Many users are experiencing issues playing YouTube Videos in Background on their iPhone running iOS 11 (or all 10+ versions.) This is especially true if you are running iOS 10.1 and higher on your iPhone. Recently, YouTube (and Google) is enforcing their policy that while using their dedicated apps (for YouTube, YT Kids, and YouTube Music) on your phone or tablet you can’t do anything else while listening to YT’s music and podcasts.
Additionally, Google disabled background playing to push their new signature product, YouTubeRed In this article, we show you how to play YouTube videos in the background on your iPhone without subscribing to YouTubeRed.
Try out each option and find one that works for you
YouTube is actively shutting down the avenues to play YouTube videos in the background for users that do not have a YouTube red subscription. Consequently, what works today might not work tomorrow.
We’re updating this content as we know more and find additional ways and methods. So don’t give up if the first tip doesn’t work. Go down the list of suggestions and hopefully, you find one that works for you!
Another option, Another browser
Use Dolphin, Opera Mini, Mercury Browser, or Opera Coast as your browser for playing the YouTube videos and audio as opposed to Safari or Chrome. Also, if at first your YouTube’s audio stops, return to control center’s music controls to reinitiate playback.
Play YouTube Videos with Dolphin or Opera Mini
- Open Dolphin or Opera Mini
- Type youtube in the address bar
- Navigate to the music or video you want to play
- DO NOT open in App–let the music play in the web browser itself
- If the music has ads, let them fully play while the browser is open
- Once music plays, go to another app or your Home Screen
- If the music stops, open Control Center and tap the play button on the music player to resume
- You can now play youtube in the background, even when your screen is sleeping or locked!
Try a Third-Party
Some of our readers report success with using third-party apps that pull data from YouTube. These include apps like Musi, YTB Player, ProTube, and others. Third party YouTube music player apps circumvent the YouTube website’s attempts to block background play.
Find them on the App Store. When using these apps, make sure you wait until the advertisement finishes and the video you want to listen to starts playing before you press the Home Button to look at other apps.
Also, sometimes there’s a brief bit of silence after pressing Home and transitioning between the active app and working in the background. And, if the music cuts off either return to the app and press play to continue OR swipe up control center and tap the play button.
Simply download each video or music and put them locally on your iDevice. YouTube is unable to prevent people from playing locally stored media (at least not yet!)
Requesting the Desktop Site
Another way that’s currently working is requesting YouTube’s Desktop Site from your browser. How you request the desktop site is different for each browser. For Safari, go to the youtube.com and then tap and hold on the Refresh symbol in the address bar. This brings up the option to Request Desktop Site. This tap and hold on Refresh works in Firefox as well.
Update: It looks like YouTube (Google) discovered these “desktop mode” tricks and shut them down. But it’s always worth a try to see if it works for you.
Another way to Request Desktop Site in Safari is through the Share Button at the bottom. Tap that button and then swipe through the bottom row until you find the Request Desktop Site button.
Bringing up the Desktop site always takes some time, so be patient. Don’t just assume that it isn’t working. Wait a bit.
Once the Desktop Site loads, locate what you want to play and press play. Depending on the content chosen, it may need to load ads first. Once your music or video is playing, bring up control center and double press Home to navigate to your Home Screen from there or any other open app.
All mobile browsers offer a way to get to their Desktop Site, for Chrome tap the three verticle dots in the upper right corner–that’s the Chrome Settings Menu button. Then select Request Desktop Site from the options. Once requested, follow the same instructions for Safari (listed above.)
Play YouTube Videos Using Private Browsing
This workaround also clears the current song in your control center and replaces it with YouTube content. If you are using YouTube in Safari, make sure to use a Private Browsing session to pipe the YouTube music to the background. To do so, please follow the steps below.
Update: It looks like YouTube (Google) shut down using private browsing sessions as well. But it’s always worth a try to see if it works for you.
Step – 1
Open your Safari and go to YouTube.com. Open up the video that you want to play in the background.
Step – 2
Next, convert the Safari browser session to a Private session by tapping on the icon at the rightmost bottom corner as shown below. Tap on Private and choose Done to confirm. This opens up the YouTube video in a private session. When you have the private session ON, Safari will appear gray or dark instead of the usual white.
Step – 3
Once the video starts playing, you can access your control center by exiting out of Safari and swiping up on your screen. Press the Play button to continue playing the video in the background.
If for some reason, your Safari is not able to pipe the video over from YouTube in private browsing mode, clear the website history from Safari by going to Settings > Safari > Delete History and Website Data. While in the Safari Settings, Toggle the setting for Block Pop-Ups and keep it to ON.
Once you have cleared the Safari history, restart your iPhone and try loading YouTube in Private Safari Session and check if you can pipe the video to the background.
No Time? Check Out Our Video
What’s Going On?
It’s not clear why YouTube doesn’t let us pipe music into the background using regular Safari session. When playing the video using standard Safari, it prompts us to get a YouTubeRed subscription to achieve this. We are hoping that iFolks will continue to enjoy music on the iPhone background using these alternative methods.
- Jan found on his iPhone 8 that when he opened the YT app, pressing the sleep/wake button twice kept the sound playing. See if this tips works for your model (it does not work on the iPhone X)
- Ditch the standalone YouTube app! And instead, open YouTube in a browser of your choice and hit play. Once it starts playing, exit the browser by pressing the home button. This cuts off the sound. To start it again, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up Control Center. In the player, you should see the name of the YouTube clip open in your browser. Then press play.
- So everyone knows that when you play a music video on your iPhone using youtube in Safari, the music stops playing as soon as you hit the home button or the side screen lock button. To fix this, sign into your account and then click the music video. After that, click the flag report button on the bottom right. A little screen pops up–IGNORE IT (don’t click anything on it.) Now, go ahead and click the home button or the side screen lock button and yippee, the music still plays! Works Only in Safari
- This worked for me. Download Opera Mini then open YOUTUBE in a private window. Next, play your selected video THEN press the Home button and swipe left and hit play. Worked for me!
- Firefox worked for me. Open YouTube in Firefox, pick your video, and at the bottom of the browser, select “request desktop view.” Play the video then immediately hit the home button. Open control center and press play again. If the video URL isn’t showing in control panel the first time, go back to the video in Firefox, make sure it’s playing before you hit home again and open the control center. You should see the URL in the control center and be able to press play for background playing.
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.