How to Enable Picture-in-Picture Mode in GNOME Shell

Picture-in-Picture (PiP) mode is a neat feature added to Windows 10 and macOS Sierra recently. Essentially it allows you to watch videos in a small window that is open at all times and doesn’t get buried under everything else that is on your screen.

This can be useful if you want to watch a talk on YouTube or live stream a sporting event while getting other stuff done simultaneously.

The PiP mode on other operating systems in quite limited in its functionality. Windows 10 (Creators Update) only supports PiP for Universal Windows Platform apps (UWP), while the macOS Sierra implementation seems to work only with Safari and web video at the moment.

For Linux users you can easily enable Picture-in-Picture mode in Gnome Shell, and it is not only useful for videos but just about any type of content you might be interested in.

You’ll need to install Window Corner Preview from the GNOME Extensions website. This extension allows you to place a floating, always-on-top preview of any open windows in any of the corners of your screen and watch it in real time. App developers don’t need to do anything at all.

As long as the window is open, even if it’s minimised, you will be able to see a live preview of it regardless of the workspace you’re on.

These are the steps to enable Picture-in-Picture mode in GNOME Shell.

1. Install the extension. A new monkey icon will be added to your top bar.

pip-gnome-install

2. Click the monkey icon and toggle the preview switch On.

pip-gnome-preview

3. Finally, select which window you’d like to preview from the “Windows” section.

pip-gnome-windows

That’s all it takes to add PiP mode to your Linux desktop.

You can easily control the size of the preview window by changing the value of “Monitor Zoom” in the extension submenu. Also, right-clicking the window changes its position to any one of the four corners of your screen.

If you want to watch a web video on Facebook, YouTube or any other website in this manner, the trick is to move the tab to its own window, make it fullscreen and, ideally, move it to another workspace, then select the window from the “Windows” section in the extension submenu.

To turn this preview window off, simply toggle the preview switch back off.

Let us know if this article was useful to you and, also, if you know how to get this same feature on other Linux desktops by sharing with us in the comments section below.

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