Unless you have a YouTube Red subscription, YouTube only plays as a foreground app, meaning you can’t use your phone and listen to music or podcasts on YouTube at the same time. Well, unless you cheat a little.
Some phones like Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 and LG’s V30 offer split-screen multitasking that will let you have a YouTube window alongside some other activity, but that’s obviously nowhere near as elegant as actually working in the background. As it turns out, people have already been quite industrious in figuring out alternative tactics.
On the iPhone you can use a third-party browser such as Dolphin to start a YouTube video, then exit the app and resume playback via the iOS Control Center. lmost the same thing exists for Android users with Google’s own Chrome browser. If you switch to the desktop (rather than mobile) YouTube site in Chrome, you’ll be able to start a video in the browser, then exit the app and resume playback from the notification shade. This is by far the slickest of all options: you can play or pause either from notifications or from the phone’s lock screen. Even better: there’s nothing stopping you from opening further tabs in Chrome and continuing to use the browser as usual.
Open www.youtube.com in the Chrome browser. In the three-dot menu at the top right, check the “Request desktop site” box. Navigate to the video you want to listen to and press play. If you’re shown a warning saying YouTube wants to send you notifications, accept it. Exit the Chrome app and you’ll be able to resume playback from the notification menu.