating the app, so you can leave a video playing while browsing the social network's wall, or using another compatible app.

How the PIP function works on Smart TVs and Apple TV

In addition to Android smartphones and iPhones, where Picture-in-Picture has already been present for a few years but with some limitations, today almost all Smart TVs have PIP mode, thanks to complex video editors and internal or external Multi-View systems, compatible with apps, DVDs and resources taken from the web. Currently you can find Picture-in-Picture functionality on Smart TVs from brands such as Samsung, LG, Vizio and Philips, so all you need to do is buy a suitable device and follow the setup procedure.

To enable PIP on your TV you just need to go into settings, select the Picture-in-Picture option, choose the inputs on which to enable it and confirm the operation. The best Smart TVs offer the PIP button directly on the remote control, so in such cases you just need to press the button and set the video playback to small window, opening other compatible applications. Similarly, the mode will soon be available on Apple TV, a real novelty coming this fall.

To use Picture-in-Picture technology on Apple TV you need the new operating system tvOS 13, released at the moment in beta version. The process is the same as successfully adopted by other Smart TVs, so you need to start a video on the screen and select the appropriate button on the remote control, to navigate unrestrictedly to other apps without freezing the playback, thanks to the miniaturization of the video window.