iOS 9 brought amazing features for the iPad. Split View and Slide Over are much-needed features for anyone who wants to be productive on the iPad. But there was one feature that got me really excited, and if you use iPad as a media and news consumption device, you’ll understand why.
iOS 9 introduced a Picture-in-Picture (PIP) mode. Yes, it’s not innovative, and it’s been a part of the TV experience for ages. But now, you can finally watch that football match while scrolling through your Twitter timeline or your email.
Or can you? While PIP mode works when you’re using the Videos app, it doesn’t work at all in the YouTube app where we spend the most time watching videos. The problem is that a Picture-in-Picture mode takes the control away from the app’s publisher and gives it to Apple. So my hopes of YouTube actually integrating this feature are really low.
But that can’t stop you from getting some YouTube PIP action, thanks to third-party apps and some very clever workaround.
1. Third Party Apps Like YouPlayer and ProTube
While third-party YouTube apps on iOS are limited in features compared to the official app, they give you a lot more control over the entire process. If you like the idea of controlling the quality of video, and you’re peculiar about how your subscription feed is sorted, or you want to listen to YouTube videos in the background, you’re actually better off using a third-party YouTube app.
The best part? They support PIP mode by default.
Currently, the best way of doing that is either YouPlayer or ProTube. In my opinion, ProTube is a better-designed app, though it’s a paid app ($2.99).
YouPlayer, on the other hand, has some design quirks, but you can get in for free with ads or can pay $1.99 to disable ads.
Here’s how to get PIP working in YouPlayer.
Once you’ve searched for a video and started playing it, you’ll see a PIP icon, right next to the full-screen button. It’s the icon highlighted in the screenshot below.
When you tap that, you’ll be taken to the homescreen with the video playing in a little window. You can resize this window by using pinch-to-zoom inside the video area. The video player has 3 buttons. You can pause the video, exit PIP mode or just close the window.
This is a floating window. So feel free to throw it around wherever you want. You can even keep the window so that it’s almost invisible.
If you’re too attached to the YouTube app, but you still want to view some videos in PIP mode now and then, CornerTube is the best way to do it. It costs $2.99.
CornerTube uses some clever hacks to quickly get you from a video playing in the YouTube app to the video playing via CornerTube in PIP mode (using the native iOS video player).
Once CornerTube is installed, you can enable its extension and the Notification Center widget. Share any video from YouTube to CornerTube (or a YouTube video link from any app), and it will play in PIP mode. This right here is the best thing about CornerTube. You can also open the app and search for videos from the app.
For me, iPad is a great media consumption device. I love scrolling through Twitter, catching up on RSS with Reeder 2, watching YouTube videos and Netflix. How do you use your iPad as a media powerhouse? Share with us in the comments below.