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Learn how to play YouTube in the background on iOS and Android

YouTube’s content is so varied, you can find anything from tutorials to TV shows, and even the latest music videos. You may have run into a situation where you wanted to listen to YouTube in the background while doing something else on your smartphone. Closing the YouTube app will stop the video from playing, yes, but there are a few simple workarounds that will allow you to listen to a video in the background while you get on with something else. Follow these simple steps and find out how to play YouTube in the background on both iOS and Android devices.

Are you looking for music on YouTube to listen to in the background? Perhaps you should take a look at our simple guide on how to download music from YouTube and listen on any device.

Playing videos with YouTube Red (Android, iOS)

Let’s get YouTube Red out of the way first. YouTube Red is a subscription-based service that allows you to play content in the background, watch original shows that are exclusive to YouTube Red subscribers, and avoid ads. This service is available in the U.S., and you can subscribe to it from directly within the YouTube app. You can also get access to YouTube Red by subscribing to Google Play Music All Access.

If you want to listen to music in the background — and you’re not subscribed to YouTube Red — the music will stop playing as soon as you close the app. So if you want to accomplish this using YouTube’s official app, you’ll need to subscribe to YouTube Red.

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Android iOS

Playing videos with Opera Mini and Firefox web browsers (iOS)

On an iPhone? There’s a way to play YouTube videos in the background on iOS without jailbreaking your phone. It’s as easy as playing the video in Firefox or Opera Mini browsers, and then closing it after it starts playing. Make sure you go to the App Store and download Opera Mini or Firefox before you proceed.

Step 1: Launch Opera Mini or Firefox as you would normally and go to the YouTube website.

Step 2: Navigate to the video you want to play in the background.

Step 3: In Opera Mini, tap the red O in the lower right-hand corner, then go to Settings > User Agent and select Desktop. Press Done in the upper right-hand corner when you’re finished.

Step 4: In Firefox, tap the three horizontal dots in the browser’s search bar and select Request Desktop Site.

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Step 5: Play your desired video while in desktop mode and then close the browser to go back to your home screen.

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Step 5: Swipe up on the home screen to open Control Center and reveal the music player. On the iPhone X, you’ll need to access the Control Center by swiping down on the top right edge of the screen.

Step 6: In the Control Center’s music playback control, you will see the YouTube video paused. Simply tap play and continue listening to your video as if you were watching it on your device.

Playing videos with Firefox and Chrome (Android)

Playing YouTube videos in the background in Android can be done with both Firefox and Google Chrome. You can use either browser, but your version of Chrome must be version 54 or higher.

Step 1: Launch Firefox or Chrome as you would normally and go to the YouTube website.

Step 2: Navigate to the video you want to play in the background.

Step 3: Go to the Settings menu by tapping the three dots in the upper-right corner of the window. Afterward, tap Request Desktop Site.

Step 4: Start playing the video, and press the Home button to close your browser. If the video stops playing while using Chrome, you may also have to pull down the notifications bar and press play.

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Playing videos with Awesome Pop-up Video (Android)

We have to mention an app called Awesome Pop-up Video, along with its premium counterpart, the latter of which allows you to play videos that are more than 5-minutes long. We suggest checking out the free version of the app first, however, to see if you like the software. Both versions of the app work in the same way, and will play your desired video in a pop-up window so you can do other things while the video is playing.

Step 1: Go to the YouTube website using any browser on your Android smartphone.

Step 2: Navigate to the video you want to play in the background and copy the URL.

Step 3: Paste the URL into the app and tap the icon on the right.

Step 4: Close the app and your video will immediately appear in a pop-up window.

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Picture-in-picture mode in Android 8.0 Oreo


Android 8.0 Oreo, the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system, supports picture-in-picture mode. That means if you have YouTube Red and press the home button, the video will continue playing as a floating window, allowing you to perform another task without needing to stop watching. You can drag this window anywhere on the screen, and tap it to enlarge it or access playback controls.

You can check what version of Android you have by going to Settings > About phone > Android version (may vary on smartphone), and you can see when your phone may get Android Oreo by taking a look at our guide.

Don’t forget to check out our picks for the 100 best apps for Android or your iPhone.

Update: We added Firefox for iOS and revised the steps.

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