How to Fix the iPhone Picture-in-Picture Mode Not Working Issue

Picture-in-Picture (PiP) support was present on the iPad for years. But starting iOS 14, you also get PiP functionality on the iPhone. So finally, you can stop having to pause videos whenever you want to switch to another app. It works flawlessly for the most part and lets you quickly cycle between three different sizes.

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But just like with anything new, you may have issues getting Picture-in-Picture mode to work on the iPhone. There are several reasons why that may happen. So without any further ado, let’s go through relevant fixes that can help you get Picture-in-Picture up and running again.

Upgrade to iOS 14

Have you upgraded your iPhone to iOS 14? If you are still on iOS 13, you can’t use Picture-in-Picture mode. The stable release of iOS 14 is out, and you can install it immediately on any supported iPhone (starting from the iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus upward).

To check your current iOS version, head over to Settings > General > About. If you are still on an older version of iOS, head back to the previous screen, and then tap Software Update to upgrade your device to iOS 14.

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Even if you are on iOS 14, it’s worth installing any incremental updates, if available. That could help fix any bugs related to PiP.

Update Apps

Almost all native iPhone apps (Apple TV, Music, Podcasts, etc.) support Picture-in-Picture mode. Third-party video apps such as Netflix and Hulu also provide PiP functionality, but you will come across a fair share that don’t. For example, YouTube doesn’t (check below for a workaround, though).

Since Picture-in-Picture mode is very popular, most developers will surely incorporate it into their apps. So, your best bet is to keep updating any app that doesn’t support PiP yet. You may also want to check the release notes for an app whenever you see a new update listed within the App Store.

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To update the apps on your iPhone, long-press the App Store icon on the Home screen or App Library, and then tap Updates.

Turn On Automatic Picture-in-Picture Mode

Swiping up (or pressing the Home button) while playing a video within a PiP-supported app will automatically bring up the PiP video pane. If that doesn’t happen, make sure to switch the video to full-screen mode, and then swipe up (or press the Home button).

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No luck? Try checking your iPhone’s Picture-in-Picture settings. Head into Settings > General > Picture in Picture and make sure that the switch next to Start PiP Automatically is turned on.

Enable Picture-in-Picture Mode Manually

If your iPhone still doesn’t enter Picture-in-Picture mode while quitting to the Home screen, try bringing up the PiP page manually. While streaming video, switch the app to full-screen mode. Then, tap the tiny PiP icon to the upper-left corner of the screen, if visible.

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That should force the video into a PiP pane. You can then exit to the Home screen, and the video should continue playing in PiP mode.

YouTube – Watch in PiP with Safari

At the time of writing, YouTube does not support Picture-in-Picture mode. But rather than waiting for an update, you can use Safari to watch YouTube in PiP mode instead.

Hop over the YouTube web app, sign in with your Google Account (if you want to access your playlists and recommendations), and then load a video. Switch to full-screen mode and then exit to the Home screen.

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And voila! Enjoy YouTube in PiP mode. You can also try this with other apps that don’t support PiP mode as long as they have a web player you can access via Safari.

Offload and Reinstall App

If an issue is limited to an app that you know supports the functionality, try reinstalling it. You can either delete the app or offload it (we recommend the latter since you get to keep any downloaded videos on your iPhone).

Head over to Settings > General > iPhone Storage. Pick the app that you want to reinstall. Then, tap Offload App, and then tap Offload App again to confirm.

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Head into the Home screen or App Library — you should see the app listed with a cloud-shaped symbol next to its name. Simply tap the icon to start reinstalling it. Once it finishes, check if it plays videos in PiP mode.

Restart iPhone

Finally, it’s time to restart the iPhone. If you are reading this while still in the early phases of the iOS 14 stable release, you may be experiencing a glitch in the functionality. A reboot can help patch that up.

If your iPhone supports Face ID, press the Volume Up and Volume Down buttons in quick succession, and then hold down the Side button. That should bring up the Slide to Power Off prompt. On iPhone models with a Home button, you only have to hold down the Side button.

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Once your iPhone turns off, hold down the Side button again to restart it.

Start Watching

Hopefully, you are now watching videos in PiP mode without issues. Just remember that PiP won’t be available in every app just yet, so make sure to apply new updates whenever they hit the App Store.

Next up: iOS 14 introduced the App Library. Here are nine amazing tips and tricks that you can pull off with it.

Last updated on 02 February, 2022

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