Play YouTube in the background with this trick (mileage may vary)

by: Robert TriggsMarch 18, 2016

Although YouTube is all about video streaming, there is plenty of content on there that doesn’t actually require you to watch any footage, such as music and pod casts. Unfortunately, you can’t minimise the YouTube app without pausing the current video, and using third party app workarounds can be a little tedious. Fortunately, YouTuber G3ORGE has found an interesting little trick, or should we say bug, using Google’s Chrome browser that allows you to leave videos playing in the background.

First up, you will need to make sure that notifications are enabled for Chrome under the general app settings, which should be on by default. If you see the little volume icon appear when playing a video, then you’re all good to go. Navigate to the mobile YouTube website and pick whatever video you want to listen to. Don’t open up the YouTube app, stay in Chrome.

Next up, you must pause the video and then switch to another tab or app. The volume notification will remain in place, hit play, and you can continue to listen to the video in the background. It’s that simple, but the video at the top can also guide you through the steps. You can switch in and out of apps and the video will still play, and playback can even be controlled from the lockscreen.

YouTube video running in background

However, we have experienced mixed results trying out this trick on a number of different smartphones. While we’ve had success on OEM devices like the Mate8, Mate S, and LG G3, our testing has found that Nexus devices are bit more temperamental. The N Preview on the Nexus 6P doesn’t seem to like this trick and neither did our Nexus 5 running Marshmallow. Perhaps this has something to do with the way notifications are handled.

Even so, it’s a quick and easy trick to try out, so give it a go and see what happens. And please let us know your results in the comments below.

  • Andres Castellanos

    Tested on nexus 5x with 6.0.1 and it works for me

    • Radeczki Gergő

      I checked it out too and it works :D

      • Frantz Frantz86

        Or you can use flyperlink is more easy

        • Frantz Frantz86

          I forgot to mention even the screen is off the video will playng

  • basejumpbr

    Play youtube on background??? Crazy..your data plan go end fast…

    • Dmad Dário Dias

      I have unlimited

    • EngineerGunter

      T-mobile just added it to their binge on deal… So nope. That and I’m pretty much always on wifi…

  • Csendes Marcell

    Works fine on Nexus 6 (MM), even if i turn off screen sounds good.

    Gonna try later on N, but need to boot N version of Android first, because of Dual Boot ^^

  • Luca

    Chrome Beta on Nexus 6P with 6.0.1 MHC19I, and it doesn’t work.

  • Marian Fatu

    Same nexus 6 6.0.1. Ty for this info :)

  • Nik

    Works on LG G4 with M

  • Teo Jia Rong

    Works with Samsung Galaxy S6 on Lollipop! Should work fine on SGS7 on Marshmallow too I guess :)

  • Vishobh VV

    Not on my Nexus 6P :-(

  • Jumperone

    cant login in this app

  • Hysen Parampil

    Tested on Nexus 5X, 6.0.1 March Update. As soon as I hit pause button, the notification disappears from the notification bar. So , Doesn’t work for me .. !!

  • Michael Allen

    My Nexus 6 automatically does this in the YouTube app, and there is a setting to turn background play on or off.

    • Pep_Surf

      Where can i find that setting?

    • EngineerGunter

      Pretty sure that’s a YouTube Red thing… The YouTube app gives you that option if you’ve paid for it!

  • Manuel Melgar

    It works on OnePlus Two with Oxygen 2.2.1 (Android 5.1.1)!

  • Emmet

    So many tabs open on that phone. I can’t have more than 2 tabs open at once.

    • patt


  • Paulo Pechula

    Note 5 Lollipop 5.1.1. Working like a charm.

  • EngineerGunter

    Works on my OnePlus One running CM13 nightlies, Chrome v49.

  • Faizan Khalid

    Time to leave Firefox for mobile

  • Anon

    works well on n5 on mm cataclysm

  • Felix Perez

    Easier, root and install XPOSED. There is a module called Youtube background playback that activated Youtube Red Background playback. Plus this reduces data consumption as it only streams the audio.

    • Jan ยาน

      +1 Xposed “Youtube Background Playback” because it only streams audio, as it uses the Youtube RED’s Audio background streaming feature PLUS it works with playlists and has a controllable notification with prev/next/pause/play

  • Patrick Smith

    Works on Nexus 6 with 6.0.1.

  • rjzwan

    I’ve been doing this a long time with Internet radio. Always worked on my Nexus 5 with Lollipop and Marshmallow. Now on my 6p it still functions without any problem…

  • Román Rodríguez

    Or if your device is rooted you can just install Xposed framework and download the youtube background playback module.

  • Siva

    No one is using OGYouTube 0_0 ??

  • Kishore Venktesh

    OMG… I have been using this for weeks and i thought it was a glitch with CyanogenOS…

  • caucasionally

    If you’re subscribed to Google Play Music you have access to YouTube Red which has a few nice features. There aren’t any commercials, videos continue to play in the background no matter what, even with the screen asleep, and you could save videos for offline viewing. You also have all access to the YouTube Music app. Lots of nice upgrades with the subscription.

  • PromethianKnight

    Works on my Note 3 running stock Lollipop =)
    Thanks AA!!! =D

  • josuearisty

    I have been using this for some days!

  • joel barrera

    I found out of this trick last week, but for me it was because of my Azus Zenwatch. You can control the playback right from the watch. I though it was an Android watch glitch.

  • xtriker360

    Works on my note 4 :D

  • Dylan Buckner

    Works on turbo 5.1

  • Sun Sand

    Works on Lenovo K4 Note!

  • Sam

    I like the ability to hear for most part but check out the video when i want to. Display Power Saver app lets me do that, it even works for other video applications and browser videos too. It seems to be app agnostic.

  • Shawn Gommer

    Works well on Nexus 6p running Marshmallow

  • Rajeev Nakka

    Working in Lenovo A 6000 Plus :)

  • Maxim Kearley

    Just tested on my 6p and it works :)

  • T Redd

    Works on my note 4

  • Clarissa Sepulveda

    Galaxy S5 is a go.

  • Chris Nexus7

    Looks like after a Chrome update just today, this no longer work at all on my Nexus 7. The speaker notification disappears as soon as focus goes from the tab you have youtube paused on.

  • Swastik

    Doesn’t work for my Lenovo K3 Note

  • Lukasz

    Doesn’t work for me in my new Galaxy S7. Whenever I switch to another chrome tab the music stops and the sound icon vanishes.

    • web

      Same for me on s6 edge, but i use multiwindow and i reduce the window with youtube to listen & look internet with chrome… Or i listen to radios with tunein

  • Ryan

    I can background YouTube videos on my Nexus 6P using Firefox 47 running on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Native YouTube app and Chrome seems to put artificial limitations in the functionality of YouTube video and audio playback.

  • shantonu

    not works on miui

  • Dana Simmons

    Not working on fully updated Z2 tablet.

  • Giovanni Ghaxaq

    doesnt work on one plus 2 :/

  • T.V. Vignesh

    This did not work for me in Chrome (Moto G4 Plus). I rather installed Firefox for Android and then it worked without doing anything (without having to pause or anything)