YouTube Music finally makes this premium feature available to free users

YouTube Music
YouTube Music (Image credit: Chris Wedel / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • YouTube Music's free tier now has access to background listening.
  • The feature was previously reserved for YouTube Premium subscribers.
  • Background listening is rolling out to Canadian users first before reaching other countries and regions.

YouTube Music may be one of the best music streaming services around, but there's one particular limitation that has left it lagging behind other platforms. Google is now getting rid of that limitation as it finally lets free YouTube Music users listen to music in the background.

Now, users on the ad-supported free tier will be able to continue jamming to their favorite tunes or listen to podcasts while their screen is turned off or while they're doing other things on their phones.

Within this, you can engage with the YouTube Music app through an exciting ad-supported, radio-like experience featuring the artists, songs, and albums you love, plus personalized mixes on shuffle without the hassle of having to keep the YouTube Music app open on your device.

The new feature can help users save some battery by not keeping their display constantly on while listening. It will also be particularly helpful for users when in Assistant driving mode, so they can easily control their listening experience while driving.

While this brings the free tier to parity with other streaming services, there are still plenty of reasons to subscribe to YouTube Premium, particularly for an ad-free experience and music downloads. That also extends to the new YouTube Music app for Wear OS, allowing users to stream songs offline from devices like the Galaxy Watch 4 without needing their phone nearby.

Google is rolling out free background listening to YouTube Music users in Canada first, beginning November 3. The company says to stay tuned for "or additional information and expansion plans."

Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.