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6 min read 128 comments

How to play YouTube in the background

One of the most annoying restrictions on YouTube app 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. 

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 FireFox 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.

YouTube Premium/YouTube Music Premium

One way to play YouTube in the background is to purchase a YouTube Premium subscription, which costs $11.99 per month. Or you could just get a YouTube Music Premium account for $9.99 if music is all that you're interested in. 

These services come with the feature called 'Background Play' which allows your video to play in the background when you open different apps or turn the screen off. An added bonus of YouTube Premium is that it also removes those annoying ads. 

androidpit youtube hero 1
YouTube Premium gives you plenty more features. / © AndroidPIT

Use a bubble browser

Bubble browsers such as Flynx or Flyperlink 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
Link bubble browsers can be an ingenious workaround. / © Screenshot: AndroidPIT

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. Flyperlink allows 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.

NewPipe and YouTube alternatives

One way to watch YouTube in the background is by using a different app altogether. These alternative apps still use YouTube's content, but with a different, usually better feature set. 

Our favorite YouTube alternative is NewPipe , but unfortunately, it is not available in the Google Play Store. Naturally, Google takes a dim view of apps that attempt to circumvent their own restrictions on YouTube.

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 button to 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.

Newpipe isn't the only alternative to the YouTube app out there. Our community have also recommended YouTube Vanced, from the great team at XDAdevelopers, and OGYouTube. These YouTube wrapper apps broadly do the same thing...play YouTube videos, but with extended user options such as downloading, ad-blocking, and of course, background play.

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.

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 for YouTube Premium. 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!

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 Mar 26, 2017

    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!!

128 comments

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  • dj.si 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    The YMusic app is another alternative and popular choice. It streams only the audio from YouTube content, and continues playing while the phone is locked. I've been using it for about a year and it works well, without needing lots of unnecessary Android permissions.

    Since Google would prefer you to use the offical YouTube app (complete with ads!), YMusic is not available from the Google Play Store. YMusic is available from xda-developers.com and needs to be side-loaded.


  • Wasn't aware of alternatives to the YouTube site - for some years the unwanted, idiotic "recommendations for me" polluting listed subscriptions has been irritating as heck, as if users are going to spend ten minutes clicking "not interested" in order to replace clots of them with something else equally ridiculous. Browser links don't help with that. If there's a decent free alternative that accesses subscriptions and watch later lists, I'm for it.


  • YouTube vanced APK will do all these tricks.


  • Sumit 2 months ago Link to comment

    Simply Download Youtube vanced made by XDA developers, that's it.


  • As far as I know, the video playback feature in the background is available on Youtube red


  • You can activate splitscreen mode in newer Android versions if you want Youtube to play in the "background" while you do stuff in another app. The advantage is no fuss with 3rd party apps and not having to deal with the horrendous experience of using Youtube in browser/desktop mode. The drawback is that splitsceen mode means a significant loss of screen real estate to the "background" app (~1/3 of screen reserved for the inactive app versus ~2/3 for the active app) and not all apps will support splitscreen mode, notably no app that's required to work in fullscreen mode. Despite these mentioned drawbacks, I find splitscreen mode much more practical than having to rely on Youtube in browser/desktop mode.


  • does not work in Note 8


  • Walter 6 months ago Link to comment

    I would like to suggest TVlc. It supports Youtube battery saving audio only background playback since Version 10


  • Let use VLC app, copy youtube link, on App, go Stream and paste the link in the textbox, after that minimize the video...and you can turn off the screen but VLC stilll play video as audio in background. Try this, it amazing.


  • This is exclusively for Xperia users. Search in the small apps and you will find ytplayer which is a floating app that lets you play YouTube even when your screen is locked. I used to use an Xperia, recently switched to S8. I miss the ytplayer so much.


  • 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 Oct 12, 2017 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 Sep 15, 2017 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 May 28, 2017 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 Apr 27, 2017 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 ?...


    • Nini H May 10, 2017 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.

    Deactivated Account


  • 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!!


