Thanks to its true multitasking capabilities, there are quite a few Android apps that are not restricted to one particular region of the OS and actually ‘float’ system-wide. Apart from the Facebook Chat Heads feature that got a lot of attention, a couple very fine examples would be floating video players Super Video and Popcorn Player, that let you view videos in a persistent, resizable panel. You can enjoy a similar experience on iOS if your iDevice is jailbroken. Case in point: VideoPane, a new Cydia tweak by Ryan Petrich that lets you create a floating window out of any video being played. This detachable pane can be dragged around to different parts of the screen, works on the SpringBoard, and is even functional inside other apps, bringing a taste of real multitasking to iPhone.
VideoPane is really unobtrusive and does not add any new buttons for detaching video windows. There are two ways of going about using the tweak. If you intend to use the floating window feature for most videos, the tweak is ready to be used as soon as you install it.
By defauly, VideoPane displays a notification asking users whether they want to detach a video, or continue viewing it in normal mode. If you want to avoid this, head to the Settings app and navigate to the VideoPane menu. Since the tweak has been developed by Ryan Petrich, it is not surprising to see that it ties in pretty nicely with Activator. You can assign any Activator gesture to VideoPane, which makes it easy to detach a video window whenever required. In the configuration menu, there is also an option to restrict the detachment to landscape mode only.
Once a video has been successfully detached from the source app, you are free to exit the app and navigate to anywhere else in the OS. The floating window has a close button, and tapping it once pauses/resumes the video. If you want to switch to full-screen, hit the arrow icon located in the bottom-right corner of the pane. The window’s position can be changed by simply dragging it around. VideoPane does not display the floating window over the lock screen, though the audio continues to stream in the background.
VideoPane is available in the BigBoss repo of the Cydia store, and costs $1.99. If any tweak deserves your two dollars, it is VideoPane, so head straight to the jailbreak store and give it a go.