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How to play YouTube in the background

One of the most annoying restrictions on YouTube for Android is that it automatically pauses the video you're watching or listening to when you navigate to another screen or open another app on your device. But there are ways around this. Read on to find out how to play YouTube in the background.

Google may want us to watch YouTube a certain way (perhaps to keep us focused on the precious ad space), but it's not too difficult to circumvent this restriction, either through browser tricks or apps. Here's how to get YouTube to play in the background.

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Free solution

The easiest and most cost effective solution is to use the FireFox or Chrome browser rather than the YouTube app. This browser will allow you to continue to listen to the video of your choice with the screen off or while doing something else on your device. 

androidpit youtube request site
Make sure you request the desktop site, or your phone may automatically load the YouTube app. / © ANDROIDPIT

If you find the YouTube app opening automatically when you try this, just go to the three-dot menu at the top right,  and check the “Request desktop site” box.

You can download FireFox below. If you want more features than this, read on.

Firefox Browser fast & private Install on Google Play

YouTube Red

One way to play YouTube in the background is to purchase a YouTube Red subscription, which costs $9.99 per month. This comes with the feature called 'Background Play' which allows your video play in the background when you open different apps or turn the screen off.

An added bonus of YouTube Red is that it also removes YouTube ads and includes a subscription to Google Play Music. If you already have Google Play Music then you'll get YouTube Red for free.

androidpit youtube hero 1
YouTube Red gives you plenty more features. / © ANDROIDPIT

Use a bubble browser

Bubble browsers such as Flynx, Flyperlink or Brave (formerly: Link Bubble) are another option. They float above the user interface and can be minimized to a small icon. In such a bubble, you access YouTube's mobile website and start streaming. YouTube videos will continue to run even when the screen is turned off or your system is running another app.

With Brave, the power saving mode must be set to "Off" first - otherwise the video will stop with the default settings when you minimize the bubble or turn off the display.

brave flyperlink
Flyperlink (left) and Brave. / © Screenshot: ANDROIPIT

Not every bubble browser is the same: Fast access to YouTube is not easy with Flynx, because the bubble browsers are optimized to collect links from Twitter clients, Facebook or other apps. Brave and Flyperlink allow you to enter a URL directly - there's hardly anything standing in the way of YouTube fun. The bubble browser solution has the advantage that you can also use other video services with it.

Flynx - Read the web smartly Install on Google Play Flyperlink Install on Google Play Link Bubble Install on Google Play

NewPipe: open source app for background playback

NewPipe is a handy app, but unfortunately it is not available in the Google Play Store. Instead, you'll need to check the alternative app store, F-Droid. In F-Droid you will find many free open source apps. The service also takes care of automatic updates of the apps installed.

To be able to install F-Droid and the apps it contains, you must allow the installation of apps from unknown sources. To do this you'll need to manually enable it in your phone's security settings.

galaxy s7 install unknown sources
First you have to allow the installation of unknown sources. / © ANDROIDPIT

Now you can go to the F-Droid website in your smartphone browser and download the FDroid. apk. After the download the installation should start immediately. If not, tap the completed download notification to start it.

After installation you can start F-Droid immediately. But initially the list of apps will be empty. F-Droid must first download the currently available apps from the server. This may take a few seconds. After that you can type in NewPipe in the search field. In the search result tap the Install buttonto install NewPipe.

If you tap on Run, NewPipe starts up and with a red search bar at the top and an otherwise completely white screen. Type in the name of your desired song or artist to search.

youtube newpipe background playback
Ziggy Stardust plays Major Tom in the background. / © ANDROIDPIT

In the search results, tap the headphone icon in the top right corner to hear the song of your choice in the background. If the quality is not good enough for you, you can change the level on the left.

Have fun playing YouTube in the background!

Pop-up video apps

Another option for playing YouTube in the background is Awesome Pop-up Video Pro. Now, it doesn't play YouTube in the background, as such, rather it plays them in a small, movable pop-up window, which can be dragged to the side of the screen to achieve a similar effect. You can download the app below.

Awesome Pop-up Video Pro Install on Google Play

Please note that although this app allows you to play YouTube in the background, it won't let you play them with the screen off. The Mozilla Firefox option does.

popup
YouTube plays in the background while you're free to run other apps. / © AndroidPIT

With this app you'll pay only a few bucks as a one time purchase instead of a monthly payment from YouTube Red. You won't have access to the great features available from the monthly package deal but it's a cheap and quick way to play YouTube videos in the background.

