Universal Windows Platform 'Compact Overlay Mode' is likely your Xbox Snap Mode replacement

Snap Mode allows you to dedicate a portion of the screen to a single app, taking up a large column typically for viewing media apps like OneGuide's TV side-by-side with a game.

It's a throwback to Windows 8 apps, which could be snapped side-by-side in a similar way. Microsoft killed the feature for Xbox app developers last summer when it launched UWP for Xbox One. Xbox owners were still able to access legacy apps that made use of Snap Mode, but no longer, with the builds on the latest Xbox Insider Program update wave.

We reported last November that Microsoft was working on picture-in-picture functionality as a replacement for Snap Mode, and today, we've gotten a glimpse at what that could look like.

The picture-in-picture overlay Achievement Tracker live on Xbox One preview builds.

In Windows 10 Fast ring build 15031, Microsoft has introduced a new Compact Overlay mode for UWP app developers. This enables a picture-in-picture experience that we heard would be coming to Xbox One. In fact, one of the first apps that will utilize this feature is Movies & TV, and it stands to reason that the Xbox One version of the app will also pick up the same update.

The Xbox One is currently using overlays for Cortana and the Achievement Tracker, and we've seen that Beam will also be using overlays too for displaying chat, and more.

While I have no hard confirmation (yet) that Compact Overlay mode specifically is the replacement for Snap Mode, it matches up with everything we've heard previously. I'm willing to bet money that this is the replacement for Snap Mode.

We've reached out to Microsoft for confirmation, but we'll probably find out as soon as the Movies & TV app for Xbox One is updated in the Alpha or Beta ring very shortly.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • I used this for achievement hunting just the other day. If this comes to games, TV, music - that will be amazing.
  • Yep, I was just about to say, they introduced this with tracking achievements and mentioned in the notes that more apps will get updated to support this new method. I don't see for any reason why TV and Music won't be on the list as these were the big reasons people used the snap function.
  • I hope Music takes a priority. Complete with a volume scroller, skip forward, skip backwards, play, pause, and maybe even a little album art in addtion to the track tile and artsit it will undoubtbely have.
  • I'd love to see that too, would make it nice little addition. I'd like to see it be like a mini player so you can interact with it and view your playlists and go through you collection without needing to open the full app. We will have to see what the Groove team does with this.
  • All I want is an always on top overlay that shows the currently playing song and some playback controls like the Zune software used to have.
  • Upvote for Zune
  • How much money?
  • How much have you got?
  • Keep meaning to try it in the new update. Be useful for beam chat, be nice to pick location.
  • Those free movie.apps have stopped working since the update.
  • Cool cool cool!
  • And that is where the Xbox double tap would fit perfectly. Double tap to switch quickly between the main screen and the COM.
  • That's an awesome idea!
  • Is this coming to Mobile in the creators update that's the question
  • Ok so it seems to be like a Picture in Picture function, right ?
    EDIT : Yes it is. 😂
  • These updates are all cool and fancy, I'm all for them. But, (unless I'm doing something wrong) there doesn't seem to be a way to broadcast to Twitch "and" interact with my audience at the same time anymore without the snap feature. I'm only able to switch from game or to chat while I'm live which I've recieved lots of complaints. So this is broken for now. Now if they were to implement this overlay feature to the chat, that would be even better than the snapped chat. No pun intended...😋👌
  • Agreed. Attempted to stream the other day and the only way I could engage with the people in chat was to pull up my own stream on my laptop next to me. Not hard, but also not ideal.
  • Cool
  • When they announced the death of Snap mode you said "cool this will be great. i didn't use it at all." Now you are "cool". That's quite strange for me, but ok...
  • Is that last picture of some kind of remote desktop app on the XB1?
  • Compact Overlay Mode for TV is urgent!