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How To Play Youtube in the Background on the iPhone [October 2019]

Posted by Kale Havervold on October 28, 2019

Watching videos on YouTube is something that millions and millions of people do on their iPhones and other devices each and every day.

However, a very common annoyance that comes with watching content on YouTube is that it automatically turns off when the app is not in the foreground. That is if you respond to a text or open any other app on your iPhone the video will stop playing.

While of course, the video can’t keep playing when the YouTube app is running in the background, it would be nice if at least the audio continued playing instead of everything just stopping.

Well for a long time, there was a way to listen to YouTube content in the background.

This involved going into your mobile browser of choice and after playing the video for a little bit, you could close the internet.

If done correctly, this would allow you to go into the control center and hit the play button, which would start playing the content you had loaded in your mobile browser.

However, in recent iOs updates, this has no longer worked, which left thousands upon thousands of iPhone users without the ability to play YouTube on the background of their devices.

Thankfully, some iPhone users have discovered a couple of other ways. While these methods might take a little bit longer, they do indeed work.

Now, be aware that Apple and YouTube themselves are actively looking at removing these methods, so some of the methods within this article might not work anymore when you are reading this article.

The motivation for trying to stop be to sell more of its premium YouTube service that

And who knows, maybe there will be some new and clever way to get YouTube to play in the background of your device. If you know of a new method of getting YouTube videos to still play while in the background of your iPhone, please tell us about it in the comments below!

YouTube Premium (formerly known as YouTube Red)

Also, we know that purchasing and subscribing to YouTube Premium will allow you to have YouTube play in the background, but that will cost you some money ($11.99/month as of late October of 2019). 

However, if you don’t mind paying for YouTube Premium, then that is perhaps the easiest and best way to play YouTube in the background of your device.

And it looks like YouTube Premium, which was YouTube Red, is now called YouTube TV.

YouTube TV

But without any further ado, let’s finally look at the few different ways that you can play YouTube content in the background on the iPhone.

Request the YouTube Desktop Site

Instead of just using the standard mobile browser site of YouTube on the iPhone, requesting the desktop site seems to work for some people. The steps to do this are different depending on which browser you have.

On Safari, you simply need to tap and hold the Refresh symbol, which should give you the option. On Chrome, simply tap the 3 vertical dots and select the Request Desktop site option.

Some have reported that this no longer works with Safari anymore, while others say it still does. If it doesn’t work with Safari, try it with another browser, or move on to the next method.

Use Private Browsing

To do this, simply open the Safari browser and go to YouTube. Once there, open up the video you want to have played in the background. Then, you need to convert the session to a private one, and you can do this by tapping on the rightmost icon along the bottom bar and then hitting Private.

This will open up the video in a private session. Next, once the video plays you can exit the browser and still play the audio content by using the control center. Once again, some people have claimed this no longer works, while others claim that it does still work. The only way to know the answer for sure is to try it out for yourself.

Try Third-Party Apps

If nothing is working, you can always try to download a third-party app to help you play YouTube in the background on your iPhone. These apps can help to circumvent YouTube trying to block background content from being played.

A few of these can be found in the App Store, so just choose the one you want to use and follow the steps within the app.

These apps will sometimes get taken down and might even stop working, but another one normally pops up. Also, make sure to do some research on the various apps and choose the one with the best online reputation among users.

Hopefully these methods (or at least one of them) have worked for you so you can enjoy YouTube audio content in the background of your device. Many people are still upset that Apple and YouTube have made it so hard to have YouTube running in the background, but at least there are some workarounds.

While these may be time-consuming and annoying to do, they work, and that’s all you can ask for. It is hard to know exactly why they don’t let us use YouTube in the background (could be because of YouTube TV), but hopefully they eventually make it easier for us.

If you found this article useful, you might find other TechJunkie articles worth a look as well such as How to Embed a YouTube Video in a Google Docs.

If you have any tips or tricks on how to get a YouTube video to keep playing in the background, then please tell us about it in a comment below!

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