Using the Picture-in-Picture API

If you want to see the Picture-in-Picture in action, here's a CodePen link to try it out.

Picture-in-Picture allows users to pop a video out into a floating window that always stays on top of others windows, so that they can keep watching it, while interacting with other sites, or applications.

With the Picture-in-Picture API, developers can control Picture-in-Picture for video elements on websites.

For better specificity and in a real world example, I recommend sticking with getElementById() but in this example querySelectorAl() works fine.

const video = document.querySelectorAll("video")[0];
const button = document.querySelector("button");

Feature Detection

Because Picture-in-Picture isn't fully supported and some browsers handle implementation differently, it's a great idea to check that the API is in fact supported in the user's browser.

We can then hide or disable the video button if Picture in Picture is not supported.

button.hidden =
  !document.pictureInPictureEnabled || video.disablePictureInPicture;

Entering Picture-in-Picture

To enter Picture-in-Picture, we first need to respond to a user's click, so we'll wrap our code around an addEventListener that listens for a click on the button element.

Inside the event listener, we call requestPictureInPicture() on the video element, however we don't just stop there. requestPictureInPicture() returns a promise, so in case the video fails to go into Picture-in-Picture mode, we can catch that error, and either perform another action or log the error to the console.

video.requestPictureInPicture().catch(error => {
  // Video failed to enter Picture-in-Picture mode.

Leaving Picture-in-Picture

Because we also want to handle leaving Picture-in-Picture mode, we're going to wrap our code inside the event listener with an if statement. If there is no element in Picture-in-Picture mode yet, we can go ahead and request it, otherwise if there is an element in Picture-in-Picture mode and we click the button, we'll want to exit Picture-in-Picture mode.

To actually handle leaving Picture-in-Picture, we call document.exitPictureInPicture() and add on a catch block to capture any errors that may occur, and log them out to the user.

button.addEventListener("click", () => {
  if (!document.pictureInPictureElement) {
    video.requestPictureInPicture().catch(error => {
      // Video failed to enter Picture-in-Picture mode.
  } else {
    document.exitPictureInPicture().catch(error => {
      // Video failed to leave Picture-in-Picture mode.

Listening to Picture-in-Picture Events

Because there are many ways a browser may allow users to enter and exit Picture-in-Picture mode, we're given two events that detect these changes: enterpictureinpicture and leavepictureinpicture. With these events, we could update the text on the button depending on whether the user is in Picture-in-Picture mode or not.

video.addEventListener("enterpictureinpicture", event => {
  // Video entered Picture-in-Picture.
  button.textContent = "Leave Picture-in-Picture";

video.addEventListener("leavepictureinpicture", event => {
  // Video left Picture-in-Picture.
  button.textContext = "Enter Picture-in-Picture";

Browser Support

Picture-in-Picture API is currently sitting at 29.31% as of this writing. While it's supported mainly by popular browsers, these browsers may each handle the implementation a little different.


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