The YouTube app on your Android and iOS does not support background playback. For instance, if you exit your YouTube app or lock your smartphone, the video will stop as well.
This is because YouTube makes money from Video Ads. More video is played more money they make. And if they start supporting background playback, then there will be no ads revenue for them. This is also the same reason, it took them 8 years to add a simple loop feature in the desktop version.
Update: The official YouTube app support background playback (along with no ads) with YouTube premium. This feature is pretty much available in most countries now and we highly recommend getting it. That said, if for any reason, you are not interested in YouTube premium, the following are some options you can try.
Play YouTube Videos in Background
New Pipe is an open source Android app for YouTube. It is present of F-Droid which is an open source repository of Android apps. After using it for a few months, I can say the app is stable and does its job nicely. You can search for a video in the app or share a video from YouTube, though for this, you’ll have to download another small extension — share with NewPipe.
Overall, the app is pretty stable and should do the job for most of us.
2. FireFox or Safari
In case you don’t want to download an extra app, you can still watch YouTube in the background with the help of browsers.
This is probably the best way to play YouTube videos in the background. And the good part is, it works for any OS i.e. Android, iOS or even Windows phone. All you have to do is, play YouTube videos in a supported browser (Firefox for Android, Safari for iOS and Microsoft Edge on Windows) and turn on desktop mode. Now even if you close the browser or turn OFF the screen, the audio will play in the background.
The advantage of using this method over the others is, it’s stable and works on every device. You don’t interfere with Ads which makes it legal for YouTube point of view. Although you are basically playing every video, your bandwidth will be consumed like regular video.
3. Brave Browser
This is the most sought after browser for Android. Brave Browser is a secure private browser for Android and iOS as well. But for this article, we will focus on how to play YouTube video in the background on Android. To do that, go to the Settings of the Browser by tapping on the three dots at the bottom. Now, in the Settings menu, tap on Site Settings to access the media playback controls.
In the Site Settings section, tap on Media to go to the media settings. Now, in the media settings, here you will the “Background video playback” option which would be disabled by default. To enable it, tap on it to go to the next page.
Here, you will see the background video playback disabled, enable it by turning on the slider. Once you have done that, you will get a pop-up asking you to relaunch the browser. Tap on it. Once, the browser has relaunched, you will have background media playback enabled. If you play a video and exit the session, then it should keep playing in the background. However, if the video is muted, it won’t take effect.
Download Brave Browser
YMusic is an Android app you can use to play YouTube video in the background. It also lets you download those video in different formats. In case, you just want to download the music from the video, you can choose the format as MP3. What makes this app different from the rest in this list is — it saves a lot of bandwidth because it only loads audio of the video. So, if don’t have unlimited data and want background playback only for music then go for YMusic.
6. YouTube Vanced
YouTube Vanced is a modded version of the YouTube app, which looks and feel exactly like the official YouTube app but comes with extra features. For instance, it not only supports background playback, but also there is no ads, PiP support, and Auto Repeat. To get iYTBP on a non-rooted Android device, you need to install 2 files – a Modded version of YouTube which is the app itself and MicroG for YouTube, which you will need this to sign in to your YouTube account. Here is our detailed article on YouTube Vanced.
Download YouTube Vanced
So, these were some way to play YouTube videos in the background on Android smartphone and tablet. I use YouTube premium since I don’t like to install many apps on my phone. However, if YouTube premium is not available in your country, you can give YouTube Vanced a try. Also, if you use Telegram, the app allows playing the video in PIP mode. So, you can play the video while using other apps and also when the screen is off.
If you know some workaround that we miss, let us know in the comments below. For any queries, shoot an email to me.