Reader's question: Can you let YouTube run in the background on the iPhone?

Are you using the YouTube app and want to quickly switch to another program to do other things there? Then of course the video stops. The question quickly arises: Can you let YouTube run in the background on the iPhone? - it came to me recently through a message from the reader. Therefore, I would like to give a detailed answer here for everyone who wants to listen to videos on iOS while the display is off or another app is showing. In addition to YouTube Premium, there is also a free option to play YouTube videos on the iPhone in the background;) 

Can you let YouTube run in the background on the iPhone? The answer to this question from the reader is a resounding yes. The ways to the goal are different.

Can you let YouTube run in the background on the iPhone? The answer to this question from the reader is a resounding yes. The ways to the goal are different.

Play YouTube in the background on your iPhone - and pay?

Google offers a subscription for its video and streaming platform called YouTube Premium which can also be purchased as an in-app purchase on the iPhone and iPad. This subscription has several advantages: no advertisements are displayed, videos can be downloaded for offline playback, and videos can also be played in the background. From a purely technical point of view, this can be done using the YouTube app; and free for the first month. However, the following months then cost € 11,99 each with a subscription. But if you don't want to switch off advertising or use YouTube offline, but only want to minimize a video, that's certainly too much for you. 

Here is all information about YouTube Premium: Info page of the platform. And here is a post about other payment functions of the platform: Great chat and membership in comparison.

Alternative: use the iMusic BG App (Free Music) for free

A YouTube premium alternative on the Apple smartphone and tablet is the use of the iMusic BG app for iOS. It is one of those apps that accesses YouTube and plays the audio of videos even when the display is switched off or after it has been minimized. The advantage is obvious: when listening to music, a podcast or audio book, the screen can be deactivated, thus saving battery power. It is also possible to use other apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Safari, etc. in parallel. The disadvantage: the app only shows the video thumbnail and plays the audio. If you want to switch to moving images, you have to switch to the YouTube app. 

With the iMusic BG App (Free Music) you can play YouTube for free in the background and with the display switched off. In addition to the iOS solution for the iPhone, do you also know an Android trick?

With the iMusic BG App (Free Music) you can play YouTube for free in the background and with the display switched off. In addition to the iOS solution for the iPhone, do you also know an Android trick?

You can find the download of the app, which is displayed as "Free Music" after installation in the App Store. There is no version for Android. Android alternatives are mainly offered outside of the Google Play Store, which I find not exactly safe. If you know an Android solution from the official software source, please leave a comment!

[appbox appstore id1131593443]

Inset - more interesting posts on the blog:

The browser and home button trick - doesn't work (anymore)

In this and that guide to running YouTube on the iPhone in the background you will find the reference to the Opera Browser or Firefox for iOS. Since a lot of the guides you can find on the internet are from 2017 or 2018, I believe their information is out of date. Because I have tried the following procedure in Opera, Safari and Chrome, where it was unsuccessful every time (as of May 6, 2019, iPhone X with iOS 12):

  1. Open the web browser app and go to the YouTube website
  2. Start playing any video
  3. Press the home button or side button
  4. Activate the display again and call up the control center
  5. Press play on the media controls to continue playing the video

Regardless of whether it is a tip article from ComputerBILD or instructions from CHIP - this is how the procedure is described. In my test, it didn't work in any of the browser apps. The paused video was displayed in the control center. But when I pressed play, the display switched to my iTunes media. I guess that YouTube and Google respectively put a stop to the procedure with Opera, Firefox and Co. in order to be able to better market the premium package ...

Conclusion: let YouTube videos run in the background on the smartphone

There are a few options for running YouTube videos when you minimize the iOS program or turn off the screen of your smartphone or tablet. You can either book an expensive premium package, which, among other advantages, enables background playback, or you can install additional software that does not reproduce moving images, but does reproduce audio in all usage situations. This is always sufficient for music, podcasts and the like. Do you still have tips and tricks on the subject? Then leave a comment;)

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2 comments

  1. Oliver says:

    Hey,
    The app mentioned in the article is no longer available in the AppStore under the link provided.
    The new link is as follows:

    https://apps.apple.com/de/app/imusic-offline-h%C3%B6ren-music/id1469179531

    Regards

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello Oliver! The app you mentioned is a different one, but it is called the same. But you can see that there are different developers. It is possible that the app has just been submitted to the App Store and is therefore not available for a few days. But thank you for your hint.

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