Cale Byers

Playing YouTube Audio in Background on iOS


Request the desktop site of the video you're watching. Once it starts playing, return to your home screen, and then swipe up to access the control center, where you can resume playing.

If all goes well, the audio will continue playing in the background. You can use other apps, or turn off your screen, preserving your battery and keeping your phone locked.

In the past, I was using content blockers to strip away extra parts of their site, and I was left with the video, which didn't require Javascript, either. It was a glorious time, but short-lived. Today, the mobile site sends video in chunks, and javascript re-assembles these pieces into a video. YouTube's javascript also monitors if you're currently on the webpage. If you switch to another tab or return to the home screen, the video stops playing.

The Brave browser for iOS reliably blocks YouTube ads, so you can request the desktop youtube site and do the same thing as you would in safari or other ios browsers. The original post, now outdated, is below.


I enjoy I listening to youtube videos with my phone screen turned off and the device locked. This is especially useful for security, battery life, and convenience.

You'll need to request the desktop site for a video, and then madly fiddle with the play button while trying to exit safari or whatever browser you use. Often, Apple will pull up their Music app when you try to get the video to keep playing. But it will work, and you can stream the video with your screen off. I will try to figure out a better solution, because my old method below does not actually work anymore for the mobile site. Rather than sending an MP4, it appears they're using some streaming system, which is more difficult to work with.

It's not something that I necessarily discovered or figured out. Rather, I have managed to defeat the technological barriers implemeneted by Apple and YouTube that restrict my freedoms.

So anyway, you basically have to break the webpage with Adguard or some other content blocker, and then you request the desktop site, and you get a nice little video. Boom. Simple. It starts playing, and you can go use another app or lock your phone and save battery life with a dead screen.

Sometimes you have to fiddle with the control center to get it to play, but it works! No need to buy YouTube red or watch ads!!!! HAAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHA

By the way, I love Adguard Pro (costs $2) but would also recommend their free DNS service. It's less powerful, though it still blocks a lot of stuff, and it doesn't require you to install any software, unless your phone prevents you from changing your DNS manually. In that case, you're probably using a Samsung Android, and you'll have to install a DNS changing app.