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How to listen to YouTube with the screen off

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© nextpit

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.
  6. In case you have fingerprint lock enabled, you may not be able to access the playback control. In such a scenario, unlock your phone and then you can control playback from swiping down the quick settings menu.
youtube background playback
Use your browser to play YouTube videos in the background / © 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.  To install NewPipe, you'll need to go to NewPipe's website and download the APK directly from there. Choose the version that says Android 4.4+.

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.

Once installed, open NewPipe and search for your song using the search bar at the top. Play the song and then tap on the option that says 'Background'. That's it!

youtube background playback
NewPipe is a great app that lets you play YouTube videos in the background with the screen off/ © NextPit

Use FloatTube

One option that doesn't involve straying from the Play Store is FloatTube. However, you will need to be prepared for annoying adds that pop up occasionally. 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. You will need to give permission to the app to draw over other apps. Like New Pipe, Float Tube also lets you control playback from the lock screen.

Get a YouTube Premium subscription 

If you do not mind paying a small fee 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.
youtube background playback

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 in August 2021 with new information. Older comments have been retained.

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Nicholas Montegriffo

Nicholas Montegriffo

A cyberpunk and actual punk, Nicholas is the Androidpit team's hardcore gamer, writing with a focus on future tech, VR/AR, AI & robotics. Out of office, he can be found hanging around in goth clubs, eating too many chillies, or at home telling an unlucky nerd that their 8th level wizard died from a poisoned spike trap.

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  • FileRehab 3
    FileRehab Dec 2, 2022 Link to comment

    Amazing, thanks.

  • Joetox Goaline 1
    Joetox Goaline Sep 1, 2022 Link to comment

    Listening with screen off to Recorded live performances doesnt work with the desktop mode option. Hate youtube.

  • 1
    null Jun 13, 2022 Link to comment

    FloatTube works until the screen turns off..

  • 1
    Christopher West May 4, 2022 Link to comment

    This is amazing! Thank you so much!

  • 2
    Maria Haris Oct 18, 2021 Link to comment

    I am really thankful to you for sharing such a information.

  • 2
    YossiD Oct 1, 2021 Link to comment

    What about streaming video that is not YouTube? I'd like to continue hearing the audio of streaming lectures, etc. with the screen off or when switching to other apps.

  • 2
    Adrian yarks Jan 21, 2021 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.


  • 7
    RowanRosh Dec 30, 2020 Link to comment

    Nice one...!!!


  • 1
    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

    • 1
      RowSah Oct 9, 2022 Link to comment

      This comment is now outdated... NewPipe works amazingly on my Android screen locked and all. It must have come a long way because its by far the best solution on this list.

  • Vaizard Kurosaki 1
    Vaizard Kurosaki Feb 13, 2020 Link to comment

    Thanks for sharing

  • 7
    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.


  • 1
    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

  • 2
    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).

    Vishal Suri

  • 1
    srd Oct 24, 2018 Link to comment

    Good advice!

  • Teressa Peter 3
    Teressa Peter Sep 11, 2018 Link to comment

    Knowledgeable read. Thanks for sharing.

  • Waqar Ghafoor 7
    Waqar Ghafoor Sep 8, 2018 Link to comment

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

  • Marc Charmois 1
    Marc Charmois Aug 3, 2018 Link to comment

    Thanks a lot :-D

  • 1
    Walter Jul 24, 2018 Link to comment

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

  • 1
    jan głąbinski Mar 7, 2018 Link to comment

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

  • ihate iPhones 1
    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 :)

    • 2
      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.

      Vishal Suri

    • 1
      RowSah Oct 9, 2022 Link to comment

      I realize this is an old comment, but I have NewPipe and it works great. The other solutions on this list are not great.

  • Digi Nik 1
    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.

  • 7
    z b Jan 16, 2018 Link to comment

    Firefox works for me. Thanks

  • Nikolai Spirov 1
    Nikolai Spirov Jan 14, 2018 Link to comment

    Great Thanks , mozilla tips work perfectly on S8

  • 1
    Theo Bucur Sep 30, 2017 Link to comment

    Galaxy s7 edge android 7.0 is working. Thank you!

