YouTube is the most widely used video-on-demand service on the planet.
In reality, YouTube receives 14.3 billion visits per month.
You need to understand how to download YouTube videos successfully if you want to store videos to watch later. Videos from YouTube can be downloaded in a variety of formats, such as AVI, MP4, MPEG, and others.
You may also convert YouTube videos to MP3 or WAV files if you only require the audio.
Related: Best YouTube Audio Downloaders, Best YouTube to MP4 Converters, How to Download Twitch Videos
Because there are so many ways to download and view videos on demand these days, I put together this resource with the most up-to-date methods for downloading YouTube videos.
These methods work whether you want to download YouTube videos on your desktop, or phone or tablet.
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
How To Download YouTube Videos (2 Best Ways)
There are several ways to download YouTube videos, and in this guide, I’ll show you all of them.
How to download YouTube videos using a YouTube downloader or converter
The first method is pretty straightforward. And honestly, it’s the most efficient, fast, and safe.
What you want to do is to find a good YouTube downloading tool.
Choose the best YouTube downloader
In my own experience, the best YouTube downloader or converter on the market is 4K Video Downloader.
4K Video Downloader is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux and includes useful features like bulk downloading, playlist saving, and downloads in 720p, 1080p, and 4K resolutions. YouTube subtitles can also be extracted and saved in over 50 languages.
Try 4K Video Downloader risk-free for 14 days with a money-back guarantee.
A few other tools are available, such as iTubeGo, and while the free versions are adequate, the commercial versions are far superior.
What features should I look for in a YouTube downloader and converter?
Here are the features you should look for when searching for a YouTube downloading tool.
- Video Quality – The converter YouTube video should have decent quality, and you should be able to adjust the video’s quality inside the tool. It could fall into one of three groups: low, medium, and high. Even so, it’s much better if you have the option of selecting a specific video resolution, such as 720p, 1080p, 4K, or other options.
- Batch Downloading – Downloading several files simultaneously is a feature you don’t want to miss out on. You may want to download entire playlists or even entire YouTube channels. For example, you may want to download the complete discography of your favorite artist or your favorite series simultaneously.
- Choose Different File Formats – When downloading YouTube videos, you may want to download and convert some videos to MP4, and others to MP3, or even to other media formats. Having this flexibility is a must for any YouTube converter.
- Subtitles – Whether you want to download a movie, a documentary, or simply a “how-to” video, subtitles are essential if the video is in a foreign language.
- Speed – The software should have a fast download speed unaffected by network or wi-fi variations.
How to download YouTube videos with an online converter
Another method for downloading YouTube videos is to use an online YouTube downloader. They’re free and simple.
However, beware that most of these sites have advertising popping up while you try to download your video. Some may even try to install malware on your computer. That’s why it’s always best to go with a premium tool like 4K Download.
For this example, I’ll use Ymp4.
Copy the video URL from YouTube
Open YouTube and select the video you wish to download. Copy the YouTube URL in the search box.
Alternatively, you can right-click on the thumbnail and select “Copy Link Address” (it might display differently depending on the browser you use).
Now, open Ymp4 and paste the link into the text box. Click on Go.
You’ll be presented with various options on how you can download your video. In this case, there are 28 different ways you can download this video.
As you can see, you can select various quality types based on file size or resolution. It even lets you convert it to MP3.
These online converters also let you download YouTube videos in other formats like AVI, WMV, MPG, ASF, M2TS, 3GP, 3G2, MKV, FLV, SWF, WEBM, HTML5 WEBM, HTML5 OGG, and more.
However, if you want to batch download a playlist, you’re better off with a paid YouTube downloader. These online downloaders only support one download at a time.
How To Download YouTube Videos Directly
There is a workaround that many people are unaware of if you don’t want to utilize a third-party program or an online converter like Ymp4.
Here’s how to get a YouTube video to download directly from the YouTube page:
- Head over to YouTube – Go to the YouTube video you want to download.
- Add “ss” to the link – On the video URL, insert “ss” right before “youtube.” Here’s an example: https://www.ssyoutube.com/watch?v=pCgtvg6-z_E. The “ss” is placed after the “www.” but right before “youtube.”
- Download the video – You’ll be redirected to a website similar to Ymp4 that already has your link in the text box. Wait a bit, select the quality you want, and download your video.
This strategy is also used by a number of other online YouTube converters to drive visitors to their sites. Essentially, they purchased a domain name such as “XXyoutube” (“XX” is whatever combination of letters they chose). By entering “XX” in the link, you’ll be redirected to their website to download the video.
And this is how you download YouTube videos directly from YouTube.
How To Download YouTube Videos With Browser Add-Ons
It’s possible that you don’t want to fiddle with the YouTube video URL. Some of you may prefer not to utilize a third-party tool to download the videos.
