YouTube is one of the best places to listen to music but you might want to listen on your iPhone while using another app or even with the screen turned off to save power, just as you do with podcasts or music from the built-in Music app.

Since you reading this, you already know that the official Google YouTube app won't let you do this: the music stops as soon you exit the app or turn off the screen. Why? It's because Google wants you to pay for either YouTube Premium or YouTube Music Premium, two new services which earn the company more money. The latter is just a little cheaper per month as it only includes music, not normal YouTube videos.

So, the short answer is: pay for YouTube Music or YouTube Premium and you'll be able to play music with the screen off or while using another app. Simple... if you're prepared to pay for this and other privileges, such as downloading videos and music for offline playback.

YouTube Music Premium

But there are a couple of workarounds.

Method 1. Web browser

The biggest issue is that these tend to stop working and third-party apps tend to disappear from the app store - Google probably clamps down on such apps. Also, while the Safari web browser used to allow you to play audio from in the background, that no longer works. And neither does Chrome.

You can, however, install Firefox or Opera and browse to YouTube in either of those and use the Control Centre to resume music playback when you switch to another app. Here's how:

  1. Find you chosen video
  2. Tap the options menu (typically top-right corner) and choose the desktop version of YouTube
  3. Start playing your video
  4. Return to the home screen or switch to another app
  5. Swipe up to access Control Centre
  6. Press the play button in the music controls to resume playback

If you have an Android phone, then check out our guide on how to listen to YouTube in the background on Android.

Method 2. Third-party app

Search the App Store for an app which can play YouTube such as iPlay Tube. If you can't find this app, there are others which work in the same way. 

Launch the app and it will show you a list of the latest music, and it should look a bit like this:

Play YouTube in background iPhone / iPad

Search for the song you want to listen to and begin playing it

To listen to the audio in the background, make sure you wait until any advert has finished and the actual video is playing.

Now press the home button. The music should keep playing, but if it stops then swipe up from the bottom to bring up Control Center. Tap the play button to continue playing the audio from the YouTube video.

Play YouTube in background iPhone / iPad

You can now launch another app, such as Messages or Mail and the music will keep playing. Some games (those which allow you to keep listening to your own music) will still be usable without cutting off the audio from the YouTube video.

You can listen to YouTube with the screen off, too. Press the sleep/wake button to turn your device off and the audio should continue to play. Again, if it doesn't press the power button again and tap the play button on the lock screen to restart the audio (you can also skip between songs in a playlist too).

Play YouTube in background iPhone / iPad

Now when you turn off your iPhone or iPad, the audio will keep playing.

If neither of these methods work for you, try downloading YouTube videos to your iPhone and certain apps let you play sound in the background.