YouTube is the most extensive video sharing and on-demand video platform in the world, with over 2 billion logged-in users per month and with more than 30 million visitors per day.
If you are a fan of YouTube but want to find a way to download YouTube videos so that you can enjoy watching them or listening to their audio without the need of connecting to the Internet or visiting and signing up for the platform, then here is a complete guide which will help you do so.
There are tools, online sites, and other methods which you can use to download YouTube videos and to convert them into different video and audio formats, including MP3, MP4, MPEG, AVI, and many more.
Here are some of the best ways to download YouTube videos for 2022.
Steps for downloading YouTube videos
The downloading of a video from YouTube is generally pretty straightforward and quick.
You can use one of the following methods and tools for easy and fast downloading of video and audio content from YouTube:
Using a video downloading tool to download YouTube videos
Using a specialized YouTube downloader or converter is the fastest and the easiest way to download the videos of your choice from the video-sharing platform.
Here is a step-by-step guide for downloading YouTube videos using a video downloading tool:
1. Choose the most suitable YouTube downloading software or service
There is a wide variety of tools for downloading videos from YouTube, one of the best ones being 4K Download.
4K Download is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux computers and is easy to use and multiple built-in functionalities.
You can use 4K Download to download a whole batch of videos and entire playlists and channels simultaneously. You can also use it to create and save playlists, extract subtitles in 50+ languages, and download videos of all resolutions, including 4K and 8K and even 3D and 360-degree videos.
You can use the tool to access and download private playlists and videos on YouTube with this tool without signing in.
The tool is easy to use and comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee so that you can try it out right away here.
There are other online downloaders and other tools for downloading videos from YouTube, some of which are completely free, but the premium paid versions usually offer more features and higher quality.
2. How to choose the best YouTube downloading tool or service
Here are the main features to keep in mind when choosing the most suitable YouTube downloading tool for your needs:
– The video quality – the best downloading tools and apps offer an option for choosing the quality and resolution of the video. Pick a tool that will enable you to download the video of your choice in the same or better quality than the original.
– The availability of subtitles – if you want to download videos that are in another language and you need subtitles for them, then you should pick a tool or app that can download the subtitles in the languages of your choice.
– Batch simultaneous downloading – if you are going to be downloading a lot of videos, or want to download whole playlists or channels at once, then this feature will save you a lot of time and energy. There are YouTube downloading tools that will allow you to queue and download multiple videos at once with a single click. This will save the time and hassle of having to select and download them one by one manually.
– Compatibility with different file formats – the downloading tool should provide you with the flexibility and choice to download and save the videos from and to more types of file formats, including MP3, MP4, FLAC, AAC, and more. Some of the tools offer compatibility and conversion from and to more than 100 different file formats and types.
– An integrated video editor – if you are planning on cutting and editing videos or saving just parts of YouTube videos, then a downloading tool with a built-in editor will make this task much easier, instead of downloading the entire video and using another program to edit it and save it again.
– The downloading and conversion speed – it is advisable to choose a program or service which can download and convert the videos as quickly as possible so as not to affect the performance of your computer or another device or to not be affected by your internet connection speed.
– The compatibility with other video sharing and streaming platforms – many of the tools offer the ability to download videos from other sites such as Facebook, TikTok, Vimeo, Dailymotion, and many others. The more versatile the tool – the better.
3. Copy the URL of the video of your choice from the address bar of the browser
For the online video downloading tools and many standalone programs for YouTube video downloading, you will need to open the video which you want to download and copy the URL of the video. Then you have to paste it into the text box of the downloading tool.
After you are done, you simply need to press Convert, Download, Go or Start (depending on the tool or website you are using), and the video will start downloading.
4. Choose the format of the file and the quality of the video
Some tools offer the ability to choose the file format of the downloaded file, as well as the quality and resolution, and size of the downloaded file.
So, before clicking Download, you should pick the format of your choice (MP3, WMV, AVI, MP4, MPG, 3GP, FLAC, OGG, MKV, or other) and the size and resolution of the file.
You may be prompted to choose the directory and folder on the computer where you want the file or files to be downloaded to.
