Sometimes, you just want to watch a little Netflix while you trudge through spreadsheets on your laptop. If you don’t have enough room on your screen for work and TV, though, you can use picture-in-picture to overlay a small video on top of your browser—whether it’s Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
Sure, you could just drag out a tab and resize it to fit your needs, but picture-in-picture will always stay on top of your other windows, even when you’re doing something else. This feature makes it a bit easier to manage if you have limited screen real estate. Plus, it’s super fast to invoke when you need it. Here’s how to use it in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
Enable Picture-in-Picture in Google Chrome
Google has an early version of picture-in-picture built into its Chrome browser. When playing a video, right-click on it—you may need to right-click twice on certain sites, like YouTube—and select “Picture in Picture” from the menu. The video will pop out, overlaid atop your browser window, and you can click and drag from the corners to resize it.
This feature doesn’t work on every site, and it doesn’t yet work on Chromebooks. I couldn’t get it working on Netflix, Hulu, or HBO, for example. Thankfully, you can grab Google’s official Picture-in-Picture Chrome extension, which has much wider compatibility. After installing, visit a video and click the picture-in-picture button that appears in your toolbar (or press Alt+P on your keyboard). Easy as pie.
Android devices can use Chrome’s Picture-in-Picture capabilities by tapping the App Overview button. The video you are watching in Chrome (or any video app) will be minimized into the corner of the screen.
Enable Picture-in-Picture in Firefox
Firefox’s picture-in-picture mode is a new feature built into the browser, and it works well with all video sites. When watching a video, you’ll see a small blue button overlaid on the right side of the video. Click on it, and the video should pop right out.
You can resize it, drag it around, or pop it back into the browser with the click of a button. (You can also press Ctrl+Shift+] on your keyboard to pop it out, if you want.) If you aren’t using picture-in-picture and the blue button is too distracting, you can right-click on it to disable it on that video, or disable it permanently by heading to Options > Browsing.
Note that this feature was initially only released on the Windows version of Firefox, but will be added to macOS and Linux with version 72. The feature does not currently work on mobile devices.
Enable Picture-in-Picture in Safari
If you’re a Mac user browsing in Safari, you can enable picture-in-picture for a number of sites—it’s just a bit hidden. Some sites let you right-click the video player and choose picture-in-picture from the menu, but for the ones that don’t, right-click on the blue speaker icon that appears in Safari’s address bar. From there you can enter picture-in-picture mode.
You can move and resize the window; however, unlike other browsers, Safari doesn’t let you move the video anywhere. You can only place it in one of the four corners of your screen. It’s not ideal, but it does the trick in a pinch.
The iPad has some multitasking Picture-in-Picture capabilities with both Safari and Chrome, but the iPhone does not.
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