In this how-to tutorial we will show you two ways to play a YouTube video in the background on your iPhones and iPads running iOS 8.
Once you learn how it’s done, you can sit back and enjoy listening to YouTube playlist videos in the background as you read a book on your device (that’s how we do it). Let’s get started.
Close YouTube App And The Sound/Music Disappears
Try this: Launch the official YouTube app and tap on the play [>] button to watch the video. Next, press the Home button from your device. What happens? You are taken to the iOS homescreen and the YouTube app is closed*, which means the video as well as the audio sound is gone.
To resume video playback, you have to launch the YouTube app again.
You can even try this by launching Safari browser on your iOS device. Just go to the YouTube website and follow the same steps. So what’s the point?
Google’s YouTube player does not officially support playing videos in the background.
Fortunately, because of Apple’s iOS software, we have “tricks” for playing the audio of any YouTube clip on your iPhones and iPads.
Playing YouTube Videos in Background: Here’s How To Do It on iOS 8/7
Before we reveal the background video playback method, you should know a couple of key points:
- Only audio of the YouTube video runs in the background.
- You don’t save any bandwidth or Internet data when YouTube is playing in the background.
- Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch should be running on iOS 7 or iOS 8 firmware. See: iOS 8 Installation Guide.
- Do not expect a media player app (like VLC or iTunes Music) and YouTube app to play audio parallelly. That is never going to happen on iOS devices.
- No need to download any tool or convert videos to MP3 files. These methods work with or without the official YouTube app.
Let’s follow each method:
Method 1: How to Play YouTube Videos in The Background From YouTube App For iOS
Update x1: This method no longer works on the latest YouTube app, as mentioned in the comment section below. We suggest you to try the second method.
Note that we have tested this method on iPhone 5s with iOS 8 installed. You can use the same steps on any iOS 8 compatible device (like iPhone 6, 5s, 5c, 5s 4s, iPad 2 and over, or iPod Touch 5g). Just make sure you have the latest YouTube app on your device for playing videos in the background without problems:
- Open the YouTube app
- Search for a video and play it
- Press the Home button
- Open the Control Center
- Click on the play button
Important: Only iOS 7 and iOS 8 has the “Control Center” option. You can access this by swiping up from the bottom of your screen. See this tutorial: How to Open Control Center in iOS 8.
Tip: New YouTube update for iOS 8 was released in the App Store on Sept. 17th. If you haven’t updated or installed the app yet, now is the right time. Go to the App Store -> search YouTube -> Click Install.
Method 2: How to Play YouTube Videos in Background Without YouTube App
In this method you only need to use the default Safari browser or Chrome. Note that this method may not work with other third-party browsers.
- Open either Safari or Chrome browser
- Type youtube.com or m.youtube.com in the address bar
- Find a video and press the play button
- Press Home button to go back to homescreen
- Open Control Center and tap on the play button
YouTube videos can be of any length and you can resume or pause the video right from the Control Center by tapping the middle button (as show in the screenshot above).
*iOS apps are never closed permanently when you press the Home button. They are still running in the background — some apps are temporarily suspended. To see how to close apps on iOS 8, read our beginner’s guide: Opening and closing background apps.