Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to check your emails on your phone and watch YouTube videos in the background at the same time? Or, if you turn off the phone display to save battery, YouTube will continue to stream audio from a selected YouTube playlist in the background.
Unfortunately, none of this is possible with the YouTube app on Android and Shopping Mode iPhone. The app must be active in the foreground and the phone display must be turned on otherwise YouTube will immediately stop playback. The limitation holds true whether you play videos within the YouTube app or use a web browser like Google Chrome or Firefox.
Play YouTube in background on Android
A few years ago, the Google Play Store listed a few apps – uListen and SuperTube – to name a few – that would allow you to use YouTube as a background music player but all of them have now been removed. There are several open source options – MinTube and NewPipe for example – that are more efficient and allow you to do more with YouTube than just play videos in the background.
Both offer a floating video player, which means you can pull out a YouTube video and place it on top of any other app. It’s like a picture-in-picture effect — you can read the New York Times in a browser and watch a movie on YouTube at the same time.
Use Google Chrome as background YouTube player
If you don’t want to download another app to play YouTube videos, you can use the default web browser on your phone. Here’s how:
- Open Google Chrome or Firefox browser on your Android.
- Open the youtube.com website and search for any video or playlist.
- To switch to the desktop version of the YouTube website, go to the browser menu and select “Desktop Site”.
- Tap the play button to start the YouTube video and then switch to any other app on your phone.
- YouTube will stop playback. No problem. To resume playback, pull down the notification bar and tap the play icon in the drawer.
- That’s it. YouTube will now play in the background while you multitask.