YouTube provides access to billions of videos you can stream, but some creators allow viewers to download their videos for offline viewing. There’s even an easy one-click download button built right into the browser – but for it all to work, you must subscribe to YouTube Premium first!
There are apps designed to assist with video downloads; however, be mindful that downloading any video without prior consent from its owner constitutes copyright infringement and should only be done with their authorization.
How to download a YouTube video
Downloading YouTube videos has never been simpler, with apps for mobile devices and browser extensions available today, each offering different user experience levels and technical abilities required for success. Furthermore, websites may contain potentially unsafe material like ads or malware.
YouTube Premium subscribers can download videos directly from the app. To do so, open YouTube and select any video; tap “Share,” choose “Save Video,” and select your save location. It will be stored safely once saved to your device for offline viewing.
Mac users can use the free WinX app to download videos quickly. It features multiple file downloads simultaneously, high-resolution 4K download support for different file formats, and compatibility with video-sharing platforms such as Vimeo and Facebook.
SaveFrom 2.0 or y2mate are great sites for downloading YouTube videos onto Windows computers, allowing users to paste a link into a window before selecting video quality settings and downloading as an MP4 file named “video playback.”
Even without YouTube Premium, you can still download YouTube videos using services such as ClipGrab. These sites enable you to select resolution and file format options when downloading but can be slow and require some technical knowledge for operation. A choice would be the VLC media player, which can download YouTube videos directly onto a PC and save them as MP4 files – although beware: downloading copyrighted material without author consent could result in YouTube penalizing your account with an account strike.
YouTube is one of the world’s premier video platforms and hosts millions of entertainment vlogs, music videos, documentaries, DIY tutorials, and other videos for viewers to watch for free. While streaming these videos through the platform is perfectly legal, many people often wonder whether downloading them from there would be illegal.
General speaking, downloading any video from YouTube without prior permission from its creators or YouTube itself is against copyright law; however, YouTube typically does not pursue copyright violations against users who utilize third-party video downloading apps or websites to do so – perhaps because these third-party video downloaders generate revenue through ads for which Google (YouTube’s parent company) would likely want to keep running them?
As YouTube is a free service that relies on advertisements for revenue, the company would lose if people stopped watching its videos. Although it seems unlikely they’ll pursue legal action against users for using these tools; YouTube could change their terms of service to account for such behavior.
Currently, downloading YouTube videos without copyright-protected content should not violate their terms of service. As a social media website, YouTube does not own the rights to content uploaded onto its platform and thus cannot prevent you from downloading it without incurring either bans from accessing its website or lawsuits for violating its terms of service.
As such, it is highly advised that only safe tools and apps be used to download YouTube videos. For added peace of mind, consider signing up for YouTube Premium, as this will not only give you access to downloading YouTube videos but also open up other features not found on the accessible version of the website.
Method 1: Copy the URL
Copying YouTube video URLs is the quickest and most straightforward way to save it for offline viewing, whether on mobile devices or desktop computers. Navigating directly to the video you wish to keep will begin playing automatically; tap the share icon below the video (arrow). Tap copy link (this will copy the video’s link into the clipboard – for iPhone/iPad users, press and hold the address bar and choose Copy to Clipboard instead).
Once the video’s URL has been copied, you can paste it into any app that allows text input, such as social media posts or text messages, web browser downloads, or web apps to watch later as an MP3.
Another method is manually adding a timestamp to the video’s URL, which can help when sharing specific parts. You could, for instance, append “&t=YmXXs” at the end of its URL to set it to start at Y minutes and XX seconds into the video, while just using seconds may work just as well – for instance, “&start=90s” would play at 90 seconds into it!
Various websites offer free services to download YouTube videos, but many contain adware and may attempt to install malware onto your device. It is best to avoid such websites and opt for safer and more convenient solutions like YouTube, which is available on both Mac and PCs and offers various download options, including high-resolution files with separate audio and subtitle tracks.
Method 2: Download the video from the website
With YouTube Premium, downloading videos has never been simpler. When browsing videos in either the browser or mobile app, a “Download” icon appears at the bottom. Simply click it, choose your video quality preference, and the clip will be downloaded directly onto your device. YouTube will keep this video cached so it doesn’t delete itself once rewatched – saving time and space in your device!
This method requires only a web browser and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers. This is also the best way to obtain high-resolution versions of videos for use with other apps or playing on your computer – although they will appear scrambled; viewing these without YouTube requires either file manager software or other video downloading solutions.
Another solution is to access websites offering free downloads. Most of these websites feature ads-supported downloads and may contain viruses or malware; however, some provide ad-free versions and extra features, like being able to download videos in multiple formats or trim them down before saving.
Some services provide mobile apps that make downloading and converting any format video file to MP3 a simple process, while others offer more choices of quality, such as 1080p and 4K options. These sites can be accessed on any device, including Windows PCs, Android smartphones, iOS tablets, and Mac computers!
Mac users can utilize specific applications to download videos from YouTube, save them to an offline playlist, screen record them, or customize video thumbnails to make their videos more attractive to audiences. Just be mindful not to violate any copyright laws when downloading YouTube videos as doing so could result in fines or termination of account.
Method 3: Download the video from the app
The official YouTube app features a built-in download feature, accessible from any video via its three-dot menu (on mobile devices, it’s the download button). Downloaded videos can also be found in your Library tab and deleted if necessary; for YouTube Premium subscribers, this feature also works on desktop versions of YouTube!
There are apps for iOS (iPhone/iPad/Android), macOS, and Linux devices that can save YouTube videos into local storage directly. Many are free and feature a user-friendly interface allowing you to paste in a URL of a YouTube video before selecting an output format and quality (MP4); certain apps even convert YouTube videos to audio format!
As with mobile, desktop computer use also allows for downloading YouTube videos. A program capable of parsing web pages, such as 4K Video Downloader+ or youtube-dl, which is a Python-based open-source solution, may be required to access YouTube videos safely; though generally safe, they need technical knowledge (and may often depend on Windows or Mac operating systems for operation).
YouTube has long played a cat-and-mouse game with third-party downloaders without directly enforcing or actively enforcing its terms of service. Instead, Google and Apple try to keep such downloaders from the App Store or Google Play. Unfortunately, many websites still exist that offer to download YouTube videos for you – some legitimate, while others could redirect to sites with ads or potential malware issues that may infiltrate your device. Because of this risky scenario, we advise choosing an officially approved method, such as an App Store-certified app or website or security firm certification, for the best results.