There are other pop-up video apps available, however, such as Floating Tube and various others which advertise this function. They all vary somewhat in look and function, and we haven't had time to try them all. Let us know your favorites in the comments!

Floating Tube (Multitasking) Install on Google Play

Do you have any other methods for playing your YouTube videos in the background? Tell us in the comments.

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Readers' favorite comments

  • Jack Frost Jan 13, 2016

    Two words, Firefox browser. Problem solved.You can play in background and/or have your screen turned off.

  • Sanjay Bhingare 8 months ago

    Use below method it always works on chrome Android:
    Select below mentioned options serially:

    1) Android settings> application>YouTube app>set as default>Go to supported URLS>always ask

    2) Open chrome browser>open you tube website>select desktop site from options(three dot menu, upper right corner)

    A notification of chrome media player appears in notification panel. Now directly press home (without exiting chrome, don't hit back key, go directly to homescreen)

    Now chrome notification player paused in notification panel, just open notification panel and hit play button. YouTube will start to play in background. Also can be played in screen locked and off.

    This works on my Galaxy S7, previously on Android 6.0 & now on Android nougat.

    Enjoy!!

116 comments

Write new comment:

  • Hi,

    Use OGYOUTUBE!

    How:
    0.Allow unknown sources
    1. Download & Install 'OGYOUTUBE'
    2. Download & Install 'microG for OGYT'
    3. Profit!

    --------
    I USED APKMIRROR.COM TO DOWNLOAD ogyoutube AND microg for ogyt
    -----------

    OGYoutube features:
    -popup video(multitasking)
    -built-in video/audio download (mp4/mp3 320kbps)
    -video quality preset ( one for wifi , one for mobil data )
    -no ADs ( before & between videos ; during video play )
    -background video play (WORKS WITH TURNED OFF SCREEN TOO)

    for these settings go to the 3 dot menu in ogyoutube >settings>downloads
    !!!!
    do not forget to put these two apps to memory clean whitelist to prevent them closing when you turn the screen off (for e.g. in Huawei: Settings>Battery>Close apps after screen lock>find these two apps in the list and choose the 'don't close' option)
    !!!!

    Works fine for me ( Android 7.0 Huawein p9 lite ) since the summer of 2017

    I hope i could help, sorry for bad english :)

    Á.Sz.


  • Also multitasking and attaching a window to the home screen ...


  • Ixon 1 month ago Link to comment

    Sorry but this is total BS it doesn't work feom android 6.0 on lg g4 ... It's disapointing...


  • What is working to me like a charm is:
    - Firefox Beta with option set: request desktop site.
    Enjoy guys! 😀


    • GB TB 2 months ago Link to comment

      Nice thanks man, I already had Firefox which is the best independent browser, and just clicking the 3 dots out on the right and going to desktop-version did the job, can even put the screen to black, tytyty has been a problem.


  • Hi,
    I am using an app which has an interesting approach: it does not use Youtube API nor search functions but a pre-loaded db with links to the video, which gets streamed using a third party service.
    The name is YouLink.
    happy streaming!


  • I'm using AudioPocket it's working like a charm.
    Search AudioPocket-alpha.1.2.


  • Another solution is to enable multi window in android and run YouTube in one window, then decrease the size of this window to smallest


  • I find solution for this... Only thing you need is headphones with play button on them.
    So go on youtube and play video, go in background and when youtube stops sound just press play button on your headphones; and that's it, you can play Youtube in background.
    And guess what; It even works on locked screen.
    Hope this helps you ;)


  • Mina 6 months ago Link to comment

    Nothing works anymore, most likely they have updated the code of their mobile website to stop playing on focus loss..
    the best solution..root your phone, install a certain xposed module called "YouTube background play" and be done with YouTube greediness for good...also install Adaway (my personal favourite) or any trusted adblocker and be done with annoying YouTube ads forever..there you got YouTube red for free forever...seriously forcing people to pay so they can listen to music in the background was really low from Google ..


    • I am going to do this when I do eventually root my device.
      I tried desktop mode on firefox but it is more difficult to navigate using a phone screen and my phone seems to suffer trying to run desktop mode which is odd for a high end phone - Galaxy S5 G900F.
      Guess we have to go to extreme lengths just to get stuff that was originally there. I cannot understand how they have to make mobile so different to the desktop version of the browser. Makes no sense to me.


    • Try YouLink


  • Andrea 7 months ago Link to comment

    Doesn't work in chrome, Firefox, followed all your instructions. Stops as on as soon as i hit home.


  • Latest Firefox update broke background play.

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