  • If your phone is rooted, you can also use Lucky Patcher and install the custom patch to YouTube

    Deactivated Account


  • Google chrome and safari can also play YouTube while screen is locked on iPhone


  • You can download "Tube master - Free music Video" application for the background Youtube music in Android. it is perfect application. You can download from Google Play Store. (play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.monalisa.tubemaster)


  • Zoli Feb 13, 2017 Link to comment

    Samsung Galaxy Tab3 10.1 - Android 4.4.2: working with currently latest Firefox. Started playing, locked the screen right after, and there you go :-)

    BUT: When leaving the app (background mode), playing stops almost instantly. :-(

    Z.


  • In my tablet, with firefox when change to other app, youtu stop. This does not work for me


  • The easiest way (for savvy Android users who have rooted their phones) is to just use the Xposed module for YouTube background playback.

    It allows YouTube to function fully in the background and even provides controls in the notification drawer.


  • you can try iTube Box from Taha Interactive
    tahainteractive.com/itube-box/


  • Some apps like “Vream music video for Youtube” can be installed without root access on android devices and can play youtube in a popup. You can filter for music videos only which I find really interesting play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.vreamapp.vreammusicstreamforyoutube


  • You can use "FTube - floating tube free music" application for the background Youtube music in Android. it is perfect application.


  • Samsung's Multi Window feature in their phones is useful if you want to be able to skip videos/tracks through Bluetooth using the official YouTube app (a feature the YouTube app inside Firefox does not support) while having a view of another app on screen; ex Google Maps.


  • fufu Dec 20, 2016 Link to comment

    or try No Pause Lock on google play. It lets you lock your phone without pausing active app
    www.nopauselock.eu


    • doenst work I've just lost 0.60€, thanks a lot...


      • What do you mean? there are 3 ways to activate it hold power, shake and proximity, neither of it works?
        You could claim refound withit 15minuter after purchase
        Regards


  • You Can use NetMBuddy from the F-droid app Store


  • I use firefox also to turn off screen. and also if you have multiple windows option in your phone you can use youtube app with other apps.


  • There used to be an app called "Black screen of life" on the play store. It was free and using your proximity sensor to blacken the screen . So when you were streaming an album on youtube, you just had to flip your phone and voila !

    Unfortunately it's been removed...and im pretty sure that's because YT didn't liked it.

    EDIT : I just found they have a website where you can download the app for free or premium via Paypal ! Go grab it and say "HAHA F*CK YOU YOUTUBE"
    AndroidPit, if you plan to share about the app, please give me a bit ov credit.


  • All I do is "request desktop site" on my browser.


  • I found out that on a Moto G running Android Lollipop (5.1) pinning the YouTube app and then turning the screen off will let it play with the screen off. It's nice.


  • Has anyone experienced Firefox changes to this in the past couple of weeks? It used to work, but it suddenly stopped working about 10 days ago. The Youtube video just stops when I open a new tab or an app, whereas previously the video would continue to play.


  • I like using Firefox browser for Youtube background play, but after sometimes when i open few more apps, it suddenly stops playing. Any Solution?


  • PWUK Sep 16, 2016 Link to comment

    Extract and d/l as MP3

    Haitch Tee Tee pee colon dub dub dub listentoyoutube.com/

    No visuals, but if you've turned the screen off....


  • You can just get OGYoutube which is just normal YouTube with background listening, pop out and downloading


  • As simple as that.. Firefox Browser, search youtube.... play music... minimise app... job done... nice one Cory, thank you


    • Kid Dec 16, 2016 Link to comment

      Yep but what if I want hd quality sound played in the background? Thats the only annoying thing that firefox doesn't have a setting option for hd quality meeehhhhh


  • Thank you thank you thank you for this tip! It was nervous as hell


  • Thanks a ton guys.. FireFox is one of the best hassle free solution for this and I am enjoying music and playing games simultaneously... thanks once again


  • Wow, didn't know that FF could do that - time to install it on my device. Its about time Google adds this feature in the app itself.


  • Kadir Aug 6, 2016 Link to comment

    ya i know one and it just need a chrome that's it
    andropalace.net/play-youtube-videos-background-android-phones/


  • The tricks are fine, mostly useful too.. But if you want to optimize your data usage, why would you listen to music on YouTube you are wasting data on video part for only listening to the Audio.


    • i don't want to optimize data usage, i want to play youtube with screen off. Also, where can i find this song out of youtube? ( La Ne Hoştu Eskiden (Mahmut Karadağ) )


  • I never knew that Firefox did that! Thanks for the tip - it's been bugging me since my YouTube Red stopped working in Germany


  • I have the Xposed Framework installed on my phone and use a module called Youtube Background Play that plays sounds in the background on the normal Youtube app.