In this instance, using browser add-ons is the perfect solution. Here’s how you download YouTube videos using browser add-ons.
1. Choose your add-on
A browser add-on is a small program that enhances your browser’s functionality and tailors your browsing experience. Fortunately, there’s an add-on for almost anything you can imagine. The same goes true for downloading YouTube videos.
The first thing you need to do is choose an add-on, depending on the browser of your choice. Safari, Firefox, and Opera all have third-party add-ons you can install. Chrome also has many video downloader add-ons. However, their add-ons cannot download YouTube videos due to restrictions imposed by Google Web Store Policies and Developer Program Policies.
So, for this example, I’ll go with the Firefox browser.
Head over to the Firefox Browser Add-Ons and type “YouTube downloader” in the search box.
Hundreds of add-ons will be available. I recommend going with the first option on the list because it has more users, a higher rating, and is recommended by Firefox.
2. Download the add-on
As you can see, this simple add-on lets you download YouTube videos and save them into different video and audio formats. Click on Add to Firefox.
3. Head over to YouTube
Now, when you go watch the YouTube video you want to download, you’ll notice a green button beside the subscribe button saying “Download As.”
By clicking that button, you’ll be displayed with different options:
- 3GP 144P
- MP4 360P
- MP4 720P
- Full HD 1080P
- MP3 HQ 256 Kbps
- MP3 HQ 128 Kbps
- Contact / Bug report
4. Choose the file format
Most add-ons give you a number of alternatives for saving the video. There are several formats to choose from and several video quality levels. Typically, a pop-up window appears during the download selection process, asking for your preferences.
Browser add-ons are little pieces of software that can be very handy!
How To Download YouTube Videos with VLC
VLC media player is a cross-platform, open-source media player available for desktop systems and mobile platforms, such as iOS, Android, and iPad.
This free tool is safe to use and makes it easy to download YouTube videos from the Internet.
Here’s a step-by-step approach on how to download YouTube videos with VLC.
1. Download VLC.
If you don’t have it yet, head over to the VLC homepage and download the software to your system.
2. Copy the YouTube URL.
Choose the YouTube video you want to download and copy its URL link to your computer’s clipboard.
3. Open VLC.
On your PC, open the VLC media player application.
4. Select Open Network.
If you’re on a Mac, go to File > Open Network. If you’re using a Windows PC, click on the Media option. Then, click on Open Network Stream. In the text box, paste the YouTube link.
Click on Open, and the video will start to play immediately.
5. Go to media information.
While the video is playing or selected, go to Window > Media Information. In Mac, you can just click ⌘+I to go straight there.
6. Copy the link.
In the Media Information window, make sure you are on the General tab. Go to Location and copy the link that appears in the Location text box.
7. Open a browser.
Next, open an Internet browser and paste that link in the URL bar.
8. Download the video.
As soon as you paste the link into the URL field, the video will begin to play automatically. Click on the three dots at the bottom-right of the video frame.
Click Download and choose the folder where you want the video to be downloaded.
The file will probably be named “videoplayback” with an MP4 extension.
Now the video will begin to download. The default format is an MP4 file, with the title “videoplayback” as the default. Save it with your other videos once it has finished downloading.
Although this procedure appears to be extensive at this time, it’s actually quite simple when you get the hang of it.
How To Download YouTube Videos On Mobile
It can be a little more difficult to download a YouTube video to your mobile. Let’s see how you can download YouTube videos on Android and iPhone.
How to download YouTube videos on Android
If you have an Android phone, I recommend trying a free app called InsTube.
InsTube is a video downloading tool for Android that is completely free. You may download videos, MP3s, and movies from 100+ websites without logging in to those websites.
Because of Google’s copyrighting policy, which forbids YouTube downloader apps from being published in their store, you won’t be able to discover InsTube on Google Play.
Fortunately, none of this has anything to do with the security of the InsTube app. Lookout, CM Security, and McAfee have all validated that the software is clear of viruses and malware.
After you download InsTube, downloading YouTube videos is pretty straightforward. In case you need any help, just follow this guide.
However, if you don’t want to install InsTube on your smartphone, you can follow these steps to download YouTube videos to your Android phone:
- Go to YouTube and click on the video you wish to download.
- Click on Share and select Copy link.
- On your browser, open Ymp4 and paste the video URL in the text box.
- Click on Go.
- Choose the format you want and also the resolution.
- Click on Download.
Your file will be saved on your device.
In most ways, this procedure is identical to the process of downloading YouTube videos to your desktop computer with the use of an online converter. You’ll notice that these websites all have advertising popping up, which can be annoying. Besides, you might end up clicking on a button you shouldn’t. Just be aware of that.
Getting a YouTube Premium subscription is the quickest and most secure way to download YouTube videos. You may watch and download videos directly on your phone within the YouTube app.