Be sure to check the location settings of your downloaded files, especially if you are using a VPN, because the tools may mistakenly download them to another location when a VPN is in use.
When the video has been downloaded, you are set and ready to watch it or play it on any device you want at any time.
Directly downloading the videos from YouTube – a step-by-step guide
You may not be aware that there is a method for downloading videos from YouTube directly and without the use of a dedicated downloading tool, app, or add-on.
Here are the steps for downloading videos directly from YouTube:
1. Go to the video of your choice
Open the video you want to download in your internet browser.
2. Add “ss” in the URL of the video
Add the two letters to the URL of the video in the address bar of the browser. Make sure to add the “ss” right after “www” and before “youtube” in the address.
When you are done, press Enter on the keyboard to refresh the address and to get redirected to a site for free downloading.
3. You will be redirected to the free downloading site
Once you have added the two letters and have hit Enter, your browser will redirect you to the free downloading website.
The free downloading tool will already have the URL of the video pasted in the text box, so there is no need to copy and paste it again.
Then all you will need to do is choose the quality and format of the downloaded video and then press “download.”
The video will be downloaded in a matter of seconds.
Using a video downloading add-on in your browser to download YouTube videos – a step-by-step guide
Suppose you want to be able to download YouTube videos without having to open a new tab with the online downloading tool or without opening your standalone video downloading app or program. In that case, you can install and use an add-on directly from your Internet browser.
Here is how to download YouTube videos using a browser add-on:
1. Choose a suitable add-on for your preferred internet browser
Choose the one which suits your browser and needs.
2. Download and install the add-on
Download the add-on or extension of your choice, and once it is downloaded, proceed to install it. You may need to restart your browser or your computer after installation.
3. Go to the video of your choice on YouTube
If you are using the abovementioned add-on for Opera, once you open a video on YouTube, you will see an icon available on the top right side of the browser.
You will be able to pick from the different options, including Quick Download, Conversion Tool, Download Panel, and Settings.
For the fastest results, click on Quick Download, and the video will be downloaded automatically to your computer or another device.
This will save you the time and hassle of using a separate downloading tool or an online downloader every time you want to download a YouTube video.
4. Choose the format you prefer
Most video downloading extensions and add-ons offer users an option to choose the format of the file that will be saved and the resolution and quality of the downloaded video or audio file. Pick the file format and quality you prefer before downloading the video of your choice.
Using a virtual desktop to download YouTube videos – a step-by-step guide
You can also use a Virtual Desktop for downloading YouTube videos. Here is how to do it:
1. Find the video on YouTube
Go to the video which you want to download on YouTube, and then hit Enter so that it starts playing.
2. Add “vd” into the URL of the video
Add the letters “vd” right after www and right before “youtube” in the address bar of your browser. Then press Enter. This will redirect you to the download website
3. Pick the format and quality of the video
Select the format and the quality of the video on the VDYouTube website, according to your preferences.
4. Download the video
Once you have chosen the format and the quality of the YouTube video on the site, you just need to click on the Download button, and then the video will automatically be downloaded to your computer.
Using VLC Player to download YouTube videos – a step-by-step guide
You can use the VLC Player, which you already have on your computer, or you can download it if you want to use it to download videos from YouTube.
Here is how to use VLC Player for downloading YouTube videos:
1. Open the video in your browser and copy the URL from the address bar
Find the video you want to download using your browser and copy the URL.
2. Open VLC Player
Open the VLC Player, or simply keep it open in your taskbar for faster downloading of videos at any time.
3. Open Network Stream
In the VLC Player, choose the “Media” option in the menu. Then select “Open Network Stream” if you are using a Windows computer.
If using macOS, choose the “File” option from the VLC Player, and select “Open Network.”
4. Open the media in the text editor
A new text editor window will open in the VLC Player. Paste the URL of the video which you copied earlier in the text editor.
5. Select “Play”
When you choose the Play option on the VLC Player, the video will start playing immediately.
6. Select “Codec Information”
Go to the “Tools” option in the menu, located on the top right corner of the player. Then select “Codec Information, or you can use a keyboard shortcut to open it by pressing “CTRL + J.”