  • premier69 1
    premier69 Feb 10, 2017 Link to comment

    shit, the guy maintaining the youtube background playback xposed module has stopped. he says something about force closing youtube and then it would work but not for me.

    see, this is a true loss for the community.

    • 2
      Someone Erewhon Feb 27, 2018 Link to comment

      Yeah, but Xposed has been losing relevance with the advent of Magisk - it has a YT client in it's repository that allows background playback.

  • 2
    Adam Kowalski Jan 6, 2017 Link to comment

    Google Chrome has got "desktop version" option -_-

    Horia Puscuta

  • 4
    fufu Dec 13, 2016 Link to comment

    Try No Pause Lock on google play. Great app that simply allows you to lock your phone without pausing active app

    jan głąbinskiPavlobez nazwy

    • 1
      jan głąbinski Sep 28, 2017 Link to comment

      good one, thanks

  • moms spaghetti 1
    moms spaghetti Nov 6, 2016 Link to comment

    Easiest way...
    1. Uninstall your youtube app (or disable and remove all updates)
    2. Uninstall your firefox (if you already have it)
    3. Google Firefox Android version 45 .apk and install.

    4. Play all your youtube clips minimized :D

    Step 1 might be all you need to do, I didnt test it. I just did all 3 steps and it works

    • 1
      Melquior Chaves Nov 21, 2016 Link to comment

      Just installing Google Firefox Android version 45 .apk was enough for me to get youtube videos running on the background. I have Samsung S7

    • 1
      Picsabaszo12 Nov 29, 2017 Link to comment

      Not works. I did all the steps, and it's still stops playing.

  • Eujohn Antonio 1
    Eujohn Antonio Oct 31, 2016 Link to comment

    Odd. I have a HTC desire eye running 6.0.1 mm. And everytime I lock the screen with YouTube app on. After a few seconds it plays it in the background. I have the latest version of YouTube installed.

  • 1
    Dam It Oct 21, 2016 Link to comment

    Desktop Firefox works on my xperia z3 phone! Thank you so so much!

  • Toby 2
    Toby Oct 12, 2016 Link to comment

    I use AudioPocket.


    • Danielle Reffett 1
      Danielle Reffett Oct 17, 2016 Link to comment


  • 2
    Elad Cohen Oct 10, 2016 Link to comment

    Media Viewer Small app Not really works on Sony devices 😤
    It's not working on my Z5 compact...
    About the app from Google play store:
    v2.4.0 onwards, Youtube Background Playing is not allowed due to Youtube API requirement.
    That means no more screen off / minimized playback.
    For Dailymotion and Twitch, background playback is still available.


  • 2
    Don Poka Oct 10, 2016 Link to comment

    There is an app that handles that really well, and it REALLY turns off screen while keeping YouTube playing. It still requires YouTube to be in the foreground when you turn the screen off with proximity sensor.

    This app is pretty new but has over 10 K users already.

    Just search for Pocket Lock in Google Play - the icon is a blue chameleon.
    It really really works, so no need to open Firefox or use paid YouTube features.

    Paco InurretaDoncho Popkrastev

    • 1
      Doncho Popkrastev Oct 10, 2016 Link to comment

      I find that app quite interesting - seems to be working well on my Nexus 6 .
      Turns the screen Off but keeps YouTube playing.
      Keep in mind that's only in pocket, I assume with the help of proximity sensor.

    • 12
      Paco Inurreta Nov 18, 2016 Link to comment

      This worked! I just reflashed my tablet and Im trying the no root/xposed way of life for a time. Your recommendation was very helpful, thank you!


  • Ahm A. 2
    Ahm A. Oct 9, 2016 Link to comment

    Gr8 job but not necessary

  • Abo 7med khelo 1
    Abo 7med khelo Sep 30, 2016 Link to comment

    Thank you, but is this solutions work also with radio via mobile?

