The main essence of the picture-in-picture (PIP) mode is to be able to watch a video seamlessly while multitasking. PIP has been introduced in almost all mobile devices now including iPhone and iPad. In fact, WhatsApp supports PIP mode if you share a YouTube video. Usually, the case is, the bigger the screen the more you multitask but then why is macOS still missing out on this useful feature in macOS Catalina?
Thankfully, there are a couple of legitimate solutions to get PiP on Mac, using both, the traditional browser extensions and third-party apps. And yes, they support all popular website such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and YouTube. So, let’s check them out. Shall we?
Enable Picture-in-Picture Mode on Your Mac
Method 1: Browser Extensions
While I would love to get Netflix app for Mac, the truth is, most of the streaming services still offer only the web version of the service, and you have no choice but to use a browser. Extensions and add-ons have always been a strong arm for web browsers. One utility amongst all is enabling PIP mode for your browser windows.
Piper is your key to unlock picture-in-picture mode on Safari browser. The best part about the extension is being natively available on the macOS App Store and its seamless integration with almost all video streaming services like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Videos, etc.
To use Piper on your Safari browser, download the app from the macOS App Store and install it. Post installation you’ll need to activate the extension from Menu bar > Safari > Preferences > Extensions > Piper and check the box.
Once the extension is installed and activated it will automatically sync with all online media players in your browser. The extension does not show up on browser dash-board like other extensions but directly communicates with the media player where you can see the Piper shortcut on the bottom right corner.
Simply click on the icon and a small window will pop-up playing your video. The window is by default set to float on either of the edges of your screen which means if you drag it to a corner it will automatically align and adjust itself. The floating window is also set to be always on top so you work on your emails while the video plays in a corner.
Google Chrome Browser
Google Chrome has recently introduced its own version of picture-in-picture mode extension which is available on all chromium browsers now. The extension can be downloaded from the Chrome web store. Like any other chrome extension, you can see an icon right next to the address bar on your browser.
All you have to do is press the icon and the video on your current browser window will pop-up separately. The window is, of course, a floating window programmed to be always on top but can additionally be resized and placed anywhere on the screen, unlike the Safari browser extension.
Method 2: Third-party app
No there’s nothing wrong with the name, nor has been the app updated. I know the Helium app is crawling the internet if you search for picture-in-picture mode for Mac which is nothing but a browser window that floats on your screen. So, I decided to struggle a bit and found another similar yet better app, HeliumLift.
Unlike the regular Helium app, HeliumLift has a bit of an interface of itself which provides shortcuts for your favorite streaming services. The browser window remains on top of all other windows and is a floating window, of course, so it can be dragged around anywhere on your screen.
HeliumLift is also better than the Helium app in terms of shortcuts and ease of access. The HeliumLift icon sits on your Mac’s menu bar and is accessible from any window. You can see the options like the dashboard, show/hide app, and open URL from the menu bar icon. All the options have convenient shortcuts while the app is in use so you won’t have to always access the menu bar.
I might have either given you what you wanted and will love while working on a boring document, or I might have done just the thing that would piss-off your boss. Any which way, these are the best available options to enable picture-in-picture mode on your Mac. Browser extensions work just fine but if you are in a situation where you might have to suddenly hide the PIP window, you must go ahead with HeliumLift. Let me know your choice and experience in the comments below.