22
Oct
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I've been doing APK teardowns for a while now, and most of the time exciting updates end up being relatively boring under-the-hood, only rarely dropping really fascinating hints at future functionality. Today, I was pleasantly surprised, as the situation with YouTube 5.2.27 is exactly the opposite - the update itself couldn't be less boring, but the nugget we dig up inside will make a lot of you very happy.

teardownyoutube

Background audio

So, without further ado, I'm glad to report that background audio should be finally coming to a YouTube app near you, if all goes well during testing. This feature will let you start a video, exit the app, and switch to something else without the audio stream dying, which is incredibly useful when listening to podcasts or music videos, or just quickly checking an incoming text. Moreover, it should work with the screen off.

Based on my observations of users' comments with every app update, background audio is now one of, if not the most, requested Youtube for Android feature.

While the setting, UI, and the background service for background audio are currently hidden, we managed to reveal the setting long enough to pose for a screenshot and are currently working on a possible Xposed module to enable it on rooted devices. No promises, as this may be a tough task, though if you can help make it happen, you'd instantly become a hero in the eyes of many.

Observe:

wm_background audio

Here are several more relevant strings from the APK:

<string name="background_dialog_cancel_bgol">Cancel</string>
<string name="background_dialog_learn_more_bgol">Learn more</string>
<string name="background_dialog_message_bgol">YouTube can now keep playing in the background!</string>
<string name="background_dialog_ok_bgol">OK</string>
<string name="background_dialog_title_bgol">Background</string>
<string name="background_dialog_turn_off_bgol">Turn off</string>

<string name="pref_background_audio_enabled_summary_bgol">Continue playing audio when the app is running in the background or the screen is switched off</string>
<string name="pref_background_audio_enabled_title_bgol">Background audio</string>

<string name="syncing_video_bgol">Syncing video...</string>
<string name="youtube_playing_in_the_background_bgol">YouTube playing in the background</string>

Raise your hand if you've been waiting for this as much as I have.

Bonus

As a bonus today, we have some messages YouTube will use when offline support is finally launched. All of these are new in 5.2.27, so you can imagine my disappointment when I couldn't find a single trace of them in the UI:

<string name="delete_from_offline_done">Video is removed from offline</string>
<string name="menu_save_to_offline">Add to Offline</string>
<string name="notification_progress_completed">Download Completed</string>
<string name="notification_progress_size">%1$d MB / %2$d MB</string>
<string name="notification_queue_title">YouTube Offline</string>
<string name="offline_adding_progress">Adding... %1$d%%</string>
<string name="remove_from_offline">Remove from Offline</string>
<string name="remove_offline_action">Remove</string>
<string name="remove_offline_video_confirmation">Remove from offline?</string>
<string name="save_to_offline_done">Video added to offline</string>
<string name="save_to_offline_error">Error adding video to offline.</string>
<string name="save_to_offline_start">Adding video to offline...</string>

<plurals name="notification_queue_text">
    <item quantity="other">%1$,d videos added to offline.</item>
    <item quantity="zero">No video added to offline.</item>
    <item quantity="one">1 video added to offline.</item>
    <item quantity="two">2 videos added to offline.</item>
    <item quantity="few">%1$,d videos added to offline.</item>
    <item quantity="many">%1$,d videos added to offline.</item>
</plurals>

Thanks again to @TheNewsHQ for the APK and Santiago Rosales for teardown help!

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • TOMMMMMM

    Its happening!

  • Rice30

    AHHHHHHHH YEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

  • Giacomo Pegorer

    YEAHHHHHHHHHHH cit.The Who

  • Lupe Fiasco

    Yessssssssssssss Best News I've heard all day.

    • Stylus_XL

      I've been waiting so long for this, it's great news.

  • Zyre

    How did you get access to this APK? Can we already download it?

    • Muhammad Zohaib Rizwani

      Check the previous post by AP.

      • Zyre

        Yeah I see it now. Does this version already have the background playing feature or is it for future updates?

        • remister

          Should be activated when the devs want to, as stated in this post.

        • Muhammad Zohaib Rizwani

          I think it'll come when they announce the update with kitkat.
          Just a theory

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          I think if you read the post, you'll learn that the question is answered there. Or at least glance at the title.

          • http://wave-france.blogspot.com Supercopter

            People should read. And watch...