  • Tammy Buchanan 1
    Tammy Buchanan Aug 29, 2016 Link to comment

    Oh, Scott, you have possibly increased my GPA by .5 points! Firefox works like a charm. YouTube wants us to pay $10.50 per month for the privilege of keeping videos active during screen locks, EVEN when streaming. To make matters worse, the purchase process is buggy beyond belief and the actual download feature is even buggier. Yes, I initially watch all my online class lectures, but I also fill mundane time during driving and housework with an audio review of material my professor obviously considers important. Also, I am often able to grasp complex concepts the second or third time I hear it. THANKS!!!

    • Ali Thair 1
      Ali Thair Apr 27, 2017 Link to comment

      Didnt work for me. Did it on my iPhone 6. Installed firefox. opened up Youbtube--> Request desktop site --> Turned of screen but it stops playing then.
      Help please :(

  • Mark Bulmer 1
    Mark Bulmer Aug 18, 2016 Link to comment

    Great ! Now I can listen to meditation music, to operate in my frame of Zen, without random buttons being pushed as it rests in my shirt pocket.

  • Shane K 1
    Shane K May 18, 2016 Link to comment

    My God, the firefox method works. My device is the Galaxy S6 Edge+, so can only confirm for this phone. Open firefox, click the top right button, choose request desktop site. Then go to, search for your vid, play, then turn off the screen. Audio will continue to play. Great option for streaming albums.

    • Ali Thair 1
      Ali Thair Apr 27, 2017 Link to comment

      Didnt work for me. Did it on my iPhone 6. Installed firefox. opened up Youbtube--> Request desktop site --> Turned of screen but it stops playing then.
      Help please :(

  • Skin1980 1
    Skin1980 May 13, 2016 Link to comment

    search for Screen Off Keep Playing, its free and works very well on Amoled Screen

    • 1
      Emerald Dec 29, 2016 Link to comment

      I found this to be the best app for the job and works with youtube app.
      It must say ok for the first two things, and you must enable turn off screen by notification bar.
      When its black, now you can put your phone down.
      All other mentioned apps failed; this one works.

  • 1
    Bad Bob Apr 21, 2016 Link to comment

    I went with the firefox method but requires a lot of tweaking to reduce the number of clicks (so I can turn off my screen as quickly as possible).
    1. Install app 'Open Link With'.
    2. Install app 'Firefox'.
    3. Install firefox addons: uBlock Origin (to block ads), Desktop by Default (so videos play automatically), and Youtube's Autoplay No More (disable playing of up-next videos).
    4. In Youtube, click the Share icon for a video, choose 'Open Link With', choose Firefox, and set to always open.

    So now you just need to share a video from youtube and it will automatically play in firefox without ads. ONLY issue I can't figure out is how to stop firefox from opening links a new tab. So if you have firefox playing a video and you share another link from youtube, firefox will play the new video in another tab and now you have two videos playing at the same time. I've tried some tweaks in about:config but maybe they don't work in the android version.

    You can leave out the addon 'Youtube's Autoplay No More' if you want enjoy continuous playback.

    • 1
      Bad Bob Apr 22, 2016 Link to comment

      I actually may have found a better way:

      When using the web-version of youtube within chrome, play a video, pause it, pull down the notification bar, find the video title with a play button, and press play button. The audio from the video will play and will continue to play even when you turn off the screen / lock the phone.

      To quickly send a video from the youtube app to chrome, install 'Open Link With', share the link from youtube to the app, and set it to always open with Chrome.

      • Shon Gray 1
        Shon Gray Apr 23, 2016 Link to comment

        I cant get the to work on my Note 3. Tried on Crome with as well as on just the only time it appears in the notification bar is when playing in If I pause it it goes away. If I pause and play from notification bar it still pauses when seen turns off. Sad p2

  • Nicola Doroszenko 1
    Nicola Doroszenko Apr 6, 2016 Link to comment

    Hi, I have a problem I have done the Mozilla Desktop Version of YT on my samsung tab A, but even on playlists it will still only play 1 music video at a time when I close my Tablet case to listen on my headphones so please help me

    • PJ Bear 1
      PJ Bear Apr 6, 2016 Link to comment

      This is what I did: While in the Mozilla Firefox app..I clicked on the option tab on the upper right..then clicked "Request Desktop Site". This should solve the the videos will play even when you turn off the screen. I would also recommend you click the upper right tab again and click Tools and then Add On's and then download AdBlock for it will stop ads from interrupting your music. But..after doing this..make sure the check is still on "Request Desktop Site" or it won't work. Good luck!

