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How to play YouTube videos 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 videos in the background.

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Free solution

The easiest and most cost effective solution is to use the FireFox 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. 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 videos 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

Awesome Pop-up Video Pro app

Another option for playing your videos in the background is Awesome Pop-up Video Pro. Now, it doesn't play YouTube videos 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 videos in the background, it won't let you play them with the screen off. The Mozilla Firefox option does.

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.

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

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 2 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!!

99 comments

Write new comment:
  • Mina 22 hours 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 ..

  • Andrea 1 month 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.

    • if you use firefox beta you can just use the desktop site and it will play in the background again i dont know if that will fix it on regular firefox though

      • doesnt work for playlists, only for one song, previously it worked for everything ***** it, i'm really pissed off, why do they things like than to annoy the useers? Why is it not default in youtube app

    • We need to undermine YouTube Red.

      As of April 2017 none of Firefox, Safari & Chrome on iPhone (iOS 10.2) plays YouTube in background, no matter what tricks you pull. However, Dolphin browser still works with the PLAY button on your Bluetooth headphones.

      Imagine 200 million viewers cowed into paying Red $10/month. You're having a laugh right? It's time to abandon YouTube. Sound Cloud anyone ?...

      • Well.. Soundcloud is also very disappointing with its new ad policy. Free music need a new platform.

    • Nini H 2 weeks ago Link to comment

      need to install an older version of firefox, Firefox 52.0.1 from APK mirror worked for me

  • Root and Xposed module called YouTube Playback Background works for me.

  • 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!!

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