Sneak Peek: Running MixEffect in the Background on iOS 16 and iPadOS 16

An ATEM switcher and its controller, be it ATEM Software Control, Companion’s native BMD module, or MixEffect, require a constant network connection. Any sustained interruption of this communications channel will result the switcher and the controller disconnecting from each other.

The Problem with Hiding MixEffect on macOS or Switching Apps on iOS/iPadOS

When MixEffect is suspended by iOS, iPadOS, or macOS, its connection to the ATEM switcher will be disconnected. This happens in the following scenarios:

  • macOS: Hiding the application.
  • macOS: Minimizing the application to the Dock.
  • iOS and iPadOS: Switching applications.

On macOS, MixEffect can continue working in the background so as long as the application window remains visible somewhere on the screen. It can be behind other application windows, but it can’t be minimized.

On iPadOS, MixEffect can continue to run if its on a stage on iPadOS 16, or in a Split View or Slide Over View. The moment it’s removed from a stage or hide the Slide Over window, it will become suspended. In order to control the switcher again, the user will have to return to MixEffect and reconnect to the ATEM switcher.

This can be seen in the following video where the user is in MixEffect, goes to the Home Screen, returns to MixEffect, and has to wait for the app to reconnect to the ATEM.

Video showing MixEffect having to reconnect to the ATEM switcher after switching apps.

Run in Background

This fall with the official release of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, MixEffect will be able to run continuously in the background via the the Picture-in-Picture API in iOS and iPadOS. Activating the MixEffect PIP window will keep the connection alive while you use other apps on your iPad or iPhone. You can even run Shortcuts and call OSC methods with the MixEffect PIP window active. The Skip Backward and Skip Forward buttons in the PIP window can perform a Cut and Auto transition operations respectively.

Demoing the new Run in Background feature in the upcoming version of MixEffect for iPadOS 16.

The video above depicts the following actions:

  • Activating the Run in Background PIP window.
  • Going to the Home Screen
  • Using the Skip Backward button to Cut between the two sources on Program and Preview
  • Return to MixEffect.
  • Using the Skip Backward button to Cut between the two sources on Program and Preview.

The MixEffect PIP window currently displays the following information:

  • Name of the currently connected switcher.
  • Recording or Streaming status.
  • List of Mix Effect Buses and the sources selected for Program and Preview.

The Run in Background feature opens up many new possibilities for using MixEffect on both iPhones and iPads, as users will basically have the ability to use the app at all times.

Keep this in mind that only one PIP window can be active in iOS and iPadOS at a given time. So, if you have the MixEffect PIP window open, start YouTube, and activate its PIP window, the MixEffect PIP will go away and your connection to the ATEM will soon be terminated.

TestFlight Beta Access for MixEffect Labs 🟡 Gold Members

MixEffect Gold members will soon have access to a TestFlight build of MixEffect Pro, which they can run alongside the regular MixEffect app (with the Pro IAP), to test out the Run in Background feature of MixEffect. If you are not a MixEffect Gold member and want to try out the beta, consider signing up for a MixEffect Labs Gold Membership.

Right now, the feature only works on iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, but I’m hoping to back port this to work on iOS 15. The first Public Beta for iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 was announced on July 11, 2022.