Our prayers have been answered. The quite simple but extremely useful capability of viewing YouTube videos while not having them open on your Android screen will soon be a reality. YouTube audio playlist surfers like myself, rejoice.
Thanks to a sweet segment called APK (Application Package File) Teardown on the awesome Android news blog, Android Police, we have just heard word that the newest YouTube for Android app update (YouTube 5.2.27) includes the ability to view YouTube videos as just background audio. According to their observations, the feature will allow users to begin playing a video, exit the application and even switch to open another app — all without cutting out the audio stream. In my opinion, “Yes, that is awesome!”
Check out the Settings screen cap from the new update below:
The report speculates that the audio should still remain active even if a user shuts off their screen, meaning that battery life can be saved in part due to not powering the backlit screen, nor displaying the video network stream.
And for all you developers out there, Android Police has also published the strings of coding from the APK which led to their findings (it’s a foreign language to me):
<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_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>
Most likely the new capability comes thanks to the input or feedback from users. Until this update, Android users on the YouTube app would have to keep the video screen open to view a video steam. Now, YouTube fans who use the service to discover new albums or musical artists (many YouTube users will upload songs or even full albums, along with usually the album cover or artist slideshow) can ‘set it and forget it,’ so to speak. Stream that album your friend told you about, then Tweet about it in real-time, all from the same mobile device. Boo-yah!