Quick Tip: Using Picture-in-Picture on an iPad

 
A purple- and green-striped background behind a white banner with black text and the Dandy Cat Design logo serving as the main image for this blog post.
 

Is there a person out in the world that doesn’t enjoy a great afternoon spent watching their new favorite show on Netflix?

I wouldn’t say that those who don’t are monsters, but I know I enjoy catching up on my shows every chance I can get. However, that doesn’t mean I always have a nice TV in front of me.

What’s a person to do when they need to work on a project, but they’ve got to catch up on the show they’re halfway through? Or perhaps a more responsible question is, what do you do when you’re working on a project and need to watch a video that can help you with what you’re working on?

Picture-in-picture, that’s how!

Picture-in-picture has been around for ages. TVs have been able to do it for a long time. Most “traditional” computers have been able to do it for a while. Despite its age, being able to put a small box of content in a corner is still a useful tool.

Since iOS 9, iPads have also been able to make use of picture-in-picture and it... is... wonderful.

iPad Picture-in-Picture

Starting a picture-in-picture session on an iPad couldn’t be simpler. That’s no surprise. It is an Apple device, after all.

There is a caveat, though. While the iPad is capable of doing picture-in-picture, not all services/apps allow the iPad to do it. Most notably, YouTube. Sigh. It’s disappointing, but not surprising. Google has long placed Apple devices low on its list of things they care about.

But that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying this feature, so let’s get into it. We’ll use Netflix as an example.

 
 
  1. Open up the Netflix app.
  2. Start playing whatever TV show or movie you want to watch.
  3. On newer iPad Pros (released in 2018 and without a Home button), swipe up from the bottom of the screen as if you were going to close the app. On iPads with a Home button, press the Home button.

A three step process? Oh yes, it really is as easy as that.

You can reposition the mini window to any corner of the screen, as well as pinching it to increase or decrease the size of the window. The player also has three control buttons: one to return the mini window back to its full size, one to play/pause the video, and one to stop the video entirely.


At this point for most things, Apple has our collective backs on whatever we might need to complete our work with joy. There are still some features that need to be added if they want the iPad to truly be a “laptop killer,” but it’s not far off now.

I’ve evangelized the iPad for a long time (and I have no plans to stop) because I truly believe this device is capable of nearly anything a “traditional” computer can do.

The picture-in-picture feature is just one more reason why an iPad can become the productivity beast you’ve long been hoping for. Give the feature a try.

Enjoy your viewing, cats.