I’d like an YouTube app for my iPad with the capacity for background playback (i.e., music keeps playing even when I switch to a different app or turn off the screen).

Features I want:

  • Background playback
  • Free with minimal ads, or one-time purchase to remove ads. Here I’m referring to the ads added by the app itself; YouTube’s ads are okay.
  • Liking videos and adding them to my playlists (including Watch Later)
  • Viewing my playlists, including not only ones that I’ve created, but also ones created by others that I’ve added to my Library, and of course Watch Later.

Looking up “background YouTube” in the App Store brings up lots of results, but it seems like they have a ton of ads, and don’t really have features like liking videos, adding to playlists, or playing from your own playlists. If they do have playlist-managing features, it’s just for local playlists just for that app, not for your YouTube account.

I used to use ProTube for this, but it has been taken down.

Related questions from Ask Different:

2 Answers 2


I know it’s kinda weird to answer your own question, but looking up Tubex again brought me to Tubextreme ($2.99), which seems to be relatively full-featured (and also has a great UI).

It satisfies a lot of the features I want, but not all of them:

  • Supports background playback. Also has support for split-screen multitasking and apparently picture-in-picture, but I can’t figure out the latter. ✓
  • No ads, either in the UI or from YouTube. ✓
  • Allows for liking videos, adding them to playlists, and playing playlists I’ve created. ✓
  • Doesn’t support adding videos to Watch Later or view my Watch Later playlist. There’s a feature to bookmark playlists, but it doesn’t sync with YouTube’s native playlist-bookmarking system. ✗

Other cool features it has:

  • Changing the playback speed
  • Viewing my subscriptions
  • 1
    Answering your own question is totally appropriate! Especially if you have a good answer!
    – Jon Church
    Jul 19, 2018 at 17:10
  • For posterity: Tubextreme seems to have been taken down a while ago.
    – mic
    Aug 7, 2019 at 4:09

One option is to purchase Youtube Premium.

The other option that works on iPhones is to use Firefox browser. Here's how to do it on iPhone.

First of all download Firefox browser for iOS. Then navigate to youtube.com and play some video. Hit the browser's menu button (sitting in top left corner as of Aug 19), then hit 'Request desktop site'. When the browser will reload the page play the video again, then activate notification center (not the control center) by swiping from the top edge of the screen (works for pre X iPhones, I don't know how to activate notification center on X and later). You will see rewind and pause controls. Lock the phone. The video will stop playing. Now press the lock or the home button. The controls will pop again. Now you press Play button and that's it. The video is playing in background from now, you can unlock the phone and switch to other apps freely.

So you will have watch later and all the functionality of desktop youtube site though looking minish.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.