If you have the Xposed Framework installed, there's a module that lets you enable background playback in Android's YouTube app without buying a YouTube Red subscription. But Xposed is not available on many devices—particularly those running Android Nougat—so this isn't an option for everyone.
We recently covered a root mod that enabled background playback by patching the YouTube app, but developer Master_T has now created a pre-patched version of the YouTube APK, which makes the process a bit easier. So if you like to listen to YouTube music with your screen off, or would simply prefer that audio keeps on playing while you're using other apps, I'll show you how it works below.
Before you can install the modded YouTube app that allows for background playback, you'll have to uninstall your existing YouTube app. For this part, we recommend using Titanium Backup.
So from the Backup/Restore tab in Titanium Backup, select the YouTube app, then press the "Uninstall" button. From there, tap "Yes" on the popup, then wait a few seconds for the app to be uninstalled. When it's finished, go ahead and restart your phone.
There are actually three different versions of the modded YouTube app, because each is optimized for a different processor type. So if you don't already know whether your phone uses ARM, ARM64, or x86, head to our guide on finding out your processor type before continuing.
Once you've done that, simply download the modified YouTube APK for your particular processor type:
- Download the modified YouTube app for ARM devices
- Download the modified YouTube app for ARM64 devices
- Download the modified YouTube app for x86 devices
Note: Future updates to this app can be found at the developer's thread on XDA.
Next, open your favorite root file browser app and head to the Download folder on your SD card or internal storage partition. From there, copy the YouTube APK that you downloaded in Step 2, then head to the /system/app folder from the root partition of your device. After that, simply paste the YouTube APK into this location.
Now scroll down to the bottom of your /system/app to find the YouTube APK that you just copied. From there, long-press the file, then head to your root file browser's context menu and choose "Permissions." After that, make sure that the Owner category is set to "Read" and "Write," while all other categories are set to just "Read."
After copying the APK and setting permissions, go ahead and reboot your phone. When you get back up, you'll find the YouTube app sitting in your app drawer just like it always has, except this is the modified version. So the next time you play a video, you can head to your home screen and the audio will keep on playing. You can even lock your screen, and background playback will still continue.