YouTube is the most popular video streaming site in the world. There are other video streaming services such as Vimeo that have done reasonably well but have never even come close to YouTube’s popularity. YouTube has even become the second most popular search engine!
Owned by the powerhouse Google company, YouTube makes its revenue through advertising by being partnered with YouTube stars who possess very large audiences. Ad revenue on videos of over 1 million views generates a ton of income, so they really want you to see those ads, hence paying for the ability to turn off the screen.
The point of the YouTube platform is for you to upload content that you find interesting and see if you can gather an audience. Topics on YouTube range from gaming to music to art and anything in between. The possibilities are endless here. In fact, the platform has become so popular that Facebook is trying to create its own video service to compete with YouTube.
However, with all of that content available to users, it makes sense that viewers would want to watch it without having to be on their phone all the time. Maybe they want to sleep with the content on in the background, or possibly even want to walk around with their phone locked in their pocket.
Personally I use YouTube to listen to music in my car, but that means that my screen is on the whole time I am listening. And as much as I like seeing flashes of music videos out of the corner of my eye, it really isn’t the best set-up. One of the reasons to use YouTube for the main music source is the desire to not pay for a streaming music service, so paying for YouTube premium isn’t a realistic option.
Unfortunately, YouTube automatically shuts off if you lock your phone.
That said, there are ways around this. In this guide, we’re going to showcase how you can work your way around the phone lock system and ensure you can listen to YouTube videos regardless of if you’re on your phone or not.
How To Play YouTube With Phone Locked
There are a few different ways to play YouTube with your phone locked, regardless of your reasoning as to why you need to do it. Maybe you want to save battery or just want to listen to music or an interview while you sleep. It doesn’t matter why – we’re going to help you do so.
YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red)
The premium streaming service from YouTube is the official way to play content with your screen locked. At $9.99/mo. this service is yet another paid subscription. If that isn’t for you, there are a few workarounds.
For someone who uses YouTube a lot, it may be worth looking into YouTube Premium. There are other benefits other than just the locked screen videos.
Each of these tips depends on your mobile operating system, but don’t worry, we have tips for both iOS and for Android.
Play Through Mozilla Firefox While on Android
This is a simple workaround. If you’re using an Android device, pull up a YouTube video within the Mozilla Firefox browser instead of via the YouTube application.
If you do so, you can even lock your phone and the device will continue to play the audio anyways. That said, you cannot control playback while your phone is locked. This means you have to unlock it to skip through the video, pause it, play it, or do anything else.
Fortunately, Mozilla’s Firefox application is a free download that you can take advantage of whenever you’d like. It’s a great, sleek, light browser that is sheer and utter bliss to use.
Play Through Google Chrome Browser On Android
The Google Chrome Browser on Android workaround is similar to the Mozilla Firefox one. Simply pull up the Chrome Browser – which should come preloaded on your Android phone – and watch the video in question.
If you lock your phone, the audio should continue playing. However, you can control the pause and play features via your lock screen thanks to Google’s integration – a nice, if not unintended touch.
To be fair, if you want to do this, you need to ensure Google Chrome is in Desktop Mode on your Android device. To do so, simply open your Google Chrome mobile browser, and head up to the three dots on the top right of the screen.
Tap that and select “Desktop” from the resulting list of items. It will check a box, and the page will refresh into a larger, desktop-themed website. Do this if your video playback is still cutting out when using the Chrome Browser in mobile mode.
However, if you have the browser in desktop mode, you won’t be able to control the playback features via the lock screen which is unfortunate. But it’s better than not being able to lock your screen at all.
Play Through the Safari Browser On iOS
While the previous two tips have been for Android users, this one is for you iPhone and iPad users who love YouTube.
You can use the Safari web browser to pull up the desired video and play it from there. If you do use Safari on your iPhone or iPad to play YouTube videos, the audio content should playback even through your locked screen.
iOS users should also be able to use the Mozilla Firefox browser to accomplish the same feat. You should also be able to control playback with the free Firefox browser as well.
If you’re using an Android device and these workarounds are not effective, you can always download a third-party app that allows you to do so.
Applications such as the Background Player for YouTube  access the YouTube application on your phone and play content while the screen is locked. For this to work you must allow it to appear on top of other apps. This may get in the way of other applications but it does work.
There are several options available in the Play Store, by accessing the ‘Search’ option, simply type in YouTube player background and they will populate.
When downloading any third-party application it’s advised to read the reviews. Some applications on the Google Play Store will drain your battery life, data, or bombard your phone with ads.