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How to Play YouTube Video as Audio Without Downloading It

There are times when you want to listen to only the audio version of a YouTube video. This usually happens in the case of a music video. You don’t care for the visuals. You want to enjoy just the music.

Also, you may just want to listen to a lecture without wanting to watch the visuals.

No Audio Player Option in YouTube

On the face of it, there’s no option on YouTube for you to choose the audio version only. In other words, you can’t switch between the video player and the audio player.

So, what’s wrong with the video is playing as well. Just play it on another tab on your browser and do something else on another tab.

Why Play YouTube Video as Audio

Well, there may be reasons why you don’t want the video to play. You may be on a limited Internet plan. When you play a video it takes up your bandwidth which you may want to use for something else.

This is especially so for HD videos. It’s estimated that they take up about 4 times the bandwidth required to play an audio file.

Second, playing a video also taxes your computer resources. So, if you want to save on processing power, especially when you’re multi-tasking, you may want to play the audio-only of a Youtube video.

Downloading YouTube Video as Audio

One way to listening the audio version of a YouTube video is by downloading it as audio. There are many online YouTube downloaders out there that will help you convert a YouTube video to MP3.

But then downloading a YouTube video as MP3 requires bandwidth as well. Also it if you have a slower Internet connection, you may have to wait for a long time for the video to be downloaded.

If you don’t fancy the above options, there’s a way to play YouTube video as audio without downloading it.

You can do it through a free browser extension called Audio Only YouTube. It’s an open-source project licensed under GPLv3.

Audio Only YouTube Extension

The free Audio Only YouTube browser extension works with the Chrome browser.

Here are the steps on how to install it and play YouTube video as audio without downloading it.

Before you install it, let it be known that it doesn’t work with YouTube live videos.

Also, you don’t have to worry about the extension hogging your computer resources. The file size is less than 1MB.

Step 1 – Download Audio Only YouTube Extension

Head to the Chrome web store and add Audio Only YouTube to your Chrome browser.

  Download Audio Only YouTube Chrome Extension 1
  Download Audio Only YouTube Chrome Extension 2
  Download Audio Only YouTube Chrome Extension 3

Step 2 – Checking Audio Only YouTube Installation

Next head to your extension section to check whether the Audio Only YouTube has been installed.

To do this, click on the three vertical dots on the top right-hand corner of your browser page.

Next, choose More tools and then Extensions as shown below.

Checking Audio Only YouTube Chrome Extension Installation 1


Checking Audio Only YouTube Chrome Extension Installation 2

Make sure the extension is enabled with the blue slider turned on.

Checking Audio Only YouTube Chrome Extension Installation 3

Step 3 – Play Your Preferred YouTube Video

Head over to YouTube and play your favorite YouTube music video.

You’ll see a notification on the top of the video saying that the video is playing in the audio-only mode.

Instead of seeing moving visuals, you’ll only see only a thumbnail of the video.

 Play Your Preferred YouTube Video with the Audio Only YouTube extension

The thumbnail remains as the video plays on.

 Play Your Preferred YouTube Video with the Audio Only YouTube extension 2

You may also navigate away from the YouTube page and open another tab. You can then click on the Audio-only Youtube icon to bring up the audio player and control playback.

You may stop or turn on playback without going to the video’s YouTube page.

 Play Your Preferred YouTube Video with the Audio Only YouTube extension 2

But then you must always keep the YouTube page open. Otherwise, you’ll not have access to the YouTube audio player on other tabs.

You may also turn on the live caption feature if you want to sing along with the lyrics.

If you would like to revert to the video mode, just click on the extension icon and turn off the audio player.

You’ll be back in the video player mode as shown below.

 Play Your Preferred YouTube Video with the Audio Only YouTube extension 4

Live Captions for Educational Videos

The Live caption feature will come in handy if you’re listening to an educational video.

As you navigate to another tab, the captions will pop up on the screen.

 Play Your Preferred YouTube Video with the Audio Only YouTube extension  - Live Captions
 Play Your Preferred YouTube Video with the Audio Only YouTube extension  - Live Captions 2

Captions are available on any tab on the Chrome browser as you listen to the audio.

 Play Your Preferred YouTube Video with the Audio Only YouTube extension  - Live Captions 3

The Audio Only YouTube extension is certainly a handy tool if you wish to play YouTube video as audio without downloading it.

Do give it a try by following the steps above.

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