How to Play YouTube in Background without YT Premium

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YouTube is one of the internet’s biggest hubs for music videos. Most of YouTube’s traffic is on music videos. It is most widely used because of how easy it is to find new songs and it offers good enough quality. However, when using the normal YouTube app, we cannot play the music in background. This feature is only available with YouTube premium. Moreover, the PIP mode of YouTube works in selected regions only. Therefore, follow this guide to learn how to get YouTube Background Play feature without YouTube Premium. It is totally free to use and works flawlessly. Also note that this guide is for Android devices only.

Play YouTube Music Videos in Background

The background playback is one of the most desired features for YouTube. However, it is not available for free users. The reason is obvious. Google wants its users to watch ads. Otherwise, pay for the premium membership to get background playback on YouTube.

In this guide, we are going to use a modified version of YouTube’s Android app. Although, it offers a number of most-wanted features, we are currently going to focus on YouTube background playback only. This special app is known as “YouTube Vanced”. It is released by a group of enthusiastic developers. Both rooted and non-rooted versions are available. 

How to play YouTube in Background [Android]

This method does not work on the official YouTube app. You need to install another app and it is not available on Play Store. Therefore, follow the installation method below to download YouTube Vanced APK and install on Android phones and tablets.

  1. Download YouTube Vanced APK from HERE
  2. Get the latest version. Moreover, check whether you want the app with basic theme or dark theme. 
  3. Put this APK on your phone or tablet.
  4. Then open the file manager on phone and navigate to the folder where your put APK in last step.
  5. Tap on and it and then tap on Install in next window.
  6. If the system asks for permission to Install from Unknown Source, allow it. System asks for this permission whenever you want to install an App from a source other than Play Store.
  7. Once the app is installed, tap on Open button in bottom right.
  8. That’s it! You’ve successfully installed it. 

[Optional] Guide to add Google Account in YouTube Vanced

If you just install the app and try to add the account, it will show an error. Therefore, follow the steps below to add a Google account. It is especially useful if you want to access personal playlists and personalized home feed in this app too.

  1. Download MicroG APK from HERE.
  2. Copy this APK to phone.
  3. Open the file manager on phone and navigate to the folder with APK in it.
  4. Tap on APK and then tap on Install button afterwards.
  5. Give it the install permission if system prompts for it.
  6. Once done, just open the YouTube Vanced app from app drawer.
  7. Tap on avatar icon in top right.
  8. Select the Add account option from here.
  9. It will open Google’s Account login form.
  10. Enter your login details and that’s it!

[Final] Steps to enable Background Playback on YouTube Android App

Once installed, follow the steps below to enable Background Playback in YouTube App on Android.

  1. Open YouTube Vanced App.
  2. Tap on profile avatar in top right corner.
  3. If you’re not logged in then it will open the Settings page directly. Otherwise, tap on the Settings tab in profile window.
  4. From here tap on General. Enable the “Picture-in-Picture” option from here.enable background playback youtube android
  5. Now go back and open “Backgrounds & Playback” tab. Tap on “Playback” here. It will show three options. Either select “Always on” or “Headphone or external speakers” option. It depends on how you want to use it. Always On option will play YouTube music videos in background even on phone speakers. The second option is self-explanatory.play youtube in background android

That’s pretty much it! Now you can listen to YouTube songs in background.

The settings shown above enable Picture-in-Picture mode with Background Playback. This means that when you press the Home button on YouTube, a mini player will pop up. If you want to get rid of mini player and just use background playback, then do not enable Picture-in-Picture option as shown in step 4 above.

Tip: When watching Picture-in-Picture, tap on the mini player once and then tap on Headphones icon to remove mini player. The video will just play in background now. Previous, next, pause, play controls are available in notification bar.

play youtube music videos in background screen off

Some extra Useful Features

  1. Set the video quality low on Mobile data and high on WiFi automatically. Enable this feature in Settings > Vanced Settings > Video Settings > Preferred Video Quality Mobile.change youtube quality on mobile data automatically android
  2. Enable Swipe controls for brightness and volume like MX Player. Enable it from Settings > Vanced Settings > Swipe Controls.
  3. Enable repeating videos on YouTube Android App. Enable this feature from Settings > Vanced Settings > Misc. Set the “Auto Repeat linked to Autoplay” as on. Now, if you disable the autoplay toggle under any video, it will keep playing repeatedly. Alternatively, use the Auto Repeat mode in which you have to manually skip a video. Auto Repeat – Background Playback option enables auto repeat only if video is playing in background. Choose whichever option suits your style of use.play youtube music video on repeat android
  4. The default Android YouTube app does not have an option for repeating. Follow the step 3 to enable repeat mode on YouTube Android.

Conclusion

I myself listen to music on YouTube a lot. Whether driving or at home. Therefore, it was really annoying to not have a feasible background playback feature on YouTube Android app. Although it is still possible via some unconventional methods, none is as convenient as Vanced app.

YouTube Vanced solved three of my major issues. Now I can listen to music on YouTube with screen off or using other apps. Secondly, it automatically changes the video quality to 240p on Mobile Data. Since I do not watch videos while driving, and it saves data, it is a wonderful option. Thirdly, the repeat mode for YouTube. Even on desktop browser, this feature is hidden. Therefore, it is good to have this feature and how easy it is to use.

Huge shoutout to folks over at Vanced for developing this amazing app. 

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