Play YouTube videos in the background on your mobile phone – that’s how it works

With a trick, you can also have YouTube videos run in the background on your smartphone. We’ll show you how it works.

A video that you play via the YouTube app on your Android mobile phone or iPhone is automatically ended as soon as you switch or close the app. Because the app requires it to be open in the foreground. However, this is far from practical if, for example, you just want to hear the music from the video or play a talk format that you just want to listen and watch. However, there is a trick on both Android and iOS that you can use to work around the problem.

Play YouTube videos in the background on Android & iOS


  • Open the YouTube website on your smartphone using a browser app such as Chrome or Firefox

  • Now tap on the three-dot menu and activate the “Desktop website” option.

  • Start the desired YouTube video using the play button.

  • Close the mobile browser by tapping the home button.

  • While the video is now running automatically in Firefox, it is paused in the Chrome browser (but it can still be accessed in the background).

  • Swipe down from the top of the home screen to access the notifications menu / quick settings.

  • Here you can now see the media playback of the browser, tap on the play button to start the video.

  • The video is now playing in the background and you can only hear the sound. Now you can open other apps or deactivate the screen and still hear the YouTube video.


  • Open the Youtube website via Safari on your iPhone / iPad.

  • Now tap on “Aa” at the top left of the address bar and then on “Request desktop website”.

  • Start the desired YouTube video using the play button.

  • Close the browser by tapping the home button or swiping up.

  • A picture-in-picture function has been available since iOS 14, the video continues to play in a small window and you can use other apps or lock the screen.

  • You can control the playback by opening the control center and tapping on “Pause” or “Play”.

  • You can also close the picture-in-picture and have the full screen available. Playback runs through the control center.

Youtube app in the background

If you want to use the YouTube app in the background, you have to take out a YouTube premium subscription. Youtube Premium enables the “background playback” natively. The option can be found in the app settings under “Background & NewsABC.nets”.

The paid subscription to Youtube Premium offers advantages such as video downloads for offline viewing, the videos are ad-free and you can use Youtube Music Premium. The subscription costs 11.99 euros per month.


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