            I've just noticed how the illustration perfectly fits the post. It's also for all those details that I love AP! Great job ;-)

  • Muhammad Zohaib Rizwani

    And here I thought today was going to be slow news day

    • Cherokee4Life

      I was just telling my buddy that it seems every day Apple releasing crap it seems the other tech companies stay quite.. I guess I was proved wrong

      • Muhammad Zohaib Rizwani

        lol, my google+ was fairly quiet today considering Nokia and Apple had press conferences today.

        • Alexander Terry

          Considering this is the first I've heard of this, yourvright.

      • mobilemann

        the irony of you posting this in a thread about a feature that's been available since like, iOS 3, is strong. /just sayin'

        • skrubrolla

          this isn't in ios at all. learn about stuff instead of just immediately deciding apple MUST have done it first.

          • mobilemann

            this has been in iOS since about 3 kid. It's always been able to do it from the browser version of youtube too. I don't assume anything, i was using it. sigh.

  • remister

    Yes! Time to create the playlists and quit Google All Access and Spotify :P

  • polesmoker99

    Thank you so much youtube team. I was waiting this feature. Its really great user friendly and smooth.

    • Trent Callahan

      LOLOLOLOLOL

    • Vyktor

      Thank you so much youtube team. I was waiting this feature. Its really great user friendly and smooth!!

      • HellG

        I see what you did there

    • http://GPlus.to/Abhisshack Abhisshack

      Thank you so much youtube team. I was waiting this feature. Its really great user friendly and smooth.

  • Razormike

    This is by far the feature I have wanted the most. I'm so pleased right now. There were alternatives on the Play Store, but nothing beats the official app.

  • Guest

    wow..

  • Mehmet Fatih

    It's happening isnt it? I am crying right now...
    http://img.pandawhale.com/61880-George-Michael-its-happening-i-dNrF.gif

  • don’t kill me!!

    My iPhone had this updates some weeks before...

    • Trent Callahan

      Watch it mate. We eat iSheep for breakfast (;

      • Andrew Anthem

        haha

        • User13

          Actually, he is right. It is working for a few years in an original youtube app. Was kinda oddly when i switched from old 3gs to an android and did not find this feature

  • Armando Rodriguez
  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

    Amount of mobile network bandwidth wasted listening to music on YouTube anticipated to increase 14583%.

    • Muhammad Zohaib Rizwani

      I hope playlists work when the screen is switched off and isn't like chrome when I use grooveshark the next song doesn't play have to open chrome again. -_-

      • Gautam

        Google plays ads in youtube videos. playlists will work but we may have to open the app to 'skip' the ad, or just be prepared to listen to audio from these ads a la spotify

        • Leonardo Farage Freitas

          I don't really mind hearing ads. I mean, youtube is a free service and google isn't a charity company. :P

          I really am impressed that so many people hates ads and don't understand why they are there, or do they understand but still hates? :P

          Do you think youtube should have a premium service?

          • Trent Callahan

            Adblock buddy, lol. And they do have premium service, but it sucks and nobody uses the "premium channels." Lol xD

          • Leonardo Farage Freitas

            I know Adblock exists :P I know lots of people that use. But what I tried to mean is that people shouldn't use adblock. But, I do have to say that I had never heard of these premium channels.

            No wait, I remember vaguely of some new about it last year or so :P

          • Roger Siegenthaler

            I think they should, kind of like twitch where you could choose to support certain channels, or maybe a youtube wide subscription. Though that'd be cool if you could also have play movies/TV access then :).

      • exadeci

        That's your phone not having enough ram and closing chrome to get more ram back and you might have a strict ram management

    • Viktor Kincses

      Actually, it will use much less bandwidth and much less battery, because (if they do it right) the app won't download the video (or it will download the lowest quality video) when not showing it. I can finally turn the screen off when I'm listening to music in the car or listening to podcasts falling asleep from Youtube. :)

      • http://google.com darkflux

        you can already set the video to lower quality in Settings...

  • TSON1

    Is this coming to iOS first too? :/

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    Still no possibility of replying to comments, more subscription options (such as email for new uploads), still no HD over 3G/4G, still no 1080p... my god

    • dudley

      Viral can reply to comments and stream different resolutions with 3g/4g

      https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Mata.YTplayer

    • Fatty Bunter

      Would you rather have any of those things over background audio?

