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Picture in Picture mode is here [Diving into Android O]

Google's Picture-in-Picture mode has finally made its way to Android. While the current version is very buggy, it's a good sign of things to come.

Published onMay 18, 2017

Picture-in-Picture mode is a feature that many of us have been waiting for for ages now. The feature enables a level of multitasking that many of us have only dreamed of achieving, and Android O promised to introduce the feature by the time the final version made its way to the mainstream. Google has just released Android O developer preview 2, and it looks like we’ve got an early beta version for everyone to test out and enjoy.

While this implementation is incredibly janky, it still technically works, and it’s nice that we essentially have a workaround to YouTube closing when you switch apps. PiP mode only works with a select number of apps at the moment, but we’re sure it will work with just about everything once it is finally released in the official version of Android O.

To enable the setting, find your way to the settings options via the new gear location in the notification tray. From here, select System, then System UI Tuner. You would think that you would select the Picture-in-Picture option from here, but you’re actually going to want to select ‘Navigation Bar’ instead. From here, there’s a very specific process you’ll need too follow:

  1. Change the ‘Extra Button Type’ to ‘Keycode’
  2. Put in the Keycode value of ‘171’
  3. Choose an icon to use (I used the circle)

If you enter the System UI Tuner menu, you’ll be able to toggle on an option to automatically minimize your picture-in-picture window by flinging it to the corner or side of your display. This is totally optional, but is an interesting feature to have.

Now, when you have an app open you can select this extra button and it will automatically convert your current window into a small movable picture-in-picture window. While this Picture-in-Picture option won’t work for all apps, it will work fine for things like YouTube and Chrome. The scaling turned out pretty badly for me when I was testing it, but we have to remember that this is a developer preview, and we’re hoping it works more naturally in the full release.

Excited about the new feature? What’s your favorite new thing about Android O so far? Let us know in the comments below. Also be sure to check out the rest of the Diving into Android O series.

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