How to Run YouTube in background

In the following tutorial, learn how to leave YouTube running in the background on Android and iOS. The feature is only available to YouTube Premium subscribers.

How to leave YouTube in the background

Using Picture-in-Picture

Picture-in-picture (PiP) is a function that makes the video player smaller and keeps the window floating on the mobile screen. So, you can open other apps while watching or listening to some YouTube content. The window can still be dragged to any part of the screen and the video will continue to be displayed on top of other apps.

On Android, picture-in-picture is enabled by default on all devices running Android 8.0 (Oreo) or higher. To use the feature, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the “Settings” app;
  2. Go to “Apps and notifications” and then “Advanced”;
  3. Tap on “Special app access” and go to “Picture-in-picture”;
  4. Tap “YouTube” and then “Allow picture-in-picture”;
  5. Open a YouTube video and tap the Home button. If the system is configured for gestures, drag your finger from the bottom to the top to minimize the YouTube app;
  6. The video will play in the PiP window.

For iPhone users, YouTube still doesn’t have picture-in-picture turned on by default. However, those who subscribe to YouTube Premium can enable the feature through their desktop or mobile browser. Just follow the tutorial:

  1. Access the website “youtube.com/new” (without quotes) from the browser on PC or mobile;
  2. Log in with your account details. Remembering that you need to be a YouTube Premium subscriber;
  3. Scroll down to the “Picture-in-picture on iOS” section;
  4. Click on the “Take a test” button;
  5. Open a video in the YouTube app and you’re done. It will play in picture-in-picture mode.

You may need to repeat the tutorial at some point in the future, as the feature is still in the testing phase. If this happens, just go back to this article and do the steps mentioned above again.

Leave YouTube in the background, no video

Another alternative to leaving YouTube in the background is to simply minimize the application window on your phone. In this scenario, only the audio will continue to play, but you can also browse other apps, just like in picture-in-picture mode.

This is also an exclusive feature for YouTube Premium subscribers. If you prefer, you can leave the function permanently activated by accessing your account on the platform.

  1. Open the YouTube app on your phone;
  2. Tap your profile picture in the upper right corner and go to “Settings”;
  3. Select “Background and downloads” and go to “Play in the background”;
  4. Choose the option “Always on”;
  5. You can still check “External Headphones or Speakers”, to enable the feature by default only when the phone is connected to a headphone or external audio output.

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