Picture-in-picture was one of the most hyped features of Android 8.0 Oreo, and even today, it’s still one of the biggest additions that have been made to Android in recent times. If you’re not familiar with it, it allows you to keep watching videos currently playing from your browser or other apps while you’re doing something else. It has since become key functionality for apps like YouTube, which allows you to keep watching videos while on other apps. But since its introduction in 2017, it hasn’t really received any new refinements or improvements, but that might change now that Android 12 is around the corner.
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) February 18, 2021
Our deep dive into Android 12’s first Developer Preview has revealed that Google has added extra functionality to the picture-in-picture feature in Android 12, with two new improvements. The first of them is pinch-to-resize, which is pretty much what it sounds like: with two fingers, you can change the size of the window, making it bigger or smaller if necessary. The second of them is stashing, which allows you to hide a window away without completely closing it by stashing it to the side. None of these features are enabled by default, which isn’t really a surprise since both features are really rough around the edges right now.
There’s a lot of scenarios where you might want to use both of these features, so it definitely comes in handy that Google is adding them into Android 12. For example, maybe you’re watching something and need to make the video feed bigger to see something more closely, or maybe you’re hearing a video’s audio but the floating window is bothering what you’re doing on another app, so you just stash it away.
Right now, though, it is pretty janky, but that’s to be expected since we’re using a very early version of this operating system. Once Android 12 starts maturing over the next few months, we should be able to see it working better and more smoothly, or be scrapped completely.