Ever been lying in bed listening to a radio show on YouTube trying to fall asleep? If yes, you probably know that the default YouTube app will turn the audio off as soon as you lock your screen. However, some of us use YouTube to listen to music, radio shows, podcasts, audiobooks instead of just watching cat videos. In this post I will show you how to keep YouTube videos playing, even if your screen is off. This method works only for Android devices.
First of all, there used to be an app called PVstar+ that could do just that. Unfortunately it got pulled from the Play Store in December 2014, and is no longer available. You could download the PVstar+ apk file, but it won’t help you in this case, since the app doesn’t play well with YouTube anymore (search is broken).
So now let me introduce you to two relatively new apps, that you will fall in love with if you like to just listen to YouTube videos with your screen off.
Play YouTube with your screen off or in the background
FireTube is a great-looking app that allows you to search for and listen to any YouTube video you want. It doesn’t matter if you stay inside the app, keep YouTube playing in the background or with your screen turned off – this app works great, and is my personal go-to app for all things audio on YouTube. Besides the obvious benefits, it also takes just the audio track from the video you searched for to save you traffic (you can also control the audio quality form inside the player). Let me show you how to install the app:
- Check out this post if you don’t know how to install APK files on Android
- Visit the FireTube download page
- Press download
- Find the Downloads folder and open the downloaded FireTube APK file
- Follow instructions to finish the installation
Once downloaded and installed, just open the app, search for a YouTube video you want to listen to, select it and the player will automatically start playing the audio from YouTube. Now you can exit the app or turn your screen off.
Additional features include:
- Sleep timer
- Playlist support
- Queue support
- Sync with Firefox app
- Choose audio quality (normal & HD)
- Advanced media controls (shuffle, repeat) plus controls inside Android notifications
FireTube and PVstar+ alternative
In case you don’t want to go through the trouble of installing an app from the Amazon app store, there is one alternative for you that has less features, but can be pulled easily form the Play Store. AudioPocket (beta) also allows you to take a YouTube video from the native Android app, convert it to mp3 in the background and then play it back as a regular audio file. To do that, follow these simple steps:
- Install AudioPocket from the Play Store while it’s still available
- Open the native YouTube app
- Make a search for the video you would like to listen in the background / with your screen off
- Press on the three vertical dots (⋮) next to the search result you were looking for
- From the pop-up menu select Share…
- Wait for the video to be converted to mp3 (see status in your notifications)
- YouTube audio will start playing automatically as soon as it has been buffered
Now you can just close up the notification bar and continue doing what you were doing on your phone, or even turn your screen off completely. Since the app is still in beta, the functionality is limited to playing one track at a time, which works great for long-form content such as video podcasts or audiobooks. In the future, according to the developer, more features will be added. My bet is on playlist support, advanced media controls and improved UX.