How To Play YouTube in Background [Android and iPhone]

Deyan Georgiev
Deyan Georgiev

Updated · Oct 14, 2022


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Although YouTube is one of the most varied platforms in the world, most people use it as their main music streaming app.

But, once you close the app or lock your phone, the music shuts off.

Luckily, there are a few workarounds that can let you play YouTube in the background.

Here’s how to do that for free on both Android and iOS devices.

How To Get YouTube To Play In The Background on iPhone and Android

There are three ways you can listen to a video in the background: You can either sign up for YouTube’s paid subscription service, play YouTube in a browser, or enable Picture-in-Picture mode on your phone.

Youtube Premium

YouTube Premium is the platform’s paid subscription service that comes with all the bells and whistles that YouTube has to offer.

With YouTube Premium, you get:

  • Ad-free streaming.
  • The ability to continue playing YouTube in the background on your iOS and Android while using other apps.
  • The ability to download YouTube content for offline watching.
  • An automatic subscription to YouTube Music Premium.

Still, YouTube Premium’s biggest selling point is that it also allows you to lock your screen while watching YouTube videos on your iPhone or Android.

All of that will cost you $11.99 a month after the one-month free trial.

If you’re willing to pay for YouTube Premium to play YouTube in the background on both iPhone and Android, here’s how you can subscribe to the service:

  1. Launch YouTube on your device.
  2. Sign in to your account and select your profile in the top right corner.
  3. Select Get YouTube Premium from the list of available options.
  4. Select Try it for free.
  5. Choose a Premium plan (Individual, Family, or Student) and tap Confirm.
Did you know? There are alternative methods to downloading music and videos from YouTube.

Alternative Browsers

If you don’t want to sign up for YouTube Premium, you can use a browser that lets you

keep YouTube videos playing in the background for free.

The type of browser you can use depends on whether you have an iOS or an Android device.


iPhone users can play Youtube videos in the background in the Safari browser or the Opera Touch app. 

Opening the YouTube app via the browser lets you play YouTube videos with the screen off on your iPhone because you’re using desktop view, which allows videos to be played in the background.

To open YouTube in a desktop view on your browser:

  1. Open the Safari browser on your iPhone and go to the YouTube website ( If this redirects you to the YouTube app, you might need to uninstall it.
  2. Find the video you want to play and start playing it.
  3. Tap the aA icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen and select Request Desktop Website
  4. This will cause the page to reload and open in the desktop view. Tap the video to start playing it again. 
  5. Close the browser. The sound will stop, which is normal.
  6. Open the Control Center and press the play button in the box that shows what music is currently playing.

You will now be able to listen to YouTube videos with the screen off on your iPhone, browse other pages on your Safari, and use other apps.


You can use the same method to play YouTube videos in the background on your Android device for free via Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

To access the desktop view on your browser:

  1. Open Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox on your Android device and go to YouTube’s website (
  2. Open the video you want to play. 
  3. Go to Settings and tap the three dots in the upper-right corner. From here, select Request Desktop Site.
  4. Once the page reloads, tap to play the video again and close the browser. This will cause the music to stop.
  5. To allow your Android to play YouTube with the screen off, pull down the notification bar and tap the play button in the media player.

Picture-In-Picture Mode 

If the browser trick isn’t working, you can enable YouTube background play via the “picture-in-picture mode.”

This mode essentially minimises any videos that you play on your device– whether via a browser or through an app – once you navigate away from YouTube or another website.

You can drag the viewing windows anywhere on your screen and go back to YouTube (or another website) by tapping on it twice.


On iOS devices, picture-in-picture mode is only available to users who have a YouTube Premium subscription and are on iOS 15.0 or later.

To enable PiP mode and let the YouTube app play in the background:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Under General, find Picture-in-picture.
  3. Tap Start Pip Automatically.
  4. Go to your YouTube app settings and tap General.
  5. Toggle Picture-in-Picture to on.


Android users can use PiP to play YouTube background without a YouTube Premium subscription, but the content they can watch is limited. For example, you won’t be able to watch music videos.

Even then, the free PiP access is only available to US users. Anyone outside of the US that wants to use PiP to listen to Youtube videos in the background needs to sign up for YouTube Premium.

To play YouTube videos in the background on your Android Phone via PiP mode on Android:

  1. Go to Settings and tap Apps & notifications.
  2. Tap Advanced, then Special app access, and select Picture-in-picture.
  3. Select YouTube and tap Allow picture-in-picture.
  4. Go to your YouTube settings.
  5. Tap General and toggle Picture-in-Picture to on.

Note: You need the latest version of the YouTube app for the PiP mode to work.

Before you go, if you're tired of ads interrupting your YouTube viewing experience, check out our guide on how to watch YouTube without Ads.

Bottom Line

If you want to gain access to every feature that YouTube has to offer– including the option to play YouTube in the background– you can opt for a YouTube Premium subscription.

If you are part of the massive daily viewership and want to watch videos on YouTube in the background for free, you’ll need to turn the desktop view on your browser or enable PiP mode, which comes with some limitations.


How to minimize YouTube on Android?

You can minimize YouTube on Android smartphones running Android 8.0 Oreo and later by enabling the Picture-in-Picture mode.

How to watch YouTube while using other apps?

You can watch YouTube videos while using other apps by subscribing to YouTube Premium, playing YouTube on a browser, or enabling PiP mode.

How to play YouTube with the screen off?

To play YouTube with the screen off, you need a YouTube Premium subscription. You can also use browsers such as Google Chrome and Firefox on Android, or Safari and Opera on iPhone devices.

How to keep YouTube playing in the background for free?

If you’re wondering how to play YouTube in the background for free, there are two ways to do that: via a browser or by using PiP mode.


Deyan Georgiev

Deyan Georgiev

Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.

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