Watch more Picture in Picture videos using Safari on the Apple Mac

How to use Picture in Picture in Safari on the Apple Mac to watch videos on YouTube and other sites.

Safari has a Picture in Picture mode that lets you place videos on the desktop. It doesn’t work for all videos, but the PiPifier Safari extension makes it work with almost everything.

What is Picture in Picture?

Normally streaming video content plays in the browser and you can watch videos on YouTube and other websites by going there in Safari and then selecting and playing a video.

There is a lot of clutter on the web page though, such as video thumbnails and links to related content, the video title, comments from people that have watched it and so on. It is messy and distracting.

One solution is to make the video full screen by clicking the appropriate button in the toolbar below the video - the last button on YouTube's toolbar for example. However, when videos are full screen, you cannot use the Mac for anything else. All you can do is watch the video.

Suppose you want to watch a video or listen to the music on a video while you work on something else. Full screen video mode won’t let you and keeping a Safari window open on the desktop leaves a lot of distracting clutter.

The solution is Picture in Picture and the video that is playing can be detached from the Safari browser window and placed on the desktop.

Picture in Picture button in Safari on the Apple Mac

Safari can then be minimised to the dock out of the way and other apps and windows can be opened. You can work on whatever you want while you watch the video in the corner of the screen. Here's what it looks like when you break out a video with Picture in Picture.

Picture in Picture mode on the Apple Mac lets you place videos on the desktop

This is a great feature for multitasking, or watching videos when you should be working!

  • The video window can be resized by dragging the corner or edge of the video window.
  • The video appears in the corner of the screen, but it can be clicked and dragged to any other corner.
  • Hold down the Command key while dragging the video and it can be placed anywhere on the screen.

Picture in Picture problems

The problem with Picture in Picture is that not all streaming videos support it. Browse around YouTube and other video sites and you will find that some videos have the Picture in Picture button, but others don’t. (On my MacBook I have to make the video full screen for the Picture in Picture button to appear, otherwise it is hidden.)

What can you do if your favourite video does not support Picture in Picture?

PiPifier Safari extension

PiPifier is a free extension (donations are optional) for Safari that makes almost all videos support Picture in Picture, which actually makes you wonder why Apple can’t build this into Safari.

I have not tried it with every video, obviously, but the half dozen or so I watched worked fine. With PiPifier disabled there was no Picture in Picture option, but when it was enabled, Picture in Picture worked ok and the video could be broken out of the browser onto the desktop. It is a clever and useful extension for Safari.

Install PiPifier in Safari

  1. Open Safari and click Safari, Safari Extensions
  2. Click the link near the top of the page, Go to the Mac App Store.
  3. Find PiPifier on the extensions page that is displayed and install it
  4. Quit Safari
  5. Open LaunchPad, run PiPifier and close it
  6. Open Safarii and go to Safari, Preferences, Extensions
  7. Enable PiPifier

It seems that new Safari extensions are being added to the Mac App Store rather than at the old extensions website we have used for years. This is probably so that extension developers can charge for them and you will see a few paid extensions there. PiPifier is free though.

Moving the extensions to the Store makes them a bit clunky to install. 

PiPifier extension for Safari on the Apple Mac

Go to YouTube or some other video streaming website and find a video that did not previously support Picture in Picture. It does now!

PiPifier adds a Picture in Picture button to website videos on the Apple Mac

The video above does not support Picture in Picture in Safari, but PiPifier has added a button to the end of the toolbar. Click it and the video pops out onto the desktop and you can watch it while running other apps.



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