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2,862 Tutorials

How to play YouTube videos in the background on Android phones

Keep listening to or playing YouTube video while checking Twitter or Facebook on your Android device.

Believe it or not, YouTube is the largest online streaming service with around four billion views per day, with one billion of those coming from mobile devices. A large part of YouTube’s massive video library is music videos NS there’s a large portion of Andoid users that want be able to continue listening to music on YouTube while using other apps on their Android devices. Here’s where we show you how to play YouTube videos in the background on Android.

Check out our other Android How-to tutorials.

The official YouTube app doesn’t allow you to continue to keep playing video, or at least listen to video, when you exit the app – for now anyway. YouTube Music Key is currently in beta testing and looks to rival the likes of Spotify, enabling music streaming from the YouTube app via music from Google Play Music. It’ll turn the YouTube app into a music streaming/video player hybrid.

However, there are apps that act as portals to YouTube’s content that’ll allow you to minimise the app without stopping playback. So all you need to do is download the right app. There has been a culling of background video players on Google Play, and it’s hard to find one that still works. We found and tested the app Awesome Pop-up Video and it worked well for us on a HTC One M8 smartphone running Android KitKat OS.

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How to play YouTube videos in the background on Android

Step one: download the app

The first thing that you are going to need to do is open Google Play on your Android device and search for the app “Awesome Pop-up Video”. It’s a free app so you can download it and choose to activate additional (paid) services at a later date using in-app purchases. Don’t worry though, as you don’t need to part with any money to use the apps main feature.

Step two: choose your video

Once the app has been installed, there are two options available. The app will display some of the most popular YouTube videos of the day for you to easily listen to by tapping on them, or you can add your own URL to play. If you want to choose your own music, go to www.youtube.com on your mobile browser, find the music you want to listen to and copy the URL.

Once you’ve got the URL, paste it into the window at the top of the page in the Awesome Pop-up Video app and tap the icon to the right.

Step three: minimise the app and carry on with what you were doing

Once you’ve selected your video (via the list or URL input), a small box should open with your selected video playing. If you close the app once the video appears, it should stay on screen, allowing you to check Twitter or your messages while still watching/listening to the video. If it gets in your way, just tap and drag to move it around your screen and once the video is finished, just tap the [X] in the corner to close it.

Step four: choose the next song

That’s pretty much it! Once the song has finished playing, open the app again and select the next song.

There are a few points to take note of though; firstly, if you want to listen to songs longer than five minutes, you’ll have to pay via in-app purchases. Secondly, we found that if we tried to skip the video forward/backward, the app would crash and we would have to start over again. This may be down to compatibility issues with the HTC One M8 we used to test, but it might also be a general bug that the developer needs to fix. 

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