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How to Play YouTube in Background on iPhone and Android

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Feb 19, 2024• Proven solutions

When it comes to music, the majority of song lovers now prefer listening to it on their iPhone or Android phones, and most of them are still searching for a method to play YouTube in the background so they can enjoy their favorite tracks without much battery consumption.

Another reason why people may want to listen to YouTube in the background could be that they want to use their phone for other purposes such as for text messaging, Internet browsing, accessing Facebook, etc. on the device simultaneously.

With that said, here you will learn how to play YouTube in the background on iPhone or Android both with and without any specific app.

Best Paid Solution for Playing YouTube in Background: YouTube Premium

YouTube Premium, formerly YouTube Red, is a paid subscription with three types of plans namely ‘Individual’, ‘Family’, and ‘Student’ offered by the streaming giant for $11.99, $17.99, and $6.99 per month respectively. All the plans give you ad-free and uninterrupted streaming experience.

Note: The price of the plans may vary depending on the region of your residence and Google policies. Nevertheless, no annual subscription is available at the time of this writing, and the amount is deducted from your account on monthly basis.

While each plan has its own merits and demerits, the most used one is Individual that also gives free access to YouTube Music, an app that is available for Android and iOS devices, and is specifically dedicated to the music where you can watch and listen to your favorite tracks published on the platform.

What makes YouTube Music popular among the premium subscribers is its ability to play the music even when the app is not active and/or when the phone screen is turned off. Furthermore, you can even configure the app to play the audio without video, thus significantly reducing the battery consumption.

Note: Unlike the YouTube main app itself, YouTube Music is limited only to the music, and cannot play other videos.

Once you have subscribed for the YouTube Premium Individual plan, and downloaded and installed the YouTube Music app, you can follow the instructions given below to play YouTube in background Android or iPhone smartphone.

Step 1: Launch YouTube Music and Start Streaming

Launch YouTube Music, search for your favorite music using the Search icon at the top-right corner, tap the song in the suggestions list, and then tap the name of the track to start playing.

 YouTube Premium Play Music background

Step 2: Switch to Audio Only (Optional)

Tap anywhere on the video player window, and tap Audio from the top of the screen to switch to the audio only mode where the video of the song won’t be played.

Step 3: Play YouTube in Background

Use your phone-specific button or option to minimize YouTube Music. You can then either continue using your smartphone normally, or turn off the screen to play YouTube in background.

How to Play YouTube Videos in Background on iPhone

If you don’t want to pay for YouTube Premium, there are a few other workarounds that you can try to play YouTube in background on your iPhone. One of the easiest methods among them is explained below:

Step 1: Play YouTube Video on Browser

Launch Safari on your iPhone, and go to (important). Make sure to type the URL in the address bar so the YouTube app doesn’t start, and you can access YouTube from within the browser window itself.

Use the regular method to search for the video you want to play in the background, and tap the Play button to start streaming.

Step 2: Open a New Tab

Tap the All Tabs icon from the bottom-right corner of the browser, and tap + from the bottom-center. Notice how the YouTube video continues to play even when you are on the new tab.

Step 3: Play YouTube in Background

Press the Home button or swipe up on iPhone X or above to get to the Home screen. You can notice how YouTube still continues to stream. From this point onward, you can either start using your iPhone normally, or turn off the screen and let your device play YouTube in background.

How to Play YouTube Videos in Background on Android

The process to play YouTube in background on an Android smartphone is slightly different than what it is on an iPhone if you don’t have a Premium subscription. To get this done on your Android, you must:

Step 1: Switch to Desktop Mode

Launch Google Chrome (default) on your Android phone, and go to Click the More options icon (with three vertically aligned dots) from the top-right corner of the browser, and check the Desktop site box from the menu that appears.

 Switch to YouTube desktop site on Android

Step 2: Search for and Stream a Video

Use the Search bar at the top of the interface to search for and tap the video you want to stream.

Step 3: Play YouTube in Background

Once the video starts streaming, get back to the Home screen, pull down the Notification bar from the top (if the streaming stops), and press the Play button to play YouTube in background on your Android smartphone.

 Play YouTube  background on Android

3 Best Apps to Play YouTube Videos in Background on Android

Instead of using the above workaround on Android, if you want something simpler and more straightforward, there are a few apps that can help you play YouTube videos in background. Some of the most used programs are listed below:

VLC for Android

Being one of the most versatile media playing software, VLC needs no introduction, and icing on the cake was added when the program was made available on Google Play Store. After you have installed VLC on your Android phone, you can launch the YouTube app, search for and tap the video you want to play in the background, tap the streaming video, tap the ‘More options’ icon from the top-right corner, and tap ‘Play in VLC’ from the available options.

Minimize play in background

This app does exactly what its name suggests. The program has a ‘Minimize player’ mode that allows you to stream YouTube videos in a small window that reduces its size and resides at the bottom of the screen, thus letting you use your Android phone for other important tasks simultaneously.

Background player for YouTube Vanced minimizer

Yet another app available on Google Play Store that lets you search for your favorite videos on YouTube, stream them, and then minimize the player to a floating window that goes down to the bottom of the screen. This lets you play YouTube in background in order to allow you to use your phone for other tasks.

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Watching YouTube videos has become a part of people’s day-to-day life now. While many of them use the platform to learn new skills through the tutorials that are available for free, others love the idea of having unlimited and unrestricted access to the gigantic database of music videos that they can dig in to find and play their favorite tracks. For the latter scenario, the processes explained above are likely to come in handy in order to play YouTube in background so the users can take full advantage of their iPhone or Android smartphone in case they only want to listen to the audio, and are not interested in watching the video while streaming.

author avatar
Richard Bennett
Richard Bennett is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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Richard Bennett

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