How to Watch Ad-Free YouTube Videos on Android, Even Without Vanced
YouTube Vanced was a popular modded version of the YouTube app that gave us access to features that the free version of the YouTube app wouldn’t (not to mention a few fun extras, like themes and swipe controls). However, it was mainly popular because it had an ad blocker, offline downloads, picture in picture and background playback. Things you would typically pay $9.99 a month to get. It was quite popular in the Android community, but alas, it’s no more.
But just because Google asked Vanced to stop, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy YouTube ad-free with background playback. There are many other options.
(Note: if you have Vanced installed now, it will continue to work for the foreseeable future.)
First, a case for YouTube Premium
We’ll cover the “real” Vanced alternatives below, but before that, let’s make the case for YouTube Premium. Yes, it costs $11.99/month, but it removes ads on everything your devices. Your TV, PC, Android smartphone, everywhere. And it gives you access to features like background playback and picture-in-picture.
If you can afford a bounty, you’re supporting content creators. And, if you pay for the $14.99/month family plan, you can split the bill with five other users.
The best alternatives to YouTube Vanced
But if you can’t (or don’t want to) pay for YouTube Premium, you can always use modded YouTube apps and third-party clients that provide a similar experience to YouTube Vanced.
NewPipe is not a modded version of the YouTube app like Vanced was. It is a separate service, free of charge, and open-source player for YouTube. It is light, but it offers the features you care the most in regards to: No ads, background playback and picture-in-picture. NewPipe is the app I have have personally used over the past two years.
Just like Vanced, NewPipe is not available on the Play Store. But you can directly download the APK installer from their website, or you can find the app on F-Droid App Store (an alternative to Google Play Store, which hosts free and open source apps) .
It is another free and open source third-party YouTube app just like NewPipe. It also offers the basic features you will want, including no Ads and background fetching.
The only real downside is that it’s a read-only application. You cannot log into your YouTube account, so there is no sync feature. The app has its own feature for channel subscriptions and bookmarks.
One clear reason to use Firefox over Google Chrome on Android is its huge gallery of free add-ons. And they will be really useful here. If you install the uBlock Origin add-on, you will enjoy an ad-free YouTube experience in the browser. Go to Menu > Additional modules > and activate uBlock Origin.
The wrong side? No features like offline downloads.
Vanced recommends you to use Brave browser to watch ad-free YouTube videos on Android. The app comes with an ad blocking feature by default, and as long as you’ve enabled the Shields Up feature for the YouTube site, you should be good to go.
Use an ad-blocking VPN
Alternatively, you can use an ad-free VPN on your Android smartphone. This will prevent ads from loading on your devices and protect you from online tracking, as well. Vanced suggests you try Adguardbut you can use any ad-blocking VPN for this purpose.