In the past two months, we’ve seen the release of Android 8.0 Oreo and the developer preview for Android 8.1. An exciting feature introduced in the former was a brand new picture-in-picture mode. This feature allows apps that play video like YouTube to display a small window that played your videos on top of other apps when you hit the home button. It’s a nice alternative to Android’s multi-window mode that gives users a little more control over where the video actually shows up.
One of the problems with picture-in-picture mode up to this point is the lack of apps using it. In August, we reported that Google Maps was working on adding the feature. It looked to join Google apps like Google Chrome and YouTube, but there weren’t many other options beyond those. But, with the 8.1 developer preview, Netflix is now getting into the game.
To activate Netflix’s picture-in-picture mode, you’ll need to update to Android 8.1 (instructions here) and update your Netflix app to the latest version. Once both are updated, open up the app, select your video, then hit the home button. Once you do, a small window with your video will pop up on your screen. You can move it around so you can position it perfectly to watch the new Stranger Things episodes as you reply to work emails.
There’s no word yet on exactly why Netflix is allowing picture-in-picture on Android 8.1, but not Android 8.0. Android Police did some digging to confirm that this is an official feature and not happening by mistake. Whatever the case, we’re just happy it’s now working.
Android 8.1 is also bringing some nice quality of life changes like displaying Bluetooth battery levels and letting you disable those annoying “Apps running in the background” messages. We’ll keep digging into the 8.1 developer preview and bring you more.