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How To Listen to YouTube without Video using Android

Posted by Jamie on March 19, 2019

Now unlimited data plans seem to be largely a thing of the past, we need to manage what we use our data on. As we stream almost everything now, making your allowance last an entire month can be a case of juggling priorities. Or you can be a little clever how you use your favorite applications so you can get more out of them. This tutorial will show you how to listen to YouTube without video using Android.

Audio uses relatively little data whereas video uses a lot. HD video uses even more so. Depending on what you want to listen to on YouTube, you could be burning through a significant portion of your data allowance. I listen to radio stations on YouTube all the time and they are purposely tuned to show only a static image to use less data. If you’re listening to a playlist or a curated mix, you may not have that luxury.

Listen to YouTube without video

You will likely already know that the YouTube app in Android doesn’t like sitting in the background and will play video regardless of whether you are using another app at the same time or minimize it. This isn’t great for data as it is still downloading the video even if you’re not actually watching it.

You have a couple of options to listen to YouTube without video. One, you can spend money on YouTube Music Premium membership and use audio mode which does exactly what we want. Two, you could install an unofficial app to achieve the same thing without paying for premium or three, you could install a different browser and minimize it during playback.

YouTube Music Premium membership

YouTube Music Premium membership is expensive but offers a 1 month free trial. In return you get ad-free playback, access to lots of music and other content, access to YouTube Originals, the ability to download legally onto your device and a ton of other stuff.

It is expensive though and right now, doesn’t seem to offer the depth of content that Spotify does. It may work for you though so check it out. If you do opt for this, you will gain access to audio mode which just plays the music from YouTube and not video.

Use an app to listen to YouTube without video

As far as I know, there is no officially supported app on the Google Play Store that allows you to strip video from audio and have one without the other. There is an app on XDA Developers that can do it though. Called YMusic, the app lets you play music from YouTube without downloading the accompanying video which achieves our goal.

The official website is where you can download the newest version of the app. I installed in on my Galaxy S7 and it works well. There are no reports of malicious code or anything negative and my version played for a few hours in one sitting without crashing. You have to sideload it as there isn’t a version on the Play Store but aside from that, this app works like a charm.

Playback is clear and it works relatively quickly. It even integrates into YouTube to allow you to search and find tracks to listen to. It uses a version of Jockey Player for playback which is an open source project and supports playlists and all that good stuff.

If you don’t like the look of YMusic, another app called FireTube does a similar thing. You will have to sideload the app as there is no Play Store version but it also allows you to stream audio only and shows a still image instead of a video to minimize download.

Use a browser to listen to YouTube without video

Installing a third party browser such as Firefox will also let you minimize playback and therefore, download volume. I couldn’t get minimizing to work in Chrome properly but if you download Firefox or another browser, it should work fine. There is an element of video download but it seems minimal.

  1. Download Firefox or other browser like Dolphin and install it onto your device.
  2. Navigate to YouTube and start playback.
  3. Minimize Firefox on your phone.

I didn’t analyze how much data this final method used but watched the packet counter on my router. While not a scientific analysis by any stretch, it certainly did not seem anywhere near as many packets streamed through Firefox when minimized as when playing a video.

Those are the three ways I know of to listen to YouTube without video on Android. Do you know of any others? Got any other apps to suggest? Tell us about it below if you do!

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