Picture-in-picture (PIP), a longtime feature of premium cable and satellite TV services, will make an appearance on Apple TV this fall when Apple releases tvOS 13 publicly, according to a report by 9t05Mac.com. Apple’s version of PIP will let you reduce the size of the video you’re currently watching to a small rectangle that will sit in the lower third of the screen. Once your show has been thus minimized, you will be able to surf for something better to watch, or perhaps something to keep you occupied while you’re watching your show.
The new feature apparently showed up in a developer release of tvOS 13, Apple’s next version of the Apple TV software that will bring with it several other features including a revamped Apple TV app, support for both PlayStation 4 DualShock and Microsoft Xbox One controllers, multi-user support, plus a refreshed Apple Music app that lets you see lyrics synced to the music.
Picture-in-picture will be limited to just the content within the Apple TV app, according to TechCrunch, which means that third-party video apps that live outside of the Apple TV app environment, like Netflix, won’t be able to be minimized using this feature. In some ways, this could be seen as an inducement to users to subscribe to third-party channels like HBO and Showtime within the TV app, instead of using the non-TV app option. If it is a TV app-only feature, it’s likely it will also show up on third-party smart TVs and the other devices that will support the Apple TV app.
There’s been speculation about the addition of PIP to Apple TV for years, and back in 2016, a developer actually integrated the feature into his own tvOS app to show just how easy it would be to do it. The feature has been added to more and more devices as both hardware and software matures and increases in processing power. It was added to the Android OS as of Oreo (Android 8), and Apple itself added the feature to iOS in version 9, starting with iPads.
There’s also the possibility that this feature may not actually be released at all. Sometimes items that appear in developer releases don’t make it all the way to general release, plus PIP was not among the features that were announced for tvOS 13 when Apple debuted the new software at its WWDC event in June.