When you press it, a new window will open up.
7. Choose the Location
Copy the information available in the location text box at the bottom of the window – this is easy when using a Windows computer.
If you are a Mac user, right-click on the text box and then select the “Open URL” option from the menu.
8. Copy and Paste the URL
If you are using a Windows computer, you need to paste the URL which you copied into the browser’s address bar and then click Enter. You don’t need to do this if you are using a macOS.
9. Download the video
The selected video should be playing in the browser. All you need to do is to right-click on it and choose the “Save video as” option.
Now, the YouTube video will begin downloading in an MP4 format and with the name “video playback.”
You can rename it and save it with your other videos once the downloading is done.
While this method for downloading videos from YouTube using VLC Player may sound complicated, it is actually quite straightforward once you have learned the steps.
Downloading YouTube videos on your mobile phone
Using your mobile for downloading videos from YouTube can be a tad trickier than doing it on your computer.
Still, there are several simple ways to download YouTube videos directly to your mobile device:
1. For Android phones, you can download and install the InsTube app from the Google Play Store. It is free and very easy to use.
2. For iPhones, the easiest way to download videos from YouTube is to pay for YouTube Premium. This service will allow you to download videos directly to your iPhone and then to watch them via the YouTube app. If you want a free method for downloading videos from YouTube to your iPhone, then you can use Apple AirDrop and transfer the downloaded videos from your computer to your iPhone. But you will need to download the videos from YouTube on your computer first, using one of the abovementioned methods.
Is it legal to download videos from YouTube?
According to the Terms of Service of the video-sharing platform, downloading, selling, and otherwise infringing the copyrights of videos is a violation of the terms.
But while downloading videos is not permitted according to the Terms of Service of YouTube, the platform does not penalize its users. Some videos on YouTube are royalty-free and can be downloaded without repercussions or worries of infringement of their copyrights.
Plus, if you will only be using the downloaded video for your personal use and not sharing, selling, or otherwise distributing it, then it is legal to do so.
The exact wording of the Terms of Service of YouTube is:
“You shall not copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, or otherwise exploit any Content for any other purposes without the prior written consent of YouTube or the respective licensors of the Content.”
While this means that you cannot download licensed videos from YouTube, there are multiple tools, websites, and other methods allowing users to download as many videos as they like from the video-sharing platform.
So, you can download the videos you want and watch them offline or without signing into YouTube in the future, when you are going to be using them for personal use only.
Related – The Best Free VPN 2022
Software for downloading YouTube videos
There is some excellent third-party video downloading software that is easy to use and will enable you to download online videos in the highest possible quality.
These programs will allow you to download online videos in an MP4 file for HD 1080p format and MKV format for 4K or 8K quality videos.
MP4 is a multimedia format that can be played with any player on any compatible device.
MKV, known as Matroska, is actually a file that contains not only the high-quality video but also the codecs needed for playing it.
The best way to play an MKV video file is via the VLC Player, which you can use on your PC, MAC, Smart TV, phone, or other devices. You can use this player to watch just about any video format, downloads, and streams.
So, how to download the videos from YouTube which you want to watch later? Here is a list of the best programs to use:
- It is available for all platforms, including Windows, Mac OS X, Linus, Android, iOS, Unix, and more
- The player can be used for playing all types of content and media, including files, devices, disks, streams, and more
- It can be used for playing most media files without the need for additional codecs packs, including MKV, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MP3, WMV, H.264, WebM, and more
- The software is completely free, without malware, ads, or tracking of your personal data
The VLC Media Player is the best tool to use for watching any kind of media on your computer, phone, Smart TV, or another device.
Apart from being completely free, easy to use, and one of the most versatile of all media players, VLC Media Player also has a somewhat hidden feature allowing for downloading YouTube videos.
The way to do it is to download and install the VLC Media Player on your computer or another device and then go to the YouTube video stream link you would like to open and copy its link.
Open the VLC Media Player and press Ctrl+N or select Open Network Stream. Then paste the link from the YouTube video and click Play.
