Wouldn’t it be great if you could check your emails on the phone and also enjoy YouTube videos in the background at the same time? Or, to save battery, you turn off the phone display and YouTube would still continue to stream the audio from the selected YouTube playlist in the background.
Unfortunately, none of this is possible with the YouTube app on Android and iPhone. The app has to be active in the foreground and the phone display should be turned on else YouTube will immediately stop playback. The limitation holds true whether you are playing videos inside the YouTube app or using a web browser like Google Chrome or Firefox.
A few years ago, the Google Play Store listed a bunch of apps - uListen and SuperTube to name a few - that would let you use YouTube as a background music player but they’ve all been removed now.
Also see: Most Useful Android Apps
Both offer a floating video player which essentially means that you can pull out a YouTube video and place it over any other app. It’s like the Picture-In-Picture effect - you can read the New York Times in the browser and watch a movie on YouTube simultaneously.
If you aren’t too inclined to download another app just to play YouTube videos, you can use the default web browser on your phone itself. Here’s how:
- Open Google Chrome or the Firefox browser on your Android.
- Open the youtube.com website and search for any video or playlist.
- Go to the browser menu and choose “Desktop Site” to switch to the desktop version of the YouTube website.
- 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. Just pull down the notification bar and tap the play icon in the drawer to resume playback.
That’s it. YouTube will now play in the background while you multi-task.