One of the first features I experimented with on the new macOS Sierra Public Beta was Picture-In-Picture (PIP). Apple has really hit their mark in the realm of video playback with PIP, but I honestly see users struggling with this on some smaller screen sizes. If you’re like me, you like to watch videos in full-screen mode or “Theater Mode.”
Recently, as I experienced a major display crash that led to my Early-2011 MacBook Pro 15″ struggling to boot, I’ve contemplated my device upgrade options. As you learn more about me, I’m not the kind of guy to walk into the Apple Store (or an Apple Authorized Retailer) and pay close to full price for a new computer. My MacBook Pro was purchased two years ago for $900 and included Adobe Photoshop CS6 (currently listed on Amazon for approximately $1,800), Final Cut Pro ($299.99), Logic Pro X ($199.99) and Microsoft Office 365 Suite ($229.95).
With that said, I looked at the MacBook, MacBook Air, and updated MacBook Pro models, as well as the Mac Mini. Portability is hard to negotiate away from for me, so I decided I would wait to purchase a Mac Mini later to use as a media server for my AirPlay devices. Obviously, the PIP feature will be great, regardless of which device you’re using.
For the purposes of this post, I am sharing my wife’s Early-2014 MacBook Air with an ASUS 27″ MX279 external display. Unless I’m using my Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad/Magic Mouse 2 with the lid of the MacBook Air closed, I use the built-in keyboard and display alongside the ASUS display. I have a new post coming soon, where I’ll review this monitor in depth.
To access PIP, you’ll find a new control in the bottom right of the video screen. By clicking this icon, the media player will activate PIP-mode. Once activated, you have minimal controls on screen, including an “X” to return to inline mode, Play/Pause and a secondary “Return” button to place the video back into the browser player. In my opinion, it’s quite redundant to have two controls for one action in the same window. Either way, clicking the “X” or “Return to Player” button will move the PIP video back into the browser.
One downside that I’ve experienced is that PIP only locks to a corner of the screen. Practically speaking, this makes sense but what if you have your Twitter app neatly placed on one side of your display and don’t want to overlap your Twitter feed with the PIP video? I’m very particular in this regard, so it may not present an issue for you, but it’s something that I’d like to see addressed by developers. Another issue is that you can’t scrub playback either way in PIP mode. In order to rewind or fast-forward, the PIP feed must be in the Safari browser window.
To end on a high note, your PIP video will remain on top of any existing applications, so you won’t struggle with losing visual of the video as you switch apps.
*As of this post, during the macOS Sierra Beta period, only Vimeo is confirmed to offer PIP. This post will be updated if Apple and its developers add API’s to other clients and sites to offer PIP.
Until next time, this is _techquest and we encourage you to share your experiences with the features we discuss here in the comments section or on Instagram and Twitter @_techquest