How to play YouTube in the background on iPhone or iPad

play YouTube in the background

In this day and age of multitasking, playing music while doing other tasks, when you are on the move is a common occurrence. Almost all music applications, such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music allow this.

In this article, we will discuss how to play YouTube in the background using a premium account and a method if you want to avail yourself of the same feature without making a premium account or subscribing to the music app.

How to play YouTube in the background on iPhone or iPad

YouTube is one of the most popular platforms across the globe, with a multitude of videos, music, movies, and tv shows for all ages. YouTube does not ordinarily allow its users to play music when the app is running in the background.

However, YouTube’s recent developments allow you to play its content in the background but this is only available for premium users or for subscribers to the Youtube Music app. There are other ways you can play music from YouTube and in this article, we discuss three different ways you can do so.

Method 1: Using The Web Bros

In this method, you do not use the Youtube app but the Safari web browser.

  1. Switch on your phone and open the default browser of your iPhone, Safari.
  2. Go to the YouTube website.
  3. Go to the video of the music that you want to play in the background.
  4. On the search bar found on the top of the browser window, there will be an ‘Aa’ icon. Click on it.
  5. When you click on the icon a drop-down menu will appear. From the options available, click on the one titled ‘request desktop site’.
  6. Play the video.
  7. When you leave the web browser to resume your work or lock your phone, the video will pause.
  8. Go to the Control Center of your device. This will either be a drop-down option or a pull-up option depending on the iPhone you have. (If you have a TouchID iPhone, the menu will appear when swiping up from the bottom of the phone.)
  9. The title of the video you played should be visible on the playback widget. Click on the play button.

Once you play the music again, it will keep playing, even when you lock your phone or use another app without any interruption.

Please note that YouTube auto-play does not work, nor do playlists or queued videos when you use this method. To go to the next video or song, you need to reopen safari and follow the methods written below again.

Alternatively, you could play a longer compiled video if you want a longer session of music listening.

Method 2: Using YouTube Premium

This is one the most straightforward methods as it uses the feature that YouTube provides for its premium subscribers.

For this method, you need to subscribe to YouTube Premium. There are various plans that you can avail of under YouTube Premium. The monthly plan has a price of 11.99 dollars, and a family plan that allows six different accounts has a cost of 17.99 dollars.

Additionally, if you are a student you can avail of the student discount and get a monthly plan of 6.99 dollars.

  1. To sign up for the premium account, visit the YouTube Premium homepage.
  2. On the homepage, you will see a blue button on the screen that says ‘Try It For Free’ Click on the button.
  3. On clicking the button, you will be sent to the payment window. Enter in the information of your card, and other payment details. Additionally, you will also have to enter your zip code.

youtube premium

  1. Once you enter your details, you will be charged one dollar. This is charged just to ensure that all the information you have entered is valid and functioning. You will be refunded the dollar charged within a few days. Additionally, you get the first month off on signing up for YouTube Premium, so the charges will start only after the month.

Once the whole process is complete you will have a YouTube Premium account, with all the features it has, including playing YouTube music in the background.

To play music in the background, follow the remaining steps.

  1. Switch on your phone and navigate to the YouTube app.
  2. Search for the video you want to listen to and play the video.
  3. Once the video starts playing, you can leave the Youtube app and even lock the phone.
  4. You can control the playback from the Control Center. To play or pause the audio, simply press and hold the music tab in the Control Center.

youtube playback ios

You can use this method to listen to Youtube in the background for as long you are subscribed to YouTube Premium.

Method 3: Using Picture in Picture Mode

This method uses the Picture-In-Picture feature that is available in the Youtube application for Youtube Premium users. Please note that for this method you need to have a YouTube Premium subscription and not just a Youtube Music subscription.

Follow the first half of the method written above to get a Youtube Subscription if you do not have one.

  1. Once you have a subscription, open your device and go to the YouTube app.
  2. On the top right corner of the app window, there will your profile picture. Click on it.
  3. On clicking on it, a menu will appear, click on the option titled ‘Settings’.
  4. In the next window that opens, click on the option named ‘General’.

youtube ios settings

  1. The window that opens, will feature a list of options with toggles next to them. Scroll till you find one, titled Picture-in-picture, and turn the toggle on.
  2. Now go and play the video you want to play in the background.
  3. When the video begins to play, exit the app by clicking the Home button, or swiping up on the screen.

youtube ios pip

  1. The video will continue to play and will be displayed in one corner of your phone’s display.
  2. To minimize the playing window, click on the edge of the screen. The audio of the video will still keep playing. You can lock your screen or open other applications.
  3. Now you can listen to Youtube music in the background and can control the audio of the video both from the lock screen as well as the Control Center.


In this article, we discussed three different methods through which you play Youtube in the background. The first method does not need a premium subscription and uses a web browser. The second method uses the YouTube premium feature, to play YouTube music in the background. The last method uses the picture in picture method to achieve the same.

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