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Xiaomi discontinues the feature allowing YouTube background play without Premium subscription, citing compliance requirements

Xiaomi has recently made a significant alteration in its latest updates, discontinuing a feature that allowed users to play YouTube videos in the background without the necessity of subscribing to Premium.

The hallmark benefit of YouTube Premium since its inception has been the capacity to play videos even when the screen is turned off, a feature not accessible to non-subscribers.

As highlighted by Android Authority, Xiaomi disclosed last week that a feature dubbed "Play video sound with screen off" is being eliminated from all devices across various software versions, including HyperOS, MIUI 14, MIUI 13, and MIUI 12, with updates currently underway.

Xiaomi disclosed last week that a feature dubbed "Play video sound with screen off" is being eliminated from all devices
Xiaomi disclosed last week that a feature dubbed "Play video sound with screen off" is being eliminated from all devices


Attributing the change to "compliance requirements," Xiaomi suggests that Google and potentially other content distributors exerted pressure to strip this feature away, stating:

"We regret to inform you that we have removed the 'Play video sound with screen off' function in the video toolbox feature and the 'Turn off screen' function in the game toolbox feature through Over-The-Air (OTA) updates due to compliance requirements."

Previously, MIUI devices enjoyed the ability to continue playing audio from YouTube videos even when the screen was off, but this functionality has now been eliminated by Xiaomi.

The company conveyed this alteration via their Mi Fans Telegram channel on March 7, citing compliance obligations as the driving force behind the decision.

In the announcement, Xiaomi apprised users, many of whom were taken by surprise, of the removal of the "Play video sound with screen off" function from the video toolbox feature and the "Turn off screen" function from the game toolbox feature with recent updates, features that were initially introduced with MIUI 12.

The impact of this change extends to numerous flagship smartphones, including the Xiaomi 14, 13, 13 Pro, and 12T, among others, as illustrated in a screenshot provided by Xiaomi, displaying a comprehensive list of affected system versions, device models, and security versions.

A list delineates the Xiaomi MIUI devices that are affected by the removal of the YouTube background playing feature.

A list delineates the Xiaomi MIUI devices that are affected by the removal of the YouTube background playing feature
A list delineates the Xiaomi MIUI devices that are affected by the removal of the YouTube background playing feature


Implicit in the company's Telegram announcement is the suggestion that this decision is likely influenced by Google's crackdown on services providing YouTube Premium features for free.

YouTube Premium, which requires a $13.99 monthly subscription, grants users exclusive privileges such as ad-free viewing, offline video access, and the ability to play videos in the background while utilizing other apps or when the screen is off.

Given that Xiaomi was essentially providing one of YouTube Premium's paid features for free, it's understandable that Google would take a dim view of the situation. Nonetheless, it raises questions as to why Xiaomi has chosen to remove this feature only now, despite YouTube Premium offering it for an extended period.

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