Can we play YouTube Music in background on Android?

YouTube Music is a music streaming service developed by YouTube allowing users to stream official songs, albums, playlists, and music videos. It offers both a free ad-supported tier as well as a premium ad-free subscription. One highly desired feature of music apps is the ability to play audio in the background while using other apps or when the screen is locked. By default, YouTube Music will pause playback when not in the app due to Google’s terms and conditions. However, there are a few legitimate workaround methods to enable background audio playback on Android and iOS devices.

Default Background Playback Behavior

By default, YouTube Music stops playing when the app is minimized or the phone’s screen is turned off. This is because YouTube Music does not allow continuous background audio playback unless you have a YouTube Music Premium or YouTube Premium subscription.

Without a premium membership, YouTube Music will pause playback as soon as you leave the app or turn off your device’s screen. This default behavior is designed to prevent music and videos from playing endlessly in the background without viewing the ad-supported content.

So for free users, YouTube Music will not continue playing songs, albums, playlists or podcast episodes while the app is in the background. Playback is restricted to the YouTube Music app with the screen on. As soon as the app is no longer visible or the phone screen shuts off, playback will cease.

Enable Background Audio Playback

You can enable background audio playback in the YouTube Music app settings. Here are the steps:

  1. Open the YouTube Music app on your Android device.
  2. Tap on your profile icon in the top right corner.
  3. Select “Settings” from the menu.
  4. Under “Background audio,” toggle the switch on.
  5. You can now minimize the YouTube Music app or lock your phone while music continues playing in the background.

Enabling this setting will allow YouTube Music to continue streaming audio even when the app is not in focus on your device. This lets you listen to music hands-free while using other apps or when your phone is locked (1).

Use a Music Player App

One option to play YouTube Music in the background on Android is to use a separate music player app. There are many apps on the Google Play Store that allow you to import songs and playlists from YouTube Music and play them in the background.

Some popular music player apps like BlackPlayer, Neutron Music Player, and Poweramp Music Player have this capability. You can log into your YouTube Music account in these apps and access your full library and playlists. The music will continue to play in the background even when you switch apps or lock your phone.

The advantage of using a separate music player is you get background audio playback and often additional features like an equalizer, themes, and enhanced organization. The downside is it requires installing and learning a new app just for YouTube Music playback.

Use Split Screen Mode

The split screen feature allows Android users to view two apps simultaneously on the screen. This can be useful for playing YouTube Music in the background while doing other tasks.

To use split screen mode:

  1. Open the YouTube Music app and start playing a song.
  2. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and hold to access the recent apps view.
  3. Tap the app icon at the top of the YouTube Music preview to select split screen.
  4. Select the second app you want to open from the recent apps view.

This will display YouTube Music on the top half of the screen and the second app on the bottom half. The music will continue playing even when you’re using the other app.

One downside is that YouTube Music will pause if you tap on the other app. But the music playback controls will remain accessible for starting and stopping the audio.

The split screen experience may vary across different Android devices and OS versions. Check your device settings for enabling split screen.

According to users on Reddit, the split screen implementation for YouTube Music could still use some work on Android tablets specifically (source). But it remains a handy option for background listening during multitasking on Android phones.

Alternative Background Play Options

While YouTube Music’s background playback is limited without a Premium subscription, there are some alternative options to enable background listening on Android devices:

Picture-in-Picture Mode: YouTube allows you to minimize videos into a small floating window using Android’s built-in Picture-in-Picture feature. To enable this, start playing a video, then press the home button to leave the YouTube app while the video continues playing in a small window.

Floating Pop-up Player: Some third-party Android apps like NewPipe offer a floating pop-up player that lets YouTube videos play in a small window while using other apps. The video playback is separate from the YouTube app, enabling background listening.

Other Apps: There are various third party apps on the Google Play Store that provide background playback of YouTube music by extracting just the audio. However, many of these violate YouTube’s terms of service.

In the end, the best way to enable full background listening of YouTube Music is still through a paid YouTube Premium subscription. But the methods above can provide limited background playback functionality without paying.


YouTube Music has several limitations when it comes to background audio playback for free users. Most notably, those without a paid YouTube Music or YouTube Premium subscription are restricted from listening to audio in the background.

Background audio playback on the mobile app requires a paid subscription, as noted in Google’s support article: “If you are a YouTube Premium or YouTube Music Premium member, you can use the offline features of your paid membership on up to 10 devices at a time.

Without a subscription, the YouTube Music mobile app will pause playback when the app is minimized or your phone’s screen turns off. There is no setting to enable background audio for free users.

This limitation has been widely discussed on forums like Reddit, with users noting their frustration at the background playback restrictions compared to other free music apps. As one Redditor explains, “EVERY SERVICE has their restrictions to try to entice you to pay for them and background/screen off play and audio only versions are YouTube Music’s.

In summary, background audio playback in the YouTube Music mobile app requires a paid subscription. Free users cannot listen to audio when the app is minimized or their phone screen is off.


Sometimes issues can arise that prevent background playback from working properly on YouTube Music for Android. Here are some solutions for common background playback problems:

If background audio stops or doesn’t work at all, first try restarting the YouTube Music app or rebooting your Android device (1). This refreshes the app and clears any glitches that could be preventing playback.

Check that your YouTube Music or YouTube Premium membership hasn’t expired. Background playback is only available for paid members. If your membership lapsed, you’ll need to renew it in order to keep using background audio (2).

Try signing out of YouTube Music then signing back in again. This forces the app to re-verify your membership status and can get background audio working again (3).

If you continue having issues, try uninstalling updates for the YouTube Music app. Open Settings, go to Apps, select YouTube Music, and choose “Uninstall Updates.” This reverts the app to the original factory version which may resolve any bugs.

As a last resort, you can try clearing the cache and data for the YouTube Music app. This erases your sign-in info and settings, but also resets the app back to default. Open Settings, go to Apps, select YouTube Music, and choose “Clear Cache” and “Clear Data.” Just be sure to sign back in after.

YouTube Music vs YouTube Premium

A key difference between YouTube Music and YouTube Premium is the ability to play music in the background. With a free YouTube Music account, background playback is disabled. When you switch to another app or lock your phone screen, the music will stop playing.

With a paid YouTube Premium subscription, background playback is enabled. This allows you to listen to music videos or tracks on YouTube Music even when you are using other apps or your phone screen is locked. The music continues uninterrupted.

YouTube Premium also removes ads on YouTube and unlocks other benefits like offline downloads. But for music listening specifically, the background playback is a major advantage over the free tier. This makes YouTube Premium better suited for listening to music throughout your day compared to the free YouTube Music.

For details, refer to the YouTube Premium benefits page.


In summary, there are several ways to play YouTube Music in the background on Android phones without needing a YouTube Premium subscription. The default YouTube Music app does not allow background playback, but enabling split screen mode or using a third party music player app provides workarounds. While background audio is limited without paying for Premium, options like picture-in-picture, minimizing the app, or using split screen view give users some ability to multitask while listening to YouTube Music. With the techniques covered here, Android users can access background playback features without subscribing. In conclusion, listening to YouTube Music in the background is possible on Android, despite some limitations.

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