Audio Only YouTube is a browser extension for Google Chrome to play the audio stream of YouTube videos only.

The video hosting site YouTube offers no option to play only the audio track of videos. While that is probably not desirable in many cases, it is beneficial in a few cases.

Playback of the audio stream of a video on YouTube uses less bandwidth than playback of the entire video. This may improve the stream quality, especially on low-end devices or devices with limited Internet bandwidth, for instance, when videos buffer all the time or don't play fluently. Another benefit of it is that audio-only streams require less power than video streams; useful if you connect to YouTube on mobile devices.

Audio-only playback is useful when you play certain types of videos on YouTube such as music videos, presentations, talkshows, podcasts, or discussions.

Audio Only YouTube

Audio Only YouTube is active right after you install it. It is a bit worrying that the extension requires access to all sites and not only YouTube though. Is that because of embedded YouTube videos on third-party sites? You can check out the code on GitHub, and it appeared clean on quick inspection.

When you play a video on YouTube after installation, only the audio stream is transferred to your computer and played. This is faster as it uses less bandwidth and beneficial to power consumption if your machine is on battery.

The extension shows a message where the video would play stating that the extension is enabled. Users can click on the extension icon in Chrome's main toolbar to toggle it.

A click toggles the functionality of the extension so that you can switch between audio-only and video playback on YouTube with just a click. The status is remembered so that you don't need to do so each time you want to watch a video on the site.

Switching restarts the video however as the last position is not remembered.

Closing Words

Audio Only YouTube is an excellent extension for Google Chrome. It should work in other Chromium-based browsers like Vivaldi or Opera as well, and may even work in Firefox if you use Chrome Store Foxified.

It is ideal for users who listen to audio only or predominantly at times especially since it saves bandwidth and power.