How do I keep YouTube from playing when I close the app?

Many YouTube users have experienced the frustration of closing the YouTube app, only to still hear audio playing in the background. This occurs because the YouTube app will continue running video playback even when minimized or after exiting the app entirely.

While background audio can be useful in some cases, it becomes an annoyance when users want to fully quit the YouTube app and stop any videos from continuing to play. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent YouTube from autoplaying media after closing the app on both Android and iOS devices.

This article will provide an overview of background activity in apps, walk through YouTube app settings that control autoplay, and detail various methods to fully stop YouTube playback when closing the app.

Understanding Background Activity

When you close or minimize an app on your phone, it doesn’t necessarily stop the app from running in the background. Many apps are designed to continue performing processes and operations even after you have ‘closed’ out of the app interface. For example, apps may still track your location, download data, or play audio while not visibly open on your screen.

Apps can run in the background on both iPhone and Android devices. Some key reasons an app may continue running in the background include:

  • Downloading content or syncing data
  • Playing audio
  • Tracking location or motion
  • Receiving notifications
  • Updating with new content

So when you ‘close’ an app, it simply hides the visible interface – but internal processes can still be occurring out of sight. Understanding this background activity is the first step toward managing which apps continue running after you close them.

YouTube App Settings

The YouTube app includes settings to control background activity and autoplay. In the app, go to Settings and find the options for “Background & downloads” and “Autoplay.”

The Background & downloads setting allows you to stop the app from playing videos in the background when you leave the app or turn off your device’s screen. Disable the “Background play” option to prevent YouTube from continuing to play audio or video when the app is not open on your screen.

The Autoplay setting controls whether videos will automatically play one after another while you are in the app. Turn this option off if you only want videos to play when you directly select them.

These app-specific settings are available on both Android and iPhone devices, allowing you to customize YouTube’s background and autoplay behavior.

Stop Background Activity on Android

One way to stop the YouTube app from playing videos when closed on Android devices is to restrict the app’s background activity. This prevents the app from accessing data and battery when not actively being used.

Here are the steps to restrict background activity for the YouTube app on Android:

  1. Open your Android device’s Settings app.
  2. Tap on “Apps” or “App Manager.”
  3. Select the YouTube app.
  4. Tap on “Battery” or “Battery Usage.”
  5. Toggle “Background activity” off.

This will prevent the YouTube app from running in the background when closed. Videos will stop playing when you switch to another app or lock your phone. You can toggle background activity back on at any time to restore default functionality.


Stop Background Activity on iPhone

You can prevent the YouTube app from running in the background on iPhones by disabling background app refresh and limiting background activity:

1. Open the Settings app and tap General.

2. Tap Background App Refresh and switch it off.

3. Open the YouTube app and tap your profile picture > Settings > General.

4. Turn off the setting for “Background activity”.

This will stop the YouTube app from refreshing content and executing any tasks when it’s in the background. The app will become completely inactive when not in use.

You can also save battery life and cellular data this way. However, you may not receive notifications until you open the app again.

For more details, see this guide from Apple Support.

Use a Third-Party App

There are several third-party apps that let you stop YouTube from continuing playback when the app is closed or in the background on both Android and iOS devices. Many of these apps also offer additional features like ad blocking, background playback without a YouTube Premium subscription, and downloading videos.

On Android, some popular options include NewPipe, YouTube Vanced, and SkyTube. These replace the official YouTube app and stop background play. There’s also Video Background Play Fix, an extension that works with the regular YouTube app.

For iPhones, iOS limitations make it harder for third-party apps to block YouTube backgrounding. However, uYou+ and YTMini claim to handle this. These require manual installation outside the App Store.

The main downside to third-party apps is that they may stop getting updates if Google makes changes to YouTube. However, they offer the most reliable way to disable background play.

Close from Recents Menu

You can stop YouTube from playing media in the background by closing it from the recents menu. The recents menu shows a list of apps that are currently open or running in the background on your Android device. To access it, simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen and hold.

This will bring up the recents menu with app thumbnails. Look for the YouTube app in the list and swipe up on it to close it. Closing YouTube from the recents menu completely shuts down the app and stops any media that may be playing in the background.

According to Google’s Android help documentation, closing an app from the recents menu stops all processes associated with that app. So closing YouTube this way will stop the background play feature. The app is no longer running, so nothing can continue playing media.

This is a simple and effective way to immediately stop YouTube or any app from running media in the background if you don’t want to listen to it any longer after exiting the app. Just open the recents menu and close YouTube, and the background audio or video will stop.

Clear App Cache and Data

Clearing the app cache and data for the YouTube app can often fix issues with background activity and playback. When the app cache builds up over time, it can cause performance issues and buggy behavior. By wiping the cache and data, you essentially reset the app back to its default state which can resolve problems like unwanted background playback.

To clear the cache and data for the YouTube app on Android, go to Settings > Apps & notifications > See all apps. Then select the YouTube app, choose Storage & cache, and tap Clear cache and Clear storage. On an iPhone, go to Settings > General > iPhone storage, select the YouTube app, and tap Offload app or Delete app.

According to a forum post, clearing the YouTube cache and data is one of the first troubleshooting steps to try for errors or unwanted playback. Resetting the app removes corrupt data that could be causing issues. After clearing the data, you may also need to uninstall and reinstall the app for the best results.

Restart Your Device

Restarting your Android or iPhone is a simple but effective way to stop all apps and background processes. When you restart your phone, it completely shuts down and boots back up, closing out all apps in the process. This includes the YouTube app, which will need to be reopened again after the restart.

Note that restarting your phone can end all background processes, not just YouTube. So you may need to reopen other apps you want running after your phone powers back on. But for stopping YouTube specifically, restarting your device is a surefire way to close the app and stop any videos or music from autoplaying in the background.

To restart an iPhone, hold down the side or top button until the power off slider appears. Drag the slider to turn your phone completely off. After 30 seconds or so, hold down the side or top button again to boot your iPhone back up.

For Androids, hold down the power button until the power off options appear. Tap “Restart” and confirm to reboot your device.

Once your phone has restarted, YouTube and any other background apps will need to be freshly opened again. This gives you a clean slate and ensures YouTube won’t be running or autoplaying anything in the background [1].


In summary, there are a few main methods to prevent YouTube from continuing to play videos after closing the app on Android and iPhone devices:

  • Adjust background activity settings in the YouTube app itself to limit or pause activity when not in use
  • Use a third party app like Vanced (Android only) that allows disabling background play
  • Close YouTube from the recent apps/multitasking menu to force quit the app
  • Clear the app cache and data to reset the app
  • Restart your device to end all running processes and clear memory

The easiest options are changing the background activity settings directly in the YouTube app settings menu or force quitting the app from the recents/multitasking menu. For extended control, using a third party alternative like Vanced on Android provides the most options to limit background activity in YouTube.

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