  • Ben Jun 27, 2016 Link to comment

    Hi,

    There is a perfect app for this: Stream. Go check it out on the Play Store.

    It allows you to easily play YouTube video in a pop-up player above other applications. Very handy !


  • Search for the app Screen Off Keep Playing! Its free and works very well on Amoled Screen


  • excuse me are you stupid or you play the stupid?


  • hi , you can try to listen in the background for youtube; YouSound
    try it....


  • Search "Real Background YouTube" on Amazon app store.
    This app knows to do a single thing: play youtube in background.
    You can even log in and play your own playlist. You can get it from Amazon only, though, as google play doen't allow this kind of apps. You must install Amazon's app store. It's all free. It works on 99% android versions, updated on 13 April 2016.


  • Ahmad Apr 10, 2016 Link to comment

    Try www.yooib.com it's works fine .. and you can download audio as mp3 .


  • i found a way :) it is easier ... all I need is Facebook Messager ... It s work for me all the time
    1. Open FB messager
    2. Send a voice mail to someone or urself
    3. Open that Chat in Chat Head
    4. Open Youtube
    5. Play a Song or Playlist
    6. Open ur Chat head and play ur voice
    7. after the voice ended - press HOME button
    ---
    IF YOU WANNA TURN UR SCREEN OFF
    - Open FACEBOOK app before you turn off the screen.

    i use android ver. 4.4 and it work for me all the time :)


  • So far the best app that i've tried is called "AudioPocket". It's available for free, with ads, and works very well. It is very battery friendly because it only plays the sound, not the video itself.

    Firefox works well too but tends to drain more battery than AudioPocket.


  • I made an app for that, it's on Google Play, just look it up using
    net.prestalife.screener


  • C D Feb 29, 2016 Link to comment

    I use pv star+ from amazon. It let's you create playlists, start them and then play them even when you exit out of the app or shut off the screen. And it gives you a player menu on the lock screen when you turn back on your phone, allowing you to pause or stop or skip whenever you want. Once in a while it will get a bit slow, but usually it works pretty well.


  • Lol, 10 dollars my ass.


  • Petar Jan 24, 2016 Link to comment

    This works for me:
    - let video finish playing
    - press home to leave youtube app
    - go on internet or any other app you wish
    - swipe from top to get list of notifications and among notifs there will be a panel to replay the video. Click on the replay circle/arrow.
    - swipe from bottom to top to close notification panel.
    - continue doing whatewer you did before and enjoy youtube in background.

    Tested on HTC, android 5.1. Yandex shell ( but shell has nothing to do with this, pure android bug I must say )


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


  • The time you spent to complete this method each time to play background youtube videos is far more valuable than $10/month!!


  • Loony Dec 23, 2015 Link to comment

    Xposed modules are the way to go. "YouTube Background Playback" + "YouTube Adaway". Addfree YouTube and playable in the Background/Lockscreen since ages.. (With the original YouTube App btw)


  • this app was totally frustrating. it DOES NOT WORK. i tried searching youtube and it can't even search it... FAIL.


  • You can both listen to YouTube with your screen off or download from YouTube using FrostWire Plus - download from frostwire.com/android. The Google Play version, which is mostly a BitTorrent Client now, could do everything before the crackdown. Since then, the devs decided to have a 2 versions, both free, and the Plus is still awesome!


  • Hey guys! I just developed an app that allows you to turn off the screen while YouTube stock app keeps playing! It allows you to save huge amounts of battery. Go to YouTube and search for "Black Screen of Life" and tell me what you think!


  • Id pay for background play. But Music Key is not available in Canada. So i have neither that option nor the option of getting a third party software to do it. What a bunch of assholes.


  • c m Aug 9, 2015 Link to comment

    A nice alternative is: "YT Mobile" - @ ytmobile.tk


  • This app used to work doesn't any more.


  • OGYoutube Google it and first answer on XDA forums. no contest!


  • elia Jun 6, 2015 Link to comment

    BGTube works great!!!


  • Yes...but Bg Tube is simpler - open it, watch a video and it'll continue playing when you run other apps or turn the screen off