The latest beta version of WhatsApp — build number 2.17.265 — received support for picture-in-picture video calls on smartphones and tablets running the latest developer preview of Android O, i.e. Android 8.0. The functionality takes advantage of the native picture-in-picture mode integration present in the latest major iteration of Google’s operating system, allowing you to simultaneously have a call with someone while you continue using the Facebook-owned instant messaging (IM) service. To activate the mode during a video call in WhatsApp, simply press the system Back button after the call starts; doing so will shrink the video to a relatively compact floating window that can be moved around and will automatically snap to the border of your screen.
Pressing the Back button during a WhatsApp video call in previous versions of the service would pause the actual video and only continue relaying audio. Switching to an audio-only call from a video one is still relatively simple in the latest beta build of the app as it can be done by simply pulling down the aforementioned floating window. The functionality was confirmed to be working on a smartphone running the third developer preview of Android O, though it should also be operational if you happen to have a device with one of the previous two experimental builds of the OS for whatever reason. WhatsApp is the latest third-party service to implement support for the picture-in-picture mode in Android O, with VLC being one of the first ones to do so more than five weeks ago. Google itself has recently been hard at work implementing this functionality into its own Android app portfolio, with the Mountain View, California-based tech giant previously debuting support for its picture-in-picture mode in Google Duo and Google Chrome.
The current version of the service seemingly works without any major issues despite only being an experimental build of the app. Those interested in trying it out can join WhatsApp’s open beta program and download the latest iteration of the platform by following the Google Play Store banner below. There’s still no word on how long will Facebook’s subsidiary take to move this particular variant of WhatsApp to the stable channel, though that rollout shouldn’t happen later than Android O itself starts hitting the Google Pixel, Pixel XL, and compatible Nexus devices in the form of final system images, which the Alphabet-owned company estimates will happen by the end of August.