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

Using this simple trick with Google's Chrome browser, you can listen to YouTube videos playing in the background while you do something else.

Published onMarch 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.