The Benefits of Picture in Picture
Keeping a video on the screen is advantageous for a variety of reasons. You might be taking notes for a presentation, or you might just want to catch up on your favorite Netflix show while getting some work done.
Some websites have their own versions of Picture in Picture, but some of them are poor. When you use YouTube’s Picture in Picture feature, for example, the video vanishes as soon as you visit another website. This is no longer a problem if you use your browser’s Picture in Picture feature.
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How to Watch Picture in Picture in Safari
The built-in Safari browser on macOS makes watching Picture in Picture a breeze on most websites. Simply right-click or Ctrl+click on a video, then choose “Enter Picture in Picture” from the pop-up menu.
This opens a video window that you can move around on your desktop as needed. This window can be resized and moved around to suit your needs. If you use virtual desktops, it will even stay where you put it across multiple virtual desktops.
YouTube and Netflix
Not all websites are compatible with Safari’s built-in Picture in Picture feature. YouTube, for example, uses its own video menus, making Picture in Picture appear to be unavailable. Thankfully, this is not the case.
In Safari, you only need to Ctrl+click or right-click twice on a YouTube video. The first click brings up YouTube’s own menu, while the second brings up the regular Safari menu. Simply click “Enter Picture in Picture” once this appears, and you’re done.
When you right-click a video on Netflix, you don’t get a menu, so it’s a little trickier. Start watching the video instead. This step is crucial because you’ll need the speaker icon in the address bar, which won’t appear unless the video is playing.
To watch your Netflix video in a popover window, press Ctrl+click or right-click the speaker icon, then select “Enter Picture in Picture.”
The majority of video streaming sites will benefit from these techniques.
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How to Watch Picture in Picture in Chrome
Using Chrome for macOS to watch Picture in Picture isn’t as difficult as it once was. To watch a video on most websites, simply press Ctrl+click or right-click on it, then select “Picture in Picture.”
In Picture in Picture mode, you can also use the Media Control icon to watch videos. The Media Control icon, which resembles a musical note with three lines, should be selected. To begin watching, click the Picture in Picture icon (one rectangle inside another).
You can do the same thing with YouTube videos as you can with Safari: Command-click or right-click the video twice. It’s as simple as using the Media Control method outlined above for Netflix.
Chrome has all of this built in. We have a guide on how to set up Picture in Picture in Chrome with an extension to make it even easier to view pictures in pictures.
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How to Watch Picture in Picture in Firefox
In Picture in Picture mode, Firefox makes it simple to watch most videos. If it’s your first time using the feature, Firefox will make it even more obvious on YouTube and other sites’ videos. It’s as simple as clicking on the “Watch Picture in Picture” video overlay.
The icon becomes a more minimal icon with two squares and an arrow after you’ve used it. Simply hover your mouse over a video and click the icon to watch it in Picture in Picture mode. This works on YouTube and Netflix as well.
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What If Picture in Picture Isn’t Working?
Some websites actively work to prevent Picture in Picture mode from being used, especially if it is an option for paying subscribers. The PiPifier extension for Safari will enable Picture in Picture in some cases, but not always.
If the site allows it, you may be forced to use a pop-out window with certain sites. This isn’t a perfect solution, but it’s a step in the right direction. For sites like this, you can use the Helium app for macOS to open the site and watch the videos in a floating browser window.