Once the video starts playing, you should go to the Tools menu and select Codec Information. Find the box which says “Source” on the bottom of the menu and copy the URL which appears in the box.
This URL can be used in any browser temporarily for accessing and watching the video as well as for downloading it. Just copy the URL in the browser address window and then select the download option from your browser to save the video for later.
One problem with this YouTube video download method is that it will allow you to save the video in a resolution of up to 1080p (HD) but not a higher one, even if the original stream on YouTube is in 4K or 8K quality.
Another problem with using the VLC Media Player for downloading YouTube videos is that you don’t get an option to convert the video file into other formats of your choice.
But if you are already using the VLC Media Player and want a program that you can occasionally use for downloading videos from YouTube. In that case, this feature described above is easy to use and will eliminate the need for you to download and install additional software for downloading videos.
- There is a Free Starter version and a personal lifetime subscription for only $15, which can be used on up to 3 computers
- The software is very easy to use and completely automatized
- You can download complete playlists and channels
- You can create your playlists
- You can choose the format of the files and can download videos in 4K or 8K quality
- You can also download and extract subtitles for the videos
- It works with YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, YouTube gaming, Instagram, SoundCloud, TikTok, Twitch, Tumblr, and more
- Available for Windows, Mac, Ubuntu Linux
The 4K Video Downloader is among the easiest third-party programs you can install and use to download online videos from most video sharing and streaming platforms and social media.
It can be used for free, or you can sign up for a lifetime personal subscription for only $15 or for a business plan for $45 to get access to all of its nifty features.
The program is preferred by thousands of clients because of its user-friendly interface and its ease of use.
All you need to do to download a video is to copy and paste a link of the video via the Paste Link button, and you will get started immediately. The program will allow you to download entire playlists, channels, and even the subtitles from YouTube.
You can also download private YouTube videos that you have access to, as well as 3D and 360-degree videos.
The 4K Video Downloader also has a Smart Mode, which will memorize your preferred settings and will make the downloading experience in the future even faster and easier.
With this program, you can easily convert files from one format to another, and from one resolution to another quickly and hassle-free.
You can also set up the software to automatically download the latest videos on a channel on YouTube, which you are subscribed to so that you never miss a single video from your favorite artist, vlogger, or other.
The 4K Video Downloader also has a built-in option for extracting the downloaded audio into MP3 format so that you can listen to the content on a music player, which eliminates the need for installing a specialized software for this type of conversion, such as the 4K YouTube to MP3 software.
- It works for videos from YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, Dailymotion, Yahoo, and others
- Very easy to use, it will download a video with a single click of a button, no complicated settings to toggle
- It is fast
- Also available for Mac, for converting, and editing videos
- It can download videos in all resolutions and in video formats like MP4, FLV, 3GP, WebM
- You can also convert files into audio MP3 files
- No ads or plugins
The WinX YouTube Downloader is a program offered by Digiarty Software, which is another easy to use software that allows users to download videos from more than 600 video and other sites.
The program doesn’t contain annoying adware, malware, viruses, and will not spy on you, track your data, or your browsing or downloading history.
The program is very easy to use and will look for the best quality source of any given video. All you need to do is to copy the link for the video of your choice, and the software will search and list all options.
It can download video files in most common video formats and will allow you to convert WebM to MKV format by simply renaming the file.
It works fast and can download multiple files simultaneously.
The program is free but doesn’t allow for downloading subtitles and closed captions.
- Free to download for Windows and MAC
- It is a combined media player, DLNA streamer, and a downloader for videos
- You can use it to download videos and audio from YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, and others
- It will play videos of all resolutions and sources, including 4K, 360-degree videos, IPTV, DVD, and more
- You can use it to enjoy listening to music, and it works with all music formats, including MP3, FLAC, AAC, APE, and more
- It is completely free
The 5KPlayer is a multifunctional program that you can download on your Windows PC or MAC computer and use it as a media player, a streaming player, and a downloader for videos and audio files.
It does require registration in order to gain access to all of its features, but all you need to do is enter a name and email address.
