How to Use PIP From an iPhone
By John Lister
Picture-in-picture shows two images or videos simultaneously, usually with one image taking up the bulk of the screen and the other either displayed in a smaller size in a corner or overlaid on the main image. The iPhone itself does not support PIP for two different applications because the operating system does not support true multitasking, but instead "suspends" applications in the background so you can return to them without losing data. However, several iPhone applications incorporate some form of PIP technology.
A form of PIP is available in version 2.0 of Google's YouTube app. Note that this is the newer YouTube application that you must download from the App Store, not the older version that came preinstalled on some iPhones. Whenever you watch a video on the app, you can swipe downward on the screen to reduce the video display to the bottom-right corner. This lets you browse and search other clips and adjust playlists while still watching the video. Swiping to the left from the video brings it back to full-screen mode.
The free PIP Camera app lets you combine two images into one. What makes it a "true" PIP tool is that it does not work solely with pictures already in your camera roll (photo library). Instead, you can combine existing photos with ones that you take using the app. As well as simply putting the overlaid image in a rectangular window, the app allows special effects, such as displaying the overlaid image inside a bubble.
The free Eye Report app enables you to create picture-in-picture video. After you have installed and opened the app, you simply tap a "Record" button to shoot a video as normal from the rear camera. When you've finished recording, you can then shoot a new video using the front camera, which is overlaid in the corner of the first footage. When you're finished, the app combines the two recordings into one video. A suggested use for the app is to film some footage (for example, a demonstration march) and then film yourself giving a commentary on the footage, creating a news video.
VideoPane is a tool that is only available for jailbroken iPhones. After you have installed VideoPane, you see a new button whenever you play a video through an application such as YouTube or Netflix. Pressing this button "detaches" the video and begins playing it in a small window that you can move around the screen while still being able to access the rest of your phone in the background. It's even possible to have two or more videos playing simultaneously in this way, though this is limited by your phone's processing power. Note that although jailbreaking is legal, it invalidates your iPhone's warranty and may increase the risk of performance or security problems.
A professional writer since 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, John Lister ran the press department for the Plain English Campaign until 2005. He then worked as a freelance writer with credits including national newspapers, magazines and online work. He specializes in technology and communications.