Many iPhone and iPad users like to play YouTube videos in the background, often for listening to music or listening to a podcast or talk show. For example, maybe you found a great song on YouTube that you want to enjoy while playing a game, or while practicing a foreign language, or maybe you simply want to listen to the YouTube video in the background while you’re doing anything else. Playing YouTube videos in the background of an iPhone or iPad is desirable for many reasons, but it’s no longer as simple as just pressing play and then returning to the Home Screen of iOS.
How to Play YouTube Videos in Background on iPhone and iPad in iOS 12 or iOS 11
- Open Safari on the iPhone or iPad
- Open the YouTube video you want to play in the background
- Tap the Sharing action icon, it looks like a box with an arrow flying out of it
- Find and choose “Request Desktop Site” in the action options
- This will refresh the YouTube video into the desktop version of YouTube
- Start playing the song or video in YouTube, and wait for any advertisements to complete
- Now press the Safari Tabs button, it looks like two overlapping squares
- Switch to a new tab, or create a new tab and load any website in that new tab (like this one)
- Now return to the iOS Home Screen and exit Safari, either by pressing the Home button or with the Home gesture
- Enjoy your YouTube video playing in the background! The sound will continue to play as you perform other tasks, and you can pause and resume playback through the Control Center of iOS
If you’re having any difficulty, just repeat the steps. It’s important to use the “Request Desktop Site” feature in iOS Safari, as is switching to a different tab in Safari before leaving the app. Leaving out either step will cause the background video playing to fail. Also, make sure you watch the YouTube video in Safari and not the YouTube app for this to work as described.
How to Play YouTube Videos in Background of Locked iPhone or iPad
Another trick to play YouTube videos in the background works to play the audio while the device is locked, meaning the screen is off and the device isn’t in use. This backgrounds the YouTube video playback but of course the iPhone or iPad isn’t in use once the device is locked, instead the device can be unattended. This trick works with either iPad or iPhone as well, as long as they have the official YouTube app installed in iOS. Here’s how this trick works:
- Open the YouTube app, then start playing the video you want to play in the background
- Now press the Power / Lock / Sleep button quickly twice, the video should continue to play in the background while the device is locked
Play YouTube Videos in Background on iPhone and iPad with Other Browser
Another option that works to play YouTube videos in the background is to use a different web browser.
For example, many users report luck playing YouTube videos in the background from the Opera, Dolphin, and Firefox web browser apps in iOS.
Your results may vary, but share with us what works for you in the comments below. The method used in the screenshots here is the first approach outlined above, involving Safari Request Desktop -> Play YouTube Video -> Switch Safari Tabs -> Leave Safari to continue playback in the background.
As you probably have noted, the task is of backgrounding YouTube videos and listening to the audio track elsewhere in iOS is becoming more challenging, and many of the methods that used to work to play backgrounded YouTube no longer work in iOS. For example, the method of playing YouTube in the background on iOS 9 and iOS 8 does not work in iOS 12 or iOS 11, so instead users of the new operating system will have to follow the instructions outlined above.