One of the most common uses for YouTube is as an audio-only music player. The problem with doing it on smartphones and tablets is that the app does not allow playing music in the background, which is tremendously annoying as it obligates you to keep the app open and unlocked at all times. Luckily, there are several ways to get out of this pinch so you can listen to YouTube in the background.
Over a browser
One of the classic ways to get around this block on YouTube is to use the available browser apps on Android. The solution on our most downloaded browsers has varied over the different versions and for that reason we’re going to propose a pair of concrete options you can use regardless of which version of the web browser you have.
If you use the classic Mozilla browser, you’ve got a pair of interesting options for playing YouTube in the background. In prior versions of Firefox we had the option to listen to YouTube music automatically just by tapping the Home button on our Androids. A shame that now we’ve got to turn to a pair of different tricks, depending on how you prefer to do it. In the first place you can install the “Video Background Play Fix” add-on that tricks YouTube when you use Firefox to open the site so you can play video in the background. An extremely smooth solution that works with the latest version of the app with no problem.
The other method Firefox has to handle this inconvenience might seem a bit more clunky but it works equally well. After going into the YouTube webpage and selecting a video, you’ve got to access the Firefox menu (the ellipsis situation at the top right corner) and select the “Request Desktop site” option. That done, the site will load in the non-smartphone version, and you’ll have to replay the video if it doesn’t load automatically. All that’s left is to tap the Home button and the video will keep playing even when you don’t have it active onscreen. [Download APK]
If you’re faithful to the Google browser you have just one option to play YouTube in the background. Just follow the same instructions as the second method we’ve given for Firefox: go to the app menu when you’re in YouTube and tap “Request Desktop site.” One of the perks of using this method is that you can pause or keep listening to the music to roll out the notifications bar. [Download APK]
Using apps that play videos with floating screens
In the vast Android universe there are several apps that let you view YouTube in a floating screen and thus do other tasks with your smartphone while your favorite song is playing or you’re listening to the latest episode of a podcast that you love. We’ve selected the ones that seem like the best options for that, though each one has its pros and cons. That said, recall that if you have a Xiaomi device you’ve got to manually accept the permissions for the floating screens in each app.
Awesome Pop-up Video
The creators of this app weren’t kidding with the flashy name they gave their “son” and Awesome Pop-up Video works marvels in letting you play YouTube videos with a floating window. It’s got a complete YouTube search engine and a ton of customization options so that the screen doesn’t get in the way. The problem is that it doesn’t work with videos longer than 5 minutes unless you pay money, which takes points away from this useful app given that there are other good alternatives out there. Still, it’s a splendid option for enjoying a bunch of music in the background. [Download APK]
This app takes the design of the YouTube app and replicates most of it, which helps the interaction of everyone used to using this famous app. Its simple handling is where it stands out most, as you just have to play the video to get a pop-up window that you can move as desired. That said, this mini-screen has the problem of having quite a large and rough frame that robs the app of some of its appeal, especially when you use small or medium-size smartphones. [Download APK]
The way AudioPocket works is a bit different from what we’ve seen up to this point: though you’ve got the option to search for music over the app, it’s got a search tool that doesn’t work entirely well according in delivering what you’re looking for. Hence in AudioPocket you’ve usually got to use the Share feature that apps like YouTube offer. Instead of sharing the link over WhatsApp, Telegram, or any other app in your list, you can do it with AudioPocket. This will open a floating window where you pick from a ton of options and also make it smaller so it doesn’t bother you while you’re using your Android for other tasks. Although using it is more of a pain than the other two apps, at least you’re sure that it’s going to play the video you want given that it’s linked straight from the YouTube app. [Download APK]
Using apps that let you play videos in the background
Using floating windows is fine for enjoying your music, particularly when it comes with video, but there must be a better way to listen to it without worrying about it taking up a good chunk of the screen on your smartphone or tablet. To do so we think the best option for listening to music is to play it in the background and thus unlock the screen without missing the music that’s playing at that precise moment. And the option we’ve got here to do it is probably the best one possible.
We’ve blogged before about how great NewPipe is, but we should highlight it again because it plays YouTube videos in the background. It’s something as simple as searching for the video you want and tapping the Background button to play it behind your current window. Whatever it is you’re listening to, it will play in the background with no problems. But NewPipe also gives you the option to enjoy a floating video screen if you wish. This is an all-purpose app about which we only have good things to say. Plus I can personally vouch for it: I already use it as a replacement for the YouTube app, which I can recommend for everyone who doesn’t have the latest smartphone to appear on the market. [Download APK]