      • Mantas

        In a heart beat.

        • Fatty Bunter

          Why? Do you output from your phone to a TV?

          • Mantas

            I have nexus 7 2013.

  • sari

    Does it allow (pull to refresh) in the feed ?

    • Stylus_XL

      Ah, good point! The lack of a refresh option in the app is really irritating.

      • David Spivey

        You missed a good opportunity to say "I find your lack of refresh disturbing".

  • Mantas

    Am I only one here, who wants 1080p for my nexus 7 2013 in native youtube app? Is it too mutch to ask? It's 1080p tablet god damnit, google.

  • Jeffrey Heesch

    Nice, but I'm still waiting for some way to easily refresh comments and my subscription box, and the ability to set a default account so it will stop asking me if I want to log in as my Google + or my YouTube account.

  • Bleakvision

    Fiiiiiiiiiinaaaaaaaalyyyyyy! Now I can listen to right wing radio all day!

  • Matthew DiGiacomo

    The background audio selection is not in the APK I installed..

    • Jonathan Danna

      It wouldn't be, because it isn't enabled yet. Android Police modded the APK and were able to reveal the setting, but they don't have it working yet, and google hasn't officially launched the feature yet either.

      • Andrew Anthem

        thanks for bring this to our attention..jeesh im clueless sometimes LOL

  • Gameclocker

    Glad Youtube is catching up, but there's two newer issues that I hope don't take years to address.

    1. Being able to view the next or related video while in landscape mode.

    2. For God's Sake let's get working on multi-window support :P

  • Simon Belmont

    This is great. Hope it works with playlists.

    There's been a ton of times where I've wanted to just listen to the audio only of something but it would shut off when the screen went off, or I had to put it in full screen to keep it on. Big time battery waste.

  • EJ_Su

    I am not getting the "Background Audio" option, anyone knows what's going on?

    • Andrew Anthem

      me either......

      • David Hart

        Go read the teardown again

      • BplusA

        " While the setting, UI, and the background service for background audio are currently hidden,"

        i think it will show up with the official roll of the app !

    • http://adeelejaz.com/ Adeel Ejaz

      The article explains it pretty well:

      "This feature will let you start a video, exit the app, and switch to something else without the audio stream dying, which is incredibly useful when listening to podcasts or music videos, or just quickly checking an incoming text. Moreover, it should work with the screen off."

  • Angelo Davis

    this is great news and all but I thought the main reason this is never going to happen was because people would start using youtube music player. My question is are they going to block this feature on say VEVO videos? I mean that makes sense.

    • Trent Callahan

      Why would they block it? If they didn't want people listening to music, they'd take down music videos. But they don't because they get a LOT of ad revenue from all the followers in society listening to the new Katy Perry/Miley Cyrus/Eminem/etc. music videos.

  • Guest

    mhm

  • SnarkyCommenter

    yesss

  • master94

    I still want offline viewing

  • Ryan Callihan

    The way that videos stop when you go anywhere else really irked. I'm glad they're finally allowing background streaming.

  • iamnotfan

    Am I the only one , pressed that play button

  • MafiaMM

    I want screen off playback!!

  • Adam Watts

    This is great news!
    So many times I want to just listen to a song without the video. This will save loads of network traffic. And hopefully be an Android only feature (at least for a while) so that the iOS crowd gets to see the future.

  • Jon Willis

    I wonder if they will extend this to their native YouTube API for Android? My app hopes that they do, but I doubt that they will.

  • Sukumar Patel

    How come they always add the strings first.. :)

  • http://www.LOVEanon.org/ Michael Oghia (Ogie)

    Great! Do you have any guesses when it might be available? The next month or two, or a few weeks?

  • http://www.LOVEanon.org/ Michael Oghia (Ogie)

    It must be for a later version, because I just downloaded the app from the AP mirror 1, and there's no option for it.

  • Carsten Dietzel

    I wonder why the developers distinguish between these messages:
    2 videos added to offline.
    %1$,d videos added to offline.
    %1$,d videos added to offline.

    Why not just add one "%1$,d videos added to offline." text to use when there's more than 1 video added? Or is this just Google's fussy way of do things?

    • http://adeelejaz.com/ Adeel Ejaz

      Different languages have different way of quantifying things. This helps in translation.

