Elias Pelcastre

You can use picture in picture on your Mac thanks to this app

OS X El Capitan brought iOS´s Split View to the Mac. But Apple forgot to enable one of the iPad’s most useful features, picture in picture (PIP).

PIP enables you to play a video in the corner while you perform different tasks. That means you can watch a video from Safari in one of the screen’s four corners while replying to an iMessage text in the background.

You don’t have to wait until a new OS X itineration brings PIP. You can try the feature right now thanks to a new app for Mac.


Helium, available for free, lets you watch videos in the background while using your Mac as you would normally. Now you can play YouTube or Vevo when browsing on Safari or editing a document on Pages without losing sight of what you´re watching.

The best thing about Helium is that you are not constrained to watch a video in one of the screen´s four edges. You can move helium’s window to the middle, bottom or any part of the screen you like.

All you have to do to start watching a video while multitasking is to tap on the “Location” tab in Helium’s top menu. Click on “Open Web URL” and type YouTube or Vevo’s web address; you can also add any feed that hosts video, or indeed the link to an online video, or a file from your computer.


Both YouTube and Vevo include a search bar in Helium, so you don’t need to insert an individual link for every video you want to watch.

Helium works great, although the image may jump a bit when performing demanding tasks or switching between things in the background. (Helium gets in the way sometimes, and there´s no close button other than the one in the menu bar.) Still, the app puts an end to the misery of watching, or better said, “hearing” in the background, videos and multitasking.

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