How to listen to YouTube with the screen off

How to listen to YouTube with the screen off

Want to listen to YouTube with the screen off? Well, it is a tricky thing to achieve because as soon as your screen switches off, YouTube automatically pauses whatever is playing. The result? You can't just listen to videos while on the go. But what if I tell you that there are still a couple of ways you can play YouTube in the background with the screen off?

We've outlined the best methods below. 

There's no setting to solve this issue in the default YouTube app but do note that YouTube does offer the option to listen to videos with the screen off if you subscribe to YouTube premium. But then, why pay for something when we can achieve the same results for free?  

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Use a web browser

To watch YouTube with the screen off without paying any money, or without installing any app, you can just use a free web browser app like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. This method should work on all devices.

  1. Download and install Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browser on your phone (your device probably already has Chrome, but the Firefox link can be found below).
  2. Go to the YouTube website within the browser, tap the settings (three dots) button at the top right of the page and tick desktop site
  3. Once you have completed the steps above, tap on a video to play it, and it will continue to play even after you lock your phone. 
  4. Note that the first time you lock the screen, the music playback will stop. However, you will now be able to see playback control buttons on your lock screen.
  5. All you need to do now is hit the 'Play" button and start listening to YouTube with the screen off.
Listen YouTube screen off
Use your browser to play YouTube videos with the screen off/ © NextPit

If playing YouTube videos off a browser doesn't appeal to you, there are few more methods to go about it. 

Install NewPipe: an open-source app for background playback

The second way in which you can listen to YouTube with your screen off is to install an app called NewPipe. Now, downloading this app is not a straightforward procedure as it is not available via the Google Play Store. I have also noticed that the app isn't as stable as I would like it to be. Simply put, proceed further only if you really do not want to use the aforementioned browser method. 

To install NewPipe, you'll need to check the alternative app store, F-Droid. In case you are apprehensive about this, do note that F-Droid has been around for a while now and is widely known to be a safe place to download Android apps. 

To download NewPipe, go to the following link to and search for NewPipe and download the Newpipe APK file. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the app.

Do note that your browser might block you from installing Newpipe since it wasn't downloaded via the Play Store and most probably, you will get a message that reads: "For your security, your phone is not allowed to install unknown apps from this source."

If you see this message, go to the "Settings" option just beneath this message and toggle the "Allow from this source" option to on and continue with the installation.

Installing NewPipe app from F Droid. Do note that the app could be buggy on some phones / © NextPit

Once installed, open NewPipe and search for your song using the search bar at the top.

NewPipe's background playback setting continues with the screen off. / © NextPit

Once installed, search for the YouTube video you want to playback, and you will be able to achieve your goal. As mentioned earlier, NewTube isn't flawless, and I have had instances where the app there an error message and simply won't work. 

Use FloatTube

One option that doesn't involve straying from the Play Store is FloatTube. You can go to the Google Play Store, search for Float Tube and install the app. Once installed, just search for a video that you want to play with the screen off and then hit Play.


Get a YouTube Premium subscription 

If you do not mind paying a small and would like to avoid these hindrances, you can subscribe to the new YouTube Premium (formerly Red) subscription service. It provides offline and background access to content along with an ad-free YouTube experience.

How to play YouTube in the background on iOS

If you are using an Apple iPhone running iOS, the process is a little bit different. Basically, iOS does not make it easy for you, but there is a workaround. You will have to abandon your default Safari browser first and download an alternative. Simply follow the steps below.

  1. Download an alternative browser for your iPhone, such as Opera or Dolphin.
  2. Once you are into your new browser, open the mobile version of YouTube.
  3. Now search for the video you want to play in the browser. It's important to stay in the mobile version of YouTube here.
  4. Once the video is playing, opening another app or locking your screen will cause the video to stop. That's when the trickery comes in. Swipe to the music player and press play on the audio controls.
  5. Now, the video will continue to play even if you switch apps and lock the screen.
ios control center
You can trick a third-party browser into playing YouTube in the background via the control center on iOS. / © NextPit

Let us know in the comments if you know of any other ways to listen to YouTube with the screen off.

This article was last updated on January 20, 2021, with new information. Older comments have been retained.

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  • Annabelle Iris 3 months ago Link to comment

    Saved my time :) Thanks

  • Adrian yarks 6 months ago Link to comment

    On Firefox for Android, install an addon called "Video Background Play Fix". It works really good on youtube or any other video you play.

  • RowanRosh 7 months ago Link to comment

    Nice one...!!!

  • Joeblow Jul 5, 2020 Link to comment

    NewPipe does not play with the screen locked. There is no setting mentioned and if you read the FAQ is states that it does not have that feature

  • Vaizard Kurosaki Feb 13, 2020 Link to comment

    Thanks for sharing

  • berry johnson Jan 28, 2020 Link to comment

    Thanks for sharing this useful information and I noticed that my battery is running much more then past.

  •   25
    Deactivated Account Jun 12, 2019 Link to comment

    I am using YouTube Premium 😎. All niche features available to me including background play.

  • Rick James Mar 17, 2019 Link to comment

    Thanks for letting us know about NewPipe. It works great for wanting to play youtube in the background while the screen is off

  • FKG00gleUsuCc Dec 6, 2018 Link to comment

    I don't know if i can post this but what the hell, you can use Youtube Vance is a modified version of Youtube (and yes modified means H..K), no root needed is totally safe. downside you need root to login (i'm not totally sure about this haven't tried it yet).

  • srd Oct 24, 2018 Link to comment

    Good advice!

  • Teressa Peter Sep 11, 2018 Link to comment

    Knowledgeable read. Thanks for sharing.

  • Waqar Ghafoor Sep 8, 2018 Link to comment

    Wow, what a useful tip you have shared with us
    Thanks alot

  • Marc Charmois Aug 3, 2018 Link to comment

    Thanks a lot :-D

  • Walter Jul 24, 2018 Link to comment

    I use TVlc. It does a decent job with only a few ads.

  • jan głąbinski Mar 7, 2018 Link to comment

    No Pause Lock on google play. lock your phone without pausing active app

  • ihate iPhones Feb 10, 2018 Link to comment

    Thanks the newpipe worked for me i think i might get malwares of it but worth it :)

    • Someone Erewhon Feb 27, 2018 Link to comment

      You're not going to get malware from F-Droid apps - it's a pretty respectable software repository.

  • Digi Nik Jan 20, 2018 Link to comment

    Great trick, Now I can listen the top songs on youtube while driving... :D Thanks for the tips.

  • z b Jan 16, 2018 Link to comment

    Firefox works for me. Thanks

  • Nikolai Spirov Jan 14, 2018 Link to comment

    Great Thanks , mozilla tips work perfectly on S8

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