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iOS 16.5 code indicates quad-box Picture-in-Picture feature in development for Apple TV sports streams

Picture-in-Picture has been a feature on Apple’s platforms for a few years, allowing a single video to pop out into a floating window while the user browses the rest of the OS.

Apple appears to be working on upgrading that capability, at least for live sports matches in the Apple TV app. Code references first spotted by Steve Moser in the iOS 16.5 betas describe a new “Multiview” experience for the Apple TV app, supporting up to four simultaneous streams at once.

The Apple TV app live-streams sports games including MLS Season Pass and MLB Friday Night Baseball, with Apple rumored to be actively negotiating more sports streaming deals in the future.

Quad-box PIP streaming is a feature already offered by some third-party apps, like ESPN and FuboTV on tvOS, so it would make sense that Apple wants to match that experience for its own sports streaming.

References to a TV app multiview feature have existed in the iOS codebase for a while, but the latest beta includes a lot more references, which is an indication that work on the feature is ramping up. The new strings also give us a much clearer picture of what to expect.

It appears to be targeted at sports for now, and seems to be a feature of the TV app specifically rather than a system-wide video player feature. When browsing sports in the TV app, the user will be asked whether to start watching the stream in full screen or to start watching in Multiview mode.

The strings mention a grid layout, and an error message will be shown if the user attempts to add a fifth game to the grid. This implies the aforementioned four-streams-at-once capability.

Of course, Apple has not officially announced plans for the feature, and there’s a chance it is never released. Moreover, although the number of code references are increasing, it is by no means guaranteed to be ready to ship any time soon. It is likely that it does not become available until sometime during the iOS 17 software update cycle.

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Avatar for Benjamin Mayo Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.