How to download YouTube videos on iPhone or iPad
If you’re an Apple user, here’s how you can download YouTube videos to your iPhone or iPad.
- Head over to YouTube and select the video you want to download.
- Click on Share and copy the link.
- Go to Ymp4 and paste the link on the text box.
- Click Go.
- Choose the format and resolution you want.
- Click Download.
Again, using YouTube Premium is always a more reliable option.
Is It Legal To Download YouTube Videos
YouTube’s Terms of Service are quite straightforward in terms of what a viewer may and cannot do on the platform.
Violations of their Terms of Service include downloading videos without authorization, selling them, and committing copyright infringement.
While downloading YouTube videos is technically illegal, YouTube has stated that it has no intention of penalizing users who do so. It is permissible to download royalty-free videos from YouTube licensed through Creative Commons. Furthermore, it’s lawful if you’re only using the video for personal purposes.
Here’s what YouTube has to say in this matter:
You are not allowed to access, reproduce, download, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, alter, modify or otherwise use any part of the Service or any Content except: (a) as specifically permitted by the Service; (b) with prior written permission from YouTube and, if applicable, the respective rights holders; or (c) as permitted by applicable law.
To put it another way, you can watch Youtube videos through Google apps exclusively. If you’re a YouTube Premium user, you’ll notice that you can download YouTube videos directly from YouTube legally.
On the other hand, third-party apps that enable consumers to download YouTube videos will continue to surface on the internet. It’s tough to sanction or ban users who abuse them – you can still watch YouTube videos even if you’re not signed in.
Finally, the decision to download YouTube videos for personal use is entirely up to you.
Here are the most common questions people ask about download YouTube videos.
How can I download a video from YouTube?
You can download a YouTube video with a third-party tool, an online converter, or browser extensions.
The most reliable option is a third-party tool such as 4K Video Downloader. Online converters usually display advertising while you try to download and convert the video and might try to install adware or malware. 4K Video Downloader will keep your device free of viruses or malware.
If you’re using a desktop browser, the simplest way to download a YouTube video is to use a browser extension. Chrome extensions do not allow you to download YouTube videos due to their restricted policies. However, the Firefox browser presents you with many add-ons made specifically to download YouTube videos.
Can I download YouTube videos for free?
Yes, you can. 4K Video Downloader has a free version that allows you to download any YouTube videos for free. However, to batch download YouTube playlists, you need to upgrade to the premium version.
On the other hand, you can also download YouTube videos for free using online converters like Ymp4. Furthermore, you can use the open-source VLC media player and some browser add-ons. As you can see, there are plenty of options here.
What is batch downloading?
The term “batch downloading” refers to downloading several files simultaneously.
In other words, when consumers use software or web browser add-ons to download several YouTube videos into their computer or device, this is known as YouTube batch downloading.
Multi-part downloading is also another name for batch downloading. This is popular because it is a convenient way to download multiple tiny files from a single location and because the file sizes of the downloaded video do not exceed the limits imposed by some software.
Because it takes less time to perform the operation, many YouTube users use third-party software to download videos.
What’s the best way to download YouTube videos?
There are different ways to download videos, depending on your device.
For desktop computers, I recommend you go with 4K Video Downloader.
For Android mobile devices, you can use the InsTube app or YouTube Premium.
For iPhone users, you might want to use an online converter such as Ymp4.
Can I Download Music From YouTube Music?
Many third-party apps allow you to also download music from streaming services like Spotify and YouTube Music. Usually, these tools download the music as an MP4 file and convert it to MP3 or another audio file format you want. If you’re looking for a YouTube Music downloader, try Allavsoft Video and Music Downloader.
What’s the best music to use on my YouTube videos?
If you’re creating YouTube videos, you should consider using royalty-free music. Sometimes, royalty-free music is also called stock music, but they’re actually two separate subjects.
Royalty-free licenses allow you to repurpose the same song multiple times without copyright violation while being relatively cheap. This is the reason why it’s so popular nowadays. Check out my article on the best royalty-free music sites.
As an alternative, YouTube Audio Library offers a wide selection of free royalty-free music tracks you can use without any worries.
For the most part, downloading videos from YouTube or any other site is relatively simple. You have the option of using different third-party sites and apps to achieve this goal.
In fact, depending on what you want to download, there are many ways to go about it.
In my own experience, the best way to download YouTube videos is to use 4K Video Downloader — it’s the best software for quality videos and conversions.
This tool allows you to watch your favorite YouTube videos at any time, even if you don’t have access to the Internet. You can never miss out on videos you enjoy by downloading them and keeping them on your computer or phone.
Do you prefer to watch YouTube videos online or download them? Which tool do you like to use? Feel free to express your ideas in the comments below.