YouTube wants you to pay a Premium subscription to listen in the background of your phone, but here’s how to do it for free.
YouTube is one of the best ways to listen to music, but the drawback is that when you switch to another application, the audio stops playing. That means you can’t do anything else with your device like checking email, Instagram, or surfing the web.
However, there is a solution, which we will show you and there are various applications that allow you to watch YouTube videos in a pop-up window that floats above other applications.
How can I play YouTube in the background on my Android phone?
The official YouTube application will not let you listen in the background. That’s the feature you get if you want to subscribe to YouTube Premium or YouTube Music, which also removes ads.
So, if you want to find a solution that doesn’t need to install additional applications, here’s what to do. This process also works on iPhones and iPads, but you can follow our iOS specific guidelines for playing YouTube in the background on the iPhone if you want.
1. Open a web browser like Chrome or Firefox.
2. Type www.youtube.com in the address bar at the top (don’t search, because it will bring up the YouTube apps.)
3. This is optional, but you should log in to your YouTube account so you can see the mixes or playlists that you have created.
4. The site will default to the mobile version (m.youtube.com) but for this resolution, you need to switch to the desktop site. To do this, tap the three dots on the top right of your web browser – we use Chrome here – and tap ‘Desktop site’.
5. The web page will reload and display the desktop version of YouTube. This will make everything look smaller on your screen, but you can zoom in or rotate your phone to landscape mode to make it a little easier to read.
6. Start playing the video of your choice.
7. Switch to another application or return to the mobile home screen. The audio from your video must continue playing.
8. If stopped, swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the play button. Slide back up to ignore the settings and music / audio must be played.
9. Now you can switch to another application and use it while listening to YouTube. Some applications will cause music to stop, such as when you start video recording in your camera application. But in most cases it will continue to play.
10. If you only want to listen and not use the application, press your phone’s power button and the music will stay on even if your screen is now turned off.
Press the power button to wake your phone and you will see playback controls, allowing you to pause, play or jump to the next or previous video. Plus, if your headphones have a playback button, you can use it to control music when your phone is turned off.
Watch YouTube in the background using other Android apps
We used to recommend an application called Awesome Pop-up Videos that can display YouTube videos above other applications in a small window. It seems to have declined a lot, but there are many alternatives that do the same thing, so try a few and see if they work for you.
They all work using the same basic process which is as follows:
- Install the application and give permission to withdraw other applications
- Use the application to browse the videos you want to watch / listen to
- The video must start playing in the pop-up window
- Switch to another application or return to your phone’s home screen
Videos will float above everything you do on the phone.