It’s now possible to leave the TikTok app and continue watching a livestream with picture-in-picture, or listen to an audio-only version.
A new TikTok feature makes it possible for users to continue watching or listening to livestreams after leaving the app, allowing them to use their phone as usual while enjoying content. The idea of watching videos or listening to audio while performing other tasks has been commonplace on traditional computers, but is relatively new to smartphones, especially iPhones. Google’s Android software was the first mobile operating system to introduce picture-in-picture (PIP), which transforms content into a floating window that can be positioned around other applications. It has continued to improve the feature in the years since, and similar ventures have made their way to the iPhone. Apple introduced operating system-level picture-in-picture support with iOS 14, which lets third-party app developers — like TikTok — make use of the feature.
TikTok, the social media site owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has kept adding features to the app despite immense success in the industry. The social media app was the most downloaded across all platforms globally in 2021, but has made pivotal changes to stay ahead. It changed the maximum length video from 60 seconds, to three minutes, to a surprising ten minutes with a 2022 update. TikTok has also collaborated with big names in media to allow users to make more engaging content. In March, the company partnered with Giphy to provide a vast library of GIFs with sound, including officially-licensed videos from movies and TV shows. The feature offered new ways to make vertical videos, but now the company has a new way to watch livestreams.
TikTok has added a picture-in-picture player and background audio player to its iOS and Android apps in a discreet menu, Twitter user and musician Jonah Manzano pointed out. The feature had not been widely promoted before it garnered social media attention, but offers immense possibilities for people who watch live videos on TikTok. While most of the app’s users stick to the more traditional short-form vertical videos on the site, it’s easy to become interested in livestreams on TikTok. The social media site routinely inserts live videos into users ‘For You’ pages, which increases their exposure. There’s a method to posting successfully on TikTok, and some people have mastered the art of shooting captivating livestreams.
How To Enable PIP On TikTok
Though the ability to watch and listen to TikTok livestreams outside of the app is available on both iPhone and Android, enabling the feature is different across the platforms. By default, the background player is not enabled, meaning that videos will stop playing as soon as a user leaves the application. In order to enable picture-in-picture, users will need to first open a livestream, which can be accessed by pressing the ‘Live‘ icon at the top-left corner of TikTok’s ‘For You’ page. On Android, simply pressing the ‘Share’ icon will open a menu with a slew of options, including ‘Background Player.’ In that menu, it’s possible to switch between using picture-in-picture, background audio, or turning the feature off entirely.
On iPhone, the process requires an extra step in the app. After opening a livestream and pressing the ‘Share‘ icon, users will need to press the ‘Settings’ toggle in the row of menu options. A switch will appear either enabling or disabling ‘Picture-in-Picture,’ which allows users to watch TikTok livestreams outside of the application. While there isn’t a setting to automatically hide the video stream while continuing to listen to audio, the native iOS picture-in-picture player can be hidden by swiping to the display’s edges. The picture-in-picture option for livestreams is a simple solution for multitasking while enjoying content, but it’s quick to leave users wanting a similar option for regular TikTok videos.
Source: Jonah Manzano/Twitter
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