Back in the old days, you could minimize the YouTube app while it played in the background. Unfortunately, Google got rid of this feature. Today, you need to keep the YouTube app open and active at all times.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to get around this problem. It’s more of a loophole than a legitimate “hack”. However, it legitimately allows you to play YouTube videos in the background of Android.
Credit for this trick goes to Vlad Savov at The Verge, who stumbled upon it while testing the Google Pixel 2.
And no, you don’t need to root your phone for this trick to work. In fact, you don’t really need any tech experience or skills.
How It Works
Basically, this trick involves a little loophole. The Android version of the Telegram messaging app can play YouTube video links directly. You can play YouTube videos within Telegram without needing to open another window or app.
If you play a YouTube video from your Telegram app, you can minimize Telegram or even turn the screen off entirely – your YouTube video will continue to play.
The only real “catch” with this trick is that you need to message a YouTube link to yourself in order to play audio in the background.
However, as Savov pointed out, YouTube has a number of 24/7 live streaming radio stations. You can send yourself a link to these stations in Telegram, then keep that link close by whenever you need some background music at work but want to turn off your phone’s display or work on other windows on your phone.
You Can Also Use the Split-Screen Feature
If you don’t feel like using the Telegram method listed above, then you may want to try the split screen feature. The Samsung Galaxy lineup of smartphones allows for split-screen multitasking. You can have a YouTube video open while simultaneously working on another activity.
However, as you’ll come to realize, it’s not nearly as seamless as minimizing the window with the Telegram trick we mentioned above.
Or Open YouTube in Chrome
Alternatively, you can play YouTube videos by opening YouTube in your Chrome browser, then clicking the Request desktop site menu from the three dot menu in the top right of your screen.
- Navigate to your desired video, then press play.
- You may see a warning saying that YouTube wants to send you notifications. Accept that warning.
- Then, exit the Chrome app. The video will naturally pause when you exit the app. However, you can resume playing by pressing the “play” button from the notification menu.
Why Did Google Get Rid of YouTube’s Background Playback Feature?
YouTube used to make it easy to play videos in the background. You used to be able to start a video in the YouTube app, then minimize the app while the video continued to play.
However, this practice seemed to stop around the same time that Google got into music streaming. After Google launched Google Play Music, it wanted to discourage users from using YouTube as a music playback platform.
That’s why you need to resort to tricks above to get YouTube videos to play in the background on Android.