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Play YouTube videos in the background on your phone

Want to listen to music while doing something else? The YouTube app won't let you, but try these workarounds for Android and iOS.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida

Keep the music going in YouTube, even while you do other things on your phone.

Sarah Tew/CNET

I have no idea what Brendan Benson's entire "Lapalco" album is doing on YouTube, but I do know I love listening to it.

Just one problem: If I exit the YouTube app, the music stops. That's a bummer if I want to do something else while listening to a favorite band or playlist. 

Luckily, you have a couple of easy options depending on your phone and, in some cases, how much you're willing to spend. Here's how to keep a YouTube video playing in the background.

Option 1: Workarounds for iPhone and Android 

As noted by The Verge, there are workarounds for both iOS and Android that let you play music in the background. On Android all you need to do is access YouTube in your browser.

On an iPhone or iPad, you'll need Dolphin, a third-party browser for iOS. We tested both methods and they worked just as described. 

Option 2: Get YouTube Red

If you have a YouTube Red subscription ($9.99 per month), you can use the YouTube app in the background for this very purpose, since it's one of the benefits of the subscription. YouTube Red also gets you the YouTube Music app, which acts more like a streaming service, such as Spotify. Here's everything you need to know about YouTube Red.