  • Mohammad Abu-Garbeyyeh

    Making an Xposed module to show the option is very easy. However, it won't work. It needs to the service named "com.google.android.apps.youtube.app.m2ts.BackgroundPlayerServiceBgol" to be exported in AndroidManifest.xml, which either needs the module to hook deep into PackageManager, or to simply add it by decompiling/recompiling with apktool. I've been less than successful in the latter.

    In any case, here's the code:http://pastebin.com/Ae2Jjzu3

  • Mark Smith

    At long last! Been wanting for this to come to YouTube for years :D

  • RXG9

    This is already possible by using the app Viral (Floating YouTube HD player)

  • Cerberus_tm

    I do wonder why they spend years actively removing and blocking this feature on Windows Mobile and Android (background listening used to be possible in Win Mo), and now they're suddenly actively supporting it. A change of plans dictated by the record labels? Either way, if it can really download only the music streams and if you can cache things in advance, it will be come as good as or better than PVStar+, which I use now.

  • GraveUypo

    ok now implement a mode with no video and just a 192kbps audio stream.

    • Michael Pahl

      dude, Google Music?

  • Jad

    well, just installed the apk! there's NO 'BACKGROUND AUDIO' OPTION! umm why?

    • Tony Sarju

      Did you even read the article? lol

  • anmolm97

    Disque should also work on providing a more user friendly and smooth experience.

  • iJimaniac

    Hallelujah!!!!

  • Claude

    That's great, I'm waiting for it since the first time i used the app.

  • robodude

    About freaking time! Lol

  • ChainsawCharlie

    While this is of course great news. Surprised just how long we have waited for this feature.

  • Rapture Veteran

    Well I installed that 5.2.27 apk from a post a day earlier and I do not see backgroud audio in the settings. Anywhere s3

    • Raymond Berger

      I still don't see it either on my Moto X.

  • SuyashSrijan

    Link to APK?

  • Mike

    Finally.. I've been waiting too long for this

  • Sanket

    I have Official Update of YouTube 5.2.27 but Didn't Get Background Option , Why ? Didn't Support Official Yet and Have to Install manually ?

    • FyrusCarmin

      That's because it hasn't launched yet, read the article.

  • jpapa

    So with 5.2.27 is anyone else experiencing an overlay stuck on the middle of the screen and the screen being dimmed? I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 SGH-T999. I believe it's the share with tv button overlay, or it could be the bluetooth, but you cannot interact with it and there doesn't appear to be anything you can do about it. There's quite a few people complaining about the same exact thing in the recent reviews. It's amazing that Google is releasing versions with these major flaws. The previous update took away the progress bar when in landscape mode. GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER GOOGLE!

    • remister

      I am one of those users also. It may seem to be an issue when connected to a Bluetooth device. The issue is happening on both on my HTC One and Nexus 7 2013. Fix it Google!

      • jpapa

        It can be hit or miss with and without bluetooth. Most of the time it's hit of being in the way on the screen. Videos rarely load without the icon in the way.

        I downgraded back to 4.2.16 until this is fixed... I prefer this older video layout anyway and it still has the progress bar. I hate how they keep changing the video playback layout with each release. Just stick with one!!!

  • j¤n Gårrëtt [5,000+]

    they need to add the ability to download and save videos onto our devices--that's the only thing missing from an already awesome app.

  • OnMy2ndGP

    Have any of you installed the official apk from the Play Store? Epic fail for majority of users. All we get is "An error occurred" or "Network error". SMH

    • OnMy2ndGP

      It's working now but for the last hour+ it was dead.

  • Tom Rolan

    Would anybody tell me how to remove the annoying "square" as appeared on the following image? I can't enjoy watching videos on YouTube because of it.

    Thanks.

    • Tom Rolan

      Which is on the center

  • terrum

    I'm on 5.3.24. How come this feature isn't on my version of the official YouTube app?

  • Vlad

    how to do this where to put this code?, please help me, thank you verry much dilarius@gmail.com

  • Nathan Brown

    APK file?

  • Zee

    Whatever happened to this? I don't have this option in my Youtube app.

  • Ofer Lando

    Was there ever an update on this? It's been months, I have version 5.6.36 now, but the "Background Audio" option is still not there - and is still very much needed...

  • Particles

    I'm from the future and this didn't fly.