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iGBHow-toHow to play YouTube in background on iPhone or iPad (2024 Guide)

How to play YouTube in background on iPhone or iPad (2024 Guide)

I love video content, but I prefer playing YouTube in the background while gaming, browsing, or texting on my iPhone. This allows me to listen to music, podcasts, or other videos without watching the visuals – even after locking my iPhone.

While YouTube requires you to get a Premium subscription to use this feature, some nifty Safari tricks let you do the same for free!

If you are excited to learn more about these two methods, here’s a detailed guide on how to get YouTube to play in the background on iPhone or iPad.

How to play YouTube in background on iPhone using Safari

If you use the free version of the YouTube app, the video will stop playing the moment you push the app to the background or lock your screen. That’s where Safari comes to the rescue.

In Safari, you can play the audio of any YouTube video in the background without even signing in! Don’t believe me? Try it yourself:

  1. Open Safari → Go to the YouTube website.
  2. Start playing a video of your choice, and tap the playback screen once.
  3. Select the box icon at the bottom right of the video to enter full-screen mode.
  4. Then tap anywhere on the screen to view video control options.
  5. Now, tap the picture-in-picture icon at the top left and move to another window.

    Enter in PIP mode from top left icon
  6. The audio should start playing in the background. If it doesn’t, swipe down on your screen to access the Lock Screen or Control Centre and tap the Play button.

Interestingly, the above method works on a few other iPhone browsers as well. For instance, I tried it with Chrome and got amazing results.

Moving forward, there’s another Safari trick you should know about. It involves using the desktop view of the YouTube website to play audio in the background.

  1. Start playing a video on the YouTube website.
  2. Tap the aA icon next to the address bar at the bottom.
  3. Select Request Desktop Website from the pop-up.
  4. Swipe down to access the Lock Screen or Control Centre and tap the Play button. If it stops at any point, just tap the Play button again.

    Request Desktop Website to enter in PIP mode on iPhone

While both these solutions work well, repeating the steps for each video can get tiresome. Also, while testing, I didn’t enjoy the process. Sometimes, I had to switch to landscape mode just to access the PiP icon. Further, I had to sit through the ads before starting a video.

So, to save time and get a more reliable option to play YouTube in the background, I’d recommend subscribing to YouTube Premium and using its built-in PiP mode.

How to play YouTube in background on iPhone using YouTube Premium

To use the PiP mode in YouTube, you need to satisfy a few conditions:

  • First, you must buy YouTube Premium, which starts at about $7.99 for students and $13.99 for others.
  • Second, you need to enable PiP in the YouTube app. To do that, open YouTube → Tap the profile icon (You) at the bottom right → Go to Settings (gear icon) → General → Toggle on Picture-in-picture.

    Enable PIP mode from YouTube General Settings

After completing the above formalities, playing YouTube videos in the background is a breeze.

  1. Open the YouTube app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Start playing a video.
  3. Just swipe up on the app to minimize it. Make sure you don’t quit the app.

Now, the video should start playing in the background. You can even lock your screen and let the audio play!

To learn more about what you can do in PiP mode, check out our guide on how to use YouTube PiP mode.

Signing off

So, that’s about it. You can use the Safari or YouTube app on your iPhone to play YouTube videos in the background. Additionally, if you are a stickler for third-party apps, you can try something like YubePiP.

I personally prefer using YouTube Premium. Reason? The subscription is affordable, ad-free, and has the added benefit of YouTube Music. I think it’s one of the best subscriptions you can get for your iPhone. (I wish YouTube paid me for writing this 😜)

I’m eager to know which method you’d go with. Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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  • Mehak

    Mehak has a master’s degree in communication and over ten years of writing experience. Her passion for technology and Apple products led her to iGeeksBlog, where she specializes in writing product roundups and app recommendations for fellow Apple users. When not typing away on her MacBook Pro, she loves being lost in a book or out exploring the world.

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