The program promises compatibility with over 300 websites, including YouTube. In fact, you can download YouTube videos with the 5KPlayer without the need for registering.
Although downloading 4K or other videos from YouTube with this software is easy and requires only pasting the video URL and running the program, if you want to use the more advanced features like converting the file format and others, you will need to toggle with the different tools. This can be a downside for those of you who are not tech-savvy or don’t have experience with similar programs.
With this program, you will need to adjust the settings of each file separately if you want to download an entire playlist.
The player can be used for watching DLNA server videos and for downloading DLNA streamed videos. It also supports AirPlay to view the downloaded files.
You can also quickly convert any video from your library into an audio file in MPS, ACC, or MP3 format.
Overall, this is an excellent versatile program, especially given its multifunctionality, its price, and its functionality.
- You can use a free trial version, or a premium version for $7.99 for a year, and $9.99 for unlimited lifetime access
- Easy to use and can download entire playlists and channels of YouTube videos with a single click
- A built-in file format converter
- A search for the best video source
- You can download YouTube and Facebook private videos
- No ads
- An integrated editing tool to create MP3 ringtones or add ID3 tags to the files
- User-friendly interface
- You will get personal recommendations for videos which may interest you
YouTubeByClick is an intuitive YouTube video download program for Windows, which is easy to use even by newbies.
It has a user-friendly interface with dials to adjust the file format and quality, and you can easily choose where to store your downloaded files and keep track of them.
The free version has a speed limit of 2Mbps, but if you pay for the inexpensive premium version, you can get a faster downloading speed, as well as access to features like downloading entire channels and playlists, subtitles, convert files and ensure your experience is completely ad-free.
The software will automatically detect a new video from the provided YouTube URL and will ask you whether to start the download.
Once you enter your Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube user names and passwords, you will also gain access to private videos and can download them easily as well.
Websites for online downloading of YouTube videos
If you don’t want to be bothered with downloading and installing a specialized program for downloading videos from YouTube, you can use one of the various online websites offering this service.
With websites like this, you don’t need to download or install anything on your computer or another device, and you will still be able to download any video of your choice for offline viewing.
Unfortunately, there are some websites that offer instant YouTube video downloads, which can be suspicious and risky to use.
Thankfully though, there are some which are safe and will not fill your computer with malware, viruses, or track your personal data.
Most of these websites are free to use and require that you paste a URL of the YouTube video you are interested in downloading. They can be slower than when using a dedicated program installed on your computer but are an excellent option for occasional downloading.
- An online free video downloader for all websites
- You can download videos and audios in HD, MP4, and MP3
- No need for registering
- You can download playlists and batches of videos simultaneously
- You can use it to record your video conference meetings on Skype, Zoon, Teams, and more, as well as audio from them
- You can use it to convert and to edit your video and audio files into 300 different formats with various effects and enhancements
- You can use it to rip Blu-ray and DVDs to more popular formats
- A fast downloading rate
- Available for PC, MAC, Android, iOS, and more
VidPaw is one of the best and safest websites that will allow you to download YouTube videos and other online videos directly, without the need to register or to download and install software on your device.
You can use this useful website to easily convert and edit your audio and video files, rip DVDs and Blue-Ray content and record online video or audio chats.
It is very easy to use, completely free, and you can get the service running automatically while using YouTube, by adding “paw” in the URL, as follows: www.youtubepaw.com
You can sign up for its desktop client if you want to have the VidPaw software on your Windows or MAC computer too.
Browser extensions for downloading YouTube videos
Browser extensions can save you tons of time and effort while surfing the internet, working, watching media content, shopping, communicating or others.
There are some excellent browser extensions which will allow you to download YouTube videos without the need to navigate to a specific YouTube downloading website, or without having to open a dedicated program for downloading videos.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that the most popular browser, Chrome, is owned by Google, who also owns YouTube, you will find it hard to find an extension at the official Chrome Web Store, which will allow you to download YouTube videos for Chrome. There are Chrome browser extensions that will enable you to download videos from other websites, though. You can also download extensions for Chrome from other sources.