      • Shon Gray 1
        Shon Gray Apr 23, 2016 Link to comment

        Desktop site doesn't work on my Note 3. I mean it loads the desktop site but videos still pause as soon as the screen times out.

      • 2
        Don Poka Oct 10, 2016 Link to comment

        I think you should go with this Poke Lock app - just search for Poke Lock in Google Play. This app turns screen off when you put phone in your pocket - no matter what app is opened, and it keeps it running . So ti will keep YouTube running while screen is Off. Try it - it works!

  • 1
    John Jingleheimer-Schmidt Mar 2, 2016 Link to comment

    For your favorite videos and offline viewing or listening copy/paste YouTube URL to also I'm using an HTC 1 m8, it glitches if I pause the video and lock the screen I can restart the video from the pull down menu. Useful in the car as I can then use my Bluetooth voice commands to start navigation and continue listening while the map is shown

  • 1
    Ronnie Racine Dec 30, 2015 Link to comment

    Just force the desktop version on a browser. Make complaints to the YouTube app until they get it right.

  • Andrew Albano 6
    Andrew Albano Dec 27, 2015 Link to comment

    Viral lite app! Play youtube when screen is off

  • Andrew Albano 6
    Andrew Albano Dec 27, 2015 Link to comment

    VIRAL LITE app! you have not mentioned this one

    • PJ Bear 1
      PJ Bear Mar 13, 2016 Link to comment

      I could not find VIRAL LITE on the google play store.

  • Alexio 2
    Alexio Dec 27, 2015 Link to comment

    We have in the Philippines is YOUTUBE RED, is that the same as MUSIC KEY?

    • Paolo 17
      Paolo Dec 28, 2015 Link to comment

      "Youtube Red is currently not available in Philippines." Or is it available to you?

      And yes, YT Red is the, err, fuller version of YT Music Key. With GP Music All Access included in the monthly bill.

      • Alexio 2
        Alexio Jan 3, 2016 Link to comment

        2 weeks ago it was available not it wasnt anymore

  • 2
    Darek Does Stuff Dec 27, 2015 Link to comment

    I would, but I really hate all that adds they push on me, so I prefer to listen to the music via other means.

  • 1
    João Lourenço Dec 15, 2015 Link to comment

    Cool, thanks for the tips, great article ;)

    You can also use a little app called "Black Screen of Life" in order to turn off the screen while YouTube stock app keeps playing.

    In my humble opinion, it is easier and more practical than the methods you presented, as it works with the stock app.

    • 1
      sebarkh Jan 17, 2016 Link to comment

      Not working on Sony SGP611. It will not work with devices without proximity sensor.

    • PJ Bear 1
      PJ Bear Mar 13, 2016 Link to comment

      This did not work with my LG G4 and YouTube app. When you try to leave the YouTube app to click the black screen icon..YouTube simply stops playing. If anyone knows of a YouTube player app that plays when the phone is off please let me know.

  • wolf wolf2 2
    wolf wolf2 Oct 14, 2015 Link to comment

    very helpful tips,thanks.keep up the good work.

    Scott Adam Gordon

  • 5
    Richie Hernandez Oct 13, 2015 Link to comment

    Excellent Tips! Thank You!

    Scott Adam Gordon

  • Junaid Q. 17
    Junaid Q. Oct 13, 2015 Link to comment

    Nice trick thanks

    Scott Adam Gordon

  • 2
    magnificence Oct 13, 2015 Link to comment


  • Loony 17
    Loony Oct 12, 2015 Link to comment

    YouTube background playback via Xposed

    Scott Adam Gordon

  • BulletinTech 2
    BulletinTech Oct 12, 2015 Link to comment

    Thanks for sharing this Guide

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