Listen To Audio From YouTube Videos In The Background On Your iPhone or iPad [iOS Tips]

Listen To Audio From YouTube Videos In The Background On Your iPhone or iPad [iOS Tips]

YouTube is synonymous with online video. As such, it’s a great resource to find music by your favorite artists, instructional videos, and even video podcasts. You may, however, have noticed that when you press the Home button, the app quits and you are no longer able to watch or listen to the video playing in the background.

Actually, that’s wrong. You *can* in fact listen to a YouTube video in the background, with a fairly neat workaround, brought to you by a frequent reader of Cult of Mac.

Launch the YouTube app and find a music video, or one with an audio track you want to listen to in the background. Once the video starts playing, press the Home button on the bottom of your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. The YouTube app will quit playing, as usual. Do not feel disheartened.

Simply double press on the Home button to bring up the multitasking bar, swipe to the right to find the media player buttons. Notice the YouTube app icon to the right? That shows you’ve got the app ready to roll. Simply tap the right-facing triangle play button, and your video will restart, letting you listen to the audio without seeing the app itself or the video therein.

Now you can pull up that crazy long podcast you’ve been meaning to listen to, play it in the background, and continue to surf the web, write emails, whatever – anything that will allow music to play in the background. As a bonus, you can even get playlists to work with this technique, but you’ll have to hit the forward button in the media player to go to the next track in the playlist. All in all, though, a pretty slick trick.

Thanks, Barry!

  • CharilaosMulder

    Unfortunately, this nice trick I’ve been using for quite some time, does NOT work on the YouTube app that Google just released. It’s one of the many downsides we’ll have to face using YT on iOS6.

  • henrymaxm

    lol I’ve been doing this for the longest time. People didn’t know this?

  • Zach Oxley

    Unfortunately, this nice trick I’ve been using for quite some time, does NOT work on the YouTube app that Google just released. It’s one of the many downsides we’ll have to face using YT on iOS6.

    I assume this is because you can both watch a video and simultaneously look at the now playing/suggested/comments section below it. It sucks, but maybe Google will be able to find a way around it in a future update. :-/

  • MacLove

    Thanks a lot!!! This was news to me! It works! Maybe someone can answer this Q:

    Is there a way to Auto Play YouTube Playlist on iOS either as Front Most, or and in the Background? My Workaround for that is History in YouTube App. not the New Google YouTube App, but Apple’s Built In App. Alas it doesn’t go to the Next Video, i.e. no Auto Play! So I have to press Next Button in the Multitask Area, and then press Play for it to play. If I don’t press Play, it only shows the Next Track Name, which I think is silly‚Ķ But then, “Rome was not built overnight”, so it’s all Work In Progress! BTW, one can leave that Multitask Area visible for a quicker access!

    I hope iOS 6 fixes all this, so that we don’t need all these workarounds!!!

    Bravo Cult of Mac for sharing this great tip! I will pass on a Link to this page!

  • Nico Steger
    Unfortunately, this nice trick I’ve been using for quite some time, does NOT work on the YouTube app that Google just released. It’s one of the many downsides we’ll have to face using YT on iOS6.

    I assume this is because you can both watch a video and simultaneously look at the now playing/suggested/comments section below it. It sucks, but maybe Google will be able to find a way around it in a future update. :-/

    Unfortunately no. It doesn’t work anymore because it’s a third person app and no longer a standart Iphone App. Third person apps only work when they are open :/

    But If you really want only listen a youtube video, use safari and choose your video there. It works the same way as with the normal youtube app. Full-screen video -> home button -> double click home button -> play :)

  • Switch_Wireless

    Great tip! Have you tested it with the new YouTube app as well?

  • Athosel

    Or you can use an app that plays only the sound from Youtube: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/play-em-audio-player-for-youtube/id766805134?mt=8

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, Creative Screenwriting, Shelf-Awareness, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef, and send him a cookie once in a while; he'll really appreciate it.

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