Elias Pelcastre

I watched a full episode on BBC iPlayer while multitasking on iOS 9


BBC iPlayer is one of the first TV apps to support Picture in Picture (PIP) on Apple devices thanks to iOS 9’s ability to play videos in a corner while performing something else in the background.

Safari was the only app to let users watch videos while multitasking. But now, BBC is one of the first TV providers to step up to the plate and offer PIP reruns on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

I tried BBC iPlayer’s PIP feature to see how well the experience flows. As I told you yesterday, you can use the app outside the UK; you can find out more about how to do it here.

The show of my choosing was The Great British Bake Off, which I used to watch while lived in the UK. As I’m using a VPN to trick the BBC into thinking I’m in said country, the “Victorian” episode paused at times, maybe because of my internet and tunneling connections.

I’m watching the episode while writing this article, and can say the experience was a rather smooth one. To activate the PIP feature, you just need to tap the Home button once inside iPlayer and exit the app with another Home button tap.

You can move the player around if it blocks your view by dragging the box from corner to corner (the player won’t stay in the middle, although it sits on the keyboard.) I didn’t notice a dramatical battery decrease while jumping in and out of the Notes app to check Safari while the video played on the right corner.

But I have to admit that the image froze when I performed certain actions, as the show displayed cut and pixelated images. And I found a bug that affected iPlayer’s PIP: if I opened the BBC’s on-demand app, The Great British Bake Off Victorian episode started playing right from the beginning.

The problem didn’t happen every single time I launched iPlayer, but it was annoying enough to have the video replay from the start and to fast-forward until I found the point where I left off.

In general, PIP works great if you are using one background app and not doing anything too attention-demanding – to be honest, I didn’t fully understand the episode I was watching.

Hopefully the BBC, and services that follow, like Netflix or Google’s official YouTube app, find a way to make the multitasking Picture in Picture feature flow better.

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