App Review: PiPer – Making Safari’s Picture-in-Picture Mode Even Better

In 2017, Apple released Safari version 10.  Among its many features was a little feature I was very excited to use called Picture-in-Picture (PiP for short).  This allowed us to take a video out of the tab we were watching and stick it in a little corner.  There the video would keep playing and stay on top of any other apps on screen so we could keep an eye on whatever we were watching while doing other work.  If you’re trying to watch a YouTube tutorial on how to do something on your computer, maybe trying to watch a game while working on another project, or for whatever reason you just want to make sure you have a chance to see what’s happening in a video while doing something else, this was the way to do it.

Here was the issue though, there were a number of sites where this didn’t work, and they weren’t small little no-name sites either.  Big ones like YouTube didn’t work out of the box, neither did Netflix.  And for some reason several of these still don’t work to this day, as if Apple forgot they added this feature in.  Fortunately there’s a way around this problem with the help of a Safari extension known as PiPer.

PiPer's page in the Mac App Store, with the icon in the top left, the Install/Open button in the top right, and 2 preview pictures at the bottom showing it in action and a number of major sites the app supports
PiPer’s page in the Mac App Store

PiPer is a free extension available from the Mac App Store.  To get it, open the Mac App Store and search for PiPer, or click the link at the bottom of this article.  Once it’s installed on your Mac, you need to enable it Safari by going to the Finder bar and hitting “Safari”, and then “Preferences”.

Picture of Safari's Extension Pane in the Preferences window
Picture of Safari’s Extension Pane in the Preferences window

A new window will pop up, and in there you’ll hit the “Extensions” section at the top of the window, towards the right side.  You’ll see a list of extensions on the left sidebar in alphabetical order, so you may need to scroll down to find it depending on the number of extensions you have installed.  Then hit the checkbox next to the name to enable it. NOTE: if Safari was opened already when you downloaded the extension from the App Store, you may need to close and reopen Safari to see the extension appear.

And that’s pretty much all there is to it.  Now sites like YouTube, Twitch, Netflix, Plex, Disney+, and even Apple’s own TV+ now work in PiP (surprising that that one doesn’t work out of the box).  When you go to a video now, you’ll see a new PiP option in the hover-over controls.  It makes Safari’s PiP function work as natively with these sites as it does with all the ones Safari actually natively supports, and I’ve never had any other problems with it.  It should be noted to that PiPer also works in Chrome and can be found in Chrome’s own web store.

Dual pictures showing PiP button in a YouTube video in the top picture, and in the bottom picture no PiP logo when PiPer is disabled or not present. The PiP button sits at the far right past the AirPlay button but before the full screen button.
Comparison of the PiP logo in a YouTube video

PiPer is available from the Mac App Store for the Safari browser here:  https://apps.apple.com/us/app/piper/id1421915518?mt=12

It is also available for Chrome here:  https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/piper/jbjleapidaddpbncgofepljddfeoghkc

You can also checkout the GitHub for the project here:  https://github.com/amarcu5/PiPer

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