WhatsApp for Android has been updated with an enhanced Picture-in-Picture (PiP) feature that allows users to watch videos in a pop-up window even while switching from one chat to another. It also continues to play the video on the floating window when WhatsApp is in the background. It's worth pointing out that WhatsApp for iPhone allowed users to play back videos while switching between conversations, something that Android has been missing for a while now. However, the fresh update brings the support to the Android app, while also introducing the new background playback functionality that isn't available on the iPhone. The update is initially available for testing purposes only and is a part of the WhatsApp beta programme.
The Picture-in-Picture feature is notably a part of WhatsApp for Android since December last year. However, up until now, the feature was enabling the playback of videos on the small, pop-up window only in individual chats and group conversations. This was unlike the experience on WhatsApp for iPhone that debuted back in January last year and was allowing users to continue watching a video in a pop-up window even while switching from one chat to another simultaneously. Therefore, the PiP experience on Android version of the app was drastically inferior to the one on WhatsApp for iPhone.
Nevertheless, the WhatsApp team is now apparently upgrading the original PiP feature on Android by allowing continuous playback of videos on the pop-up window when you switch between multiple chats or even when going back to the home screen of your Android device. The window will remain there to let you watch videos from sources such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube seamlessly.
As reported by WABetaInfo, the update to the PiP feature is a part of WhatsApp beta version 2.19.177 for Android. We were able to verify the upgraded Picture-in-Picture and background playback features existed in this version.
You can experience the change by downloading the latest WhatsApp beta for Android directly from the Google Play. Alternatively, its APK file is available for download through APK Mirror that can be sideloaded on your device.
We discussed what WhatsApp absolutely needs to do in 2019, on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.