YouTube Music has a free ad-supported plan much like Spotify. But unlike Spotify, you can’t play music in the background on the free tier. YouTube wants you to upgrade. However, there are a few ways to play YouTube Music in the background without opting for a premium plan.
Stream YouTube Music in Background
There may be services like YouTube Vanced, New Pipe, etc. to get the same functionality. But we are concentrating on the apps and methods that are legal.
1. YouTube Music Website
Opening YouTube Music in the browser itself will not solve the problem. You also need to use it as a desktop site to play songs in the background. Here is how you can do that.
1. Open your browser and go to music.youtube.com. Now tap on the three-dot menu icon and select Desktop site to open the website in the desktop view.
2. Now you can play songs here and go back to the home screen to open another app.
This process works on both Android and iOS. The only drawback is that you need to use the desktop site on the mobile, which isn’t a pleasant experience.
- Can play songs when app is closed and screen turned off
- Can access YouTube Music playlists and other features
- Using desktop mode on phone isn’t good experience
2. Stream App
It is a free music player for YouTube Music. Just like YouTube Music, it cannot play songs in the background but can open in the pop-up view. If using the desktop mode on your phone’s browser isn’t the experience you are looking for, then you can consider this app.
1. Install the Stream app from Play Store and open it. The app asks for permission to ‘draw over other apps’ to enable the pop-up view. Tap on the Open Settings option.
2. Here select the Stream app from the list and enable Allow display over other apps option.
3. Once done, come back to the Stream app and start playing a song. The song will begin playing in pop-up view directly even when you have the app open. You can now go back to the home screen and do something else.
- Ability to play songs in pop-up view
- Using the app layout is better than opening website in desktop mode
- Cannot play songs when screen turned off
- Background play is only possible when the pop-up view enabled
3. Pi Music Player
YouTube terms may not agree to play songs when screen is turned off. But Pi Music Player has a trick. Instead of switching off the phone, it turns on power saver mode which uses a black screen and decreases the brightness to the lowest which makes it looks like having some screen saver or always-on display. That way, you can use pop-up view to use the phone while listening to music and power-saving mode to play a song when the screen is turned off.
1. Download and install the Pi Music Player app from the Play store and open it. Grant the required permissions.
2. Once you are in the app, you can find all songs available in your local storage as Pi Music Player is also normal music player app at its core.
3. But swipe left to Discover tab and you shall find songs that you can play online and it is powered by YouTube Music. Now you can play any song from here and the app will ask for permission to ‘draw over other apps’. Click on Proceed.
4. Select the Pi Muisc Player app from the list and enable Allow display over other apps option.
5. But when you turn off the screen, it will stop playing the music with a pop-up message to use Power Saving Mode. You can turn the screen back on and tap on the Resume option in the popup.
6. It will switch on power-saving mode with a black screen, low brightness, and swipe option to exit Power Saving Mode.
Pi Music Player is a good alternative to bypass the YouTube terms and offers a free solution without messing with the desktop layout in the mobile browser.
- Turns on power-saving mode while playing songs
- Ability to open pop-up view
- Cannot access YouTube playlists
- Audio-only mode not supported
4. Black Screen of Life
Black Screen of Life is an underrated app on the Play Store that uses mobile’s proximity sensor to turn the screen black, something similar to taking calls. Once activated, all you need to do is play songs directly on the YouTube Music app and block the proximity sensor with an object. That’s it, this app will turn the screen off providing an option to listen to songs by turning off the display.
1. First, download the Black Screen of Life app directly from the Play Store. Now open the app and click on the pink circular button.
2. The circle turns to green indicating the sensor is enabled. Now open the YouTube Music and play any song.
3. Block the proximity sensor at the top of your phone to turn the screen off.
The only downside of the app is it isn’t made to play music in the background. So by using this app, you still have to be on the YouTube Music app for the song to continue playing. Use this app along with any of the three apps mentioned above to get the best possible outcome.
- Can turn off the phone while playing songs from YouTube Music
- Cannot close the YouTube Music app
Wrap up – Playing YouTube Music in Background
Though they are multiple ways, using Stream with combined with Black Screen of life is the method that I like to use. Stream app is clean and speacially made to play songs from YouTube. The uses pop-up mode to play the songs while I am using the phone. Black Screen of Life app is useful to turn off my phone when not in use. Thus having the complete control of blackgroud playing for free.