Play YouTube audio in the background with this neat trick. YouTube and BBC iPlayer are fantastic video services packed with music audio. YouTube alone is every bit as strong as Spotify for playing individual music tracks, and YouTube is completely free.
BBC iPlayer has a wealth of great radio shows, such as Top Of The Pops and countless music documentaries. These can make great audio entertainment on the iPhone.
Why audio stops playing in background on YouTube
There's just one problem. With both the YouTube and BBC iPlayer app when you press the Home or Sleep/Wake button the audio stops playing. So you have to keep the phone on, and playing the video on the screen, in order to listen to the audio. This sucks, because you can't put the iPhone in your pocket (it'll bash the on-screen buttons) and unless you set the Auto-Lock option to Never, it'll stop playing when the iPhone locks. And watching it with video playing drains the battery.
How to get audio to play in the background in YouTube
There is a solution, however, follow this guide to get YouTube audio playing in the background.
- Open YouTube in Safari and head to www.youtube.com. This trick uses the Safari versions of YouTube (or BBC iPlayer). It doesn't work with the BBC iPlayer or YouTube app. Both websites are pretty much as good as the apps these days though, so it shouldn't be a problem.
- Find a music video. Tap the Search icon in the top right and enter the name of a track or artist you'd like to listen to. Start playing the music video.
- Press the Home Button. The music video stops playing.
- Open Control Centre. Slide up from the bottom of the screen.
- Press Play. Control Centre starts to play the audio again.
You can now press the Sleep/Wake button and the audio continues to play in the background. This trick works as well for BBC iPlayer as it does for YouTube (and other services too, like Vimeo).
With Control Centre you can control audio volume levels, and play/pause the audio. One thing you can’t do though is skip to the next track. You can only play one track at a time with this trick. Fortunately YouTube is packed with lengthy audio tracks (often whole albums) so you can listen to as much music as you want.