Here are some of the best browser extensions for downloading YouTube videos:
- Available for Chrome, Opera, Edge, Vivaldi, and UCBrowser
- Does not redirect you to other third-party websites
- Easy to use automatic YouTube video download function via the press of a button
- It can also be used to download and convert YouTube videos into MP3 audio files
- It saves the files in the desired format on your computer
- It supports downloading videos at resolutions from 144p up to 4K
- You can use it to download audio streams or dash videos
- You can use it to download videos from embedded YouTube videos on all sites
- You can also use the extension to capture screenshots of the video
- Available for Chrome or Firefox (only the Firefox extension works for YouTube videos)
- It works for hundreds of video sites, social media, and even for adults content
- It will highlight any embedded videos on any website which can be downloaded
- You can use the extension to convert video or audio formats
- You can also use to combine several media files in one
- There is a premium version which is paid and offers additional features which will make downloading YouTube files, converting them, and editing them even easier
- Even though this browser extension does not download YouTube files, it can easily help you bookmark any videos on YouTube
- Available for Chrome
- Uses AI and algorithms to analyze videos by key points and features of interest for personalizing your YouTube insights
- It is free, with added premium features for $33 to $133 per year
- Excellent for students, tutors, YouTube uploaders, gamers, broadcasters, and other YouTube users
Mobile apps for downloading YouTube videos
For those of you who prefer to use your mobile phones for viewing and possibly downloading videos and audio from YouTube, there is some bad news.
Since Google is the owner of the Android system, there are minimal options when it comes to Android apps for downloading and converting videos from YouTube at the Google Play Store.
You can download and view YouTube videos offline on your Android phone if you have subscribed to the YouTube Premium service.
There are also some apps that can be found at other websites, such as the InsTube YouTube Downloader, which will allow you to watch videos and listen to music from YouTube, even without an Internet connection. You will need to download the Android Application Package (APK), enable the “Unknown Sources” security settings, and install it on your Android phone or device in order to use this mobile app. It works for downloading videos from other websites and platforms, such as Vimeo, Vine, DailyMotion, Instagram, Twitter, and more.
Even with an Apple phone, finding a suitable and working app for downloading YouTube videos is not as easy. Most of the available iOS apps will not work with YouTube due to the prohibitions of YouTube’s Terms of Service.
Even if you find an app for iPhone which works, chances are that it will be quickly banned. So, the only way to install and use a YouTube video download app for iOS is to jailbreak your iPhone.
Another way to work around the bans is to use a file manager for iOS like the Documents by Readdle file manager and media player. You can access a YouTube video via your iPhone’s Safari browser and copy the link. Then open the app and paste the URL into its built-in browser. You will then be given download links for the video and can click on them to save it to your device in the Photos folder on your iPhone.
Another way to download videos from YouTube to your iPhone is via the AnyTrans app. Use the app to download the videos you want on your computer, and then you can easily transfer them to your iPhone via a cable connection.
FAQs about downloading YouTube videos
Can YouTube videos be downloaded?
Yes, all videos available on YouTube can be downloaded by using one of the abovementioned methods for downloading videos. You can download a video directly by using a downloading tool, a browser extension, a Virtual Desktop, your VLC Player, and an Android app.
Is it free to download videos from YouTube?
Yes, but if you want to have a fast, safe, and easy-to-use tool for downloading as many videos as you want, then you may want to consider paying for the excellent 4K Video Downloader.
What is the best method for downloading videos from YouTube?
Our recommendation is that you use 4K Download if you are using a computer, a browser extension, or InsTube if you are using an Android phone or device.
Is there an easy way to download videos from YouTube directly to my Android phone?
Yes, there are free and easy-to-use apps available for Android, like InsTube, which you can download and install on your phone.
As you can see, there are various methods and options for downloading YouTube videos so that you can watch them again without signing in to YouTube and even without an Internet connection.
Our personal favorite method to download YouTube videos is by installing and using 4K Download.
Whichever method you have picked, we hope that you enjoy the convenience of being able to download and enjoy watching or listening to your favorite YouTube videos and audio files on any device and whenever you feel like it.