Android Oreo features you'll love: Picture-in-Picture mode

Android Oreo allows developers to build apps that launch in a new Picture-in-Picture (PiP) mode. PIP is a special kind of multi-window mode that's most commonly used for video playback. You might have PIP on your television or through your cable box. It's been available for Android TV since the release of Android Nougat, but Oreo brings it to every device that runs Android 8 or higher.

Apps that support PIP will have a setting to disable it for people who don't want it.

Using PIP is easy, though apps have to be updated and use some new code for it to work properly. We used the Duo app running on Google Pixels that has been updated to Android Oreo as our example. In the app's settings, you'll see an entry for Picture-in-Picture, and you toggle it on or off. Make sure it's enabled.

When in a Duo call, hitting the home button sends the Duo app to the background but leaves a small picture window of the video chat opens on your home screen. You can switch to another app and it stays there, but some games and other apps that shut everything else down will kill Duo completely. Other apps should behave the same way, and switching focus through the app switcher should bring the PIP window to the front.

You can move the window anywhere on the screen and the other party sees no interruption. A couple of taps makes the window larger, and you can use the app switcher to go back to full screen. The PIP window uses your phone's accelerometer so it can display in landscape or portrait, depending on how you've rotated your phone. Overall, it's really simple and works great!

PIP mode isn't automatic. Developers have some work to do.

Developers will have to do some work here. For starters, they have to make sure their app doesn't stop the video stream when the "paused" event is sent. This is different than what happens when you hit a pause button, it's about how apps run in the background.

Developers will also have to tell their app how to behave when it's put in PIP mode and make sure support for the new activity is added. While not too difficult, these changes mean we'll have to depend on developers who want to add the feature. Adoption of Oreo will be slow so that might not happen for a while.

We'll be on the lookout for apps that use Picture-in-Picture, and we hope you will be, too! As you come across them, be sure to give a shout-out in the comments below.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

27 Comments
  • Will the Nexus 6P get PIP on O?
  • Why wouldn't it ?
  • I've been on the Oreo beta for the last few months on a 6P and PIP has worked the whole time.
  • I have N6P running 8.0 but never try it yet.
  • Well good thing Samsung invested time to make these features so that Google can back them directly into the OS. MORE COWBELL PLEASE!
  • Well it's only fair since Google has already invested time and money creating Android for Samsung to build upon on.
  • I don't think you understand how androids core codebase is built up... It's a cumulative, contributive effort by a myriad of companies, including Samsung. And Samsung did not invent picture in picture... The feature predates smartphones by a number of years.
  • Actually the first consumer TV product to include PIP was an NEC set that only released in Japan - I know...I have one, I play my MSX on it :)
  • Thanks for backing my point up, and I'm genuinely surprised they both still work. The MSX Is about the same age as me lol.
  • No I meant it as a good thing. I am not saying that Google would not have baked these features, I am saying that it seems like Samsung is pushing Google to bake them in. I remember having PIP in like 1995.
  • but PiP costs 120$ a year for youtube and the rest of the apps dont work....junk google pr
  • Is that why it doesn't work on my Nexus 5x? I'm outside the US and youtube red doesn't work here. If that's the case, it's a massively deceptive "feature" available to only a small subset of users.
  • Thanks Jerry. It's pretty cool on my Pixel XL. Loving it. Keep it up Google!
  • Does anyone know how to get pip to work on the Nexus 6p?
  • Uninstall YouTube from play store> update YouTube> go to YouTube> play a video> click the home button. Worked for me. Hope that helps.
  • How many Android TV apps use PIP? How do I find them? They (Google) said it would be easy for app developers to make apps compatible with ATV, and they haven't even done much of that. I don't think the developers have any incentive to bring this feature to their apps. I agree, it's junk Google PR.
  • I use Google Maps and Digital Dashboard Pro or a speed camera app in Dual view mode with Nougat.
    I would prefer a full map view and a speedo or camera alert as a small PIP. I hope the developers envelope this, if possible. (my speedo is currently broken on my old jalopie)
  • Samsung did it with Galaxy S3, back in 2012!
  • And? Do you think that because of that Android should not bake it into the OS? This "xxxx did it first" stuff is more silliness.
  • Jerry I am confused now, after you finish the download the update of 8.0, go to the sitting and hit the software 8.0. You will orange circle hit it and you see Octopus not Oreo... So which one is the right one Octopus or the Oreo?
  • Bashes Samsung for loaded junk features.
    Praises Google for baking it in.
  • I cannot remember any bashing of Samsung for PiP. Junk features are usually the unnecessary duplications.
  • Loved it back in the day on my Note 3. About time garbage stock Android caught up
  • I'm in Thailand, just updated my Pixel XL to O yesterday, PIP not working. Wonder if Google restricted this feature to only in the US?
  • It doesn't work for me on either duo or YouTube. Using Pixel XL with Android 8.0. I can't even find the setting.
  • Uninstall YouTube from play store> update YouTube> go to YouTube> play a video> click the home button. Worked for me. Hope that helps.
  • It doesn't work on my Nexus 5x