The modality “Picture in picture” has long been available for many devices except the Apple Mac. If you don’t already know what it is, it’s a mode that lets you play a video (or any other content for that matter) in a window that floats above the windows of your existing apps. You can watch your favorite videos while working with other apps on your machine.
When Apple announced macOS Sierra, things changed. They introduced the modality “picture in picture” with this version of macOS. So, if you happen to be running at least macOS Sierra, you can use PiP mode and watch your favorite cartoons, TED talk, or any other video while you work.
Unlike many other features, you cannot activate this mode from System Preferences or any other panel on your Mac. Instead, you will need to follow a specific procedure to use the mode with your favorite service on your machine. Fortunately, it’s easy enough.
We have also created a short video on our YouTube channel where we show you how to watch Youtube in Picture-in-Picture mode in Safari and Chrome:
Use the mode “Picture in Picture” for YouTube videos
If there’s one thing I’d like to enable the mode on first, it’s YouTube. With millions of videos available on the platform, it has pretty much any video you’d want to watch in a mobile browser on your Mac. Enabling PiP mode on this platform is just a matter of a few clicks.
To get started, go to YouTube and play the video you want to use PiP mode with. When the video page opens and the video starts playing, right-click on the video but don’t select anything from the menu that pops up on the screen.
Right-click again in any blank area of the video and you will see a new menu on the screen. To select Picture in picture from this menu. The video will detach from the screen and appear as a floating window.
You can drag the video and place it on any part of the screen so that it fits well with the other apps you are working on. You can even resize the window by hovering the cursor over the corners of the window and dragging the corners outwards.
To disable the mode, simply click on the icon that appears in the lower right corner of the video window. You will return to the YouTube site.
Use the mode “Picture in Picture” for Vimeo videos
Unlike YouTube, Vimeo doesn’t offer the ability to enable PiP mode by right-clicking on a video. However, the option is available if you use the Safari browser to access the site.
If you are willing to change your browser from Chrome or any other browser to Safari, you have the option to use PiP mode for Vimeo videos. The following is how it works in Safari on a Mac.
Launch Safari on your Mac and go to the Vimeo website. Search and play a video.
As soon as the video starts playing, you will find an icon for PiP mode in the lower right corner of the video. Click on it and it will turn the video into a floating window for you.
When you are done watching the video, click on the icon in the video window and the mobile browser will close and take you back to the Vimeo website.
Watch Netflix in mode “Picture in Picture” on Mac
If you were unable to finish your favorite series on Netflix because you were overloaded with work, you can now watch the series in a floating window and continue with the work.
To get started, you need to install a Safari extension from the App Store. Unfortunately, Netflix isn’t one of the sites that natively support macOS PiP mode, so you’ll need to use a third-party extension.
Go to the Mac App Store and download and install the PiPifier extension on your Mac. Launch the app once installed, even if there is nothing you need to configure in the app. Move on to the next step to find out how to use the app with Safari.
Launch Safari on your Mac, click Safari top menu, select Preferencesand then go to Extensions form.
Select the checkbox next to PiPifier button.
Go to Netflix and log into your account if you aren’t already. Play the video of your choice, pause it, and then play it again. You must interact with the video at least once for the PiPifier extension to work.
Then click the extension icon located at the top and your video will exit the current Safari window.
Watch iTunes videos in a floating window
iTunes was created by Apple, so it goes without saying that it will natively support macOS picture mode picture mode. Enabling the mode in the app takes just one click and here’s how to do it.
Launch iTunes and select and play any of your videos. When the video starts playing, you will notice a small icon with an arrow in the lower right corner of the video.
Click on it and your video will play above the app windows.
Play local videos and videos from other sites in PiP mode
If you have your videos stored locally on your Mac and they haven’t been added to iTunes yet, you can still play them in a floating window on your computer.
To perform the task, you can use an app called Helium which allows you to play local files and websites in floating windows on your Mac.
Get the app installed from the Mac App Store on your computer. Launch the app, click Position at the top and choose one of the two available options:
- Open web URL – will allow you to open a website in a floating window
- Open the file – will allow you to open a local file stored on your Mac