How to play YouTube in the background on Android and iOS

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YouTube is the internet’s replacement for the TV, so it’s only natural that we’d use it as our background noise provider, however Google doesn’t make that easy on mobile devices. Unless you have a YouTube Red subscription, YouTube only plays as a foreground app, meaning you can’t use your phone and listen to music or podcasts on YouTube at the same time. Well, unless you cheat a little.

How to play YouTube videos in the background on iOS and Android

I stumbled upon a rather amusing new way to get YouTube videos playing in the background while testing the Google Pixel 2. The Android version of the Telegram messaging app can play YouTube video links directly, without needing to send you out to another app. This is all fine and conventional, but the fun starts when you minimize Telegram or even turn the screen off entirely. The audio from the YouTube content keeps going. With this little trick, I can just message myself anything I want to listen to (rather than watch) and leave it playing while I do other things with my phone. That’s especially kickass with one of the many

Here’s a list of steps to do it yourself, starting with iOS:

  1. Download the Dolphin web browser to your iOS device.
  2. Open www.youtube.com in Dolphin.
  3. Navigate to the video you want to listen to and press play.
  4. Exit the Dolphin app and you’ll be able to resume playback from the iOS Control Center.

And on Android:

  1. Open www.youtube.com in the Chrome browser.
  2. In the three-dot menu at the top right, check the “Request desktop site” box.
  3. Navigate to the video you want to listen to and press play.
  4. If you’re shown a warning saying YouTube wants to send you notifications, accept it.
  5. Exit the Chrome app and you’ll be able to resume playback from the notification menu.
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It’s obvious Google knows that being able to just listen to audio from YouTube is a desired feature, which is why the company reserves it as a perk for YouTube Red subscribers. Browsing around online, you’ll also see quite a few other methods for enabling background play, some of which Google has already neutralized. But even so, the present workarounds for both Android and iOS users are laughably easy. Google would probably prefer that you don’t circumvent its systems, but hey, if it’s that easy to do, why not?

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07eb062daa4934b44ff797d5099d61ea - How to play YouTube in the background on Android and iOS
Muhammad Irfan Raza
Irfan Raza is Editor at TechWafer covering Everything about Apple including Mac, iPhones, iMac, iMac Pro, MacBook, and How-tos.

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