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How to watch VLC player in Picture-in-picture mode on macOS

Picture-in-picture mode is quickly becoming a thing. YouTube and Chrome have it out of the box and on macOS, both Safari and iTunes have it too. Safari is a capable browser but it’s not a stand-in for media players and iTunes, as of 2019, is going the way of the dinosaurs. Media players haven’t really added Picture-in-picture mode as a feature. That said, if you want to watch VLC player in picture-in-picture mode, you can do so with Pipvid.

Pipvid is not a free app. It normally costs $7 but, at the time of writing, is available for $3.75. It has a trial version that allows you to watch VLC player in picture-in-picture mode for ten minutes.

VLC player Picture-in-Picture mode

Download, and install Pipvid. The app requires special accessibility permission in order to work and you need to have VLC player installed on your system as well.

Once you’ve given Pipvid permission, run it and it will run in the menu bar. Next, run VLC player and it will ask for accessibility permission as well. It needs this so that it can run in Picture-in-Picture mode.

The VLC player window, once it’s open, can be resized and positioned anywhere on your screen.

Pipvid works with VLC player and with QuickTime. While VLC player is one of the most popular media player apps available for Mac, Windows, and Linux, QuickTime is only available on macOS and no one likes it there. Pipvid is basically good for VLC player alone, and no other app. You might have a different app that you prefer to watch videos on, and for that app, Pipvid can do nothing.

If you’re watching media on a website, e.g., YouTube, and you don’t want to watch it in Safari, you can use Helium to watch it in picture-in-picture mode. Helium is a pretty great app but it works for browsers and not other apps.

macOS introduced Safari and iTunes’ picture-in-picture mode back in Sierra and since then, there have been two more major versions of the OS that have been released. The next one isn’t too far away. Despite that, the picture-in-picture mode is still restricted to just Safari and the soon-to-be-dead iTunes app. If anything, Apple should be able to make the feature more global given how much control is has over its desktop OS.

As for third-party apps, there’s no way to force them to support the feature so either Apple can enforce it or users will have to use paid apps like Pipvid to do the job.

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