The first video on YouTube has uploaded over 15 years ago. Since then, the site has grown to the point where there are 300 hours of video uploaded every minute. That’s a lot of interesting content waiting to get discovered and it doesn’t matter what topic you’re interested in, you can find videos about it.
The problem is, sometimes those videos get removed from YouTube. Or you might want to watch them when you’re not connected to the internet. The best way around this is to use an app to download YouTube videos.
Let’s look at what apps are available and what other options you have to download videos.
How YouTube Works Behind the Scenes
When you watch a video on YouTube, it plays in the standard player on its website but what’s actually happening is a video file gets streamed to your computer. That video isn’t much different than one you record yourself, it’s just wrapped in the YouTube player and other components of the site.
If you want to save the video to your own PC to watch YouTube offline, it’s a matter of downloading that video file directly instead of having it play through the YouTube website.
There are several ways you can do this, depending on how “techie” you are and how easy you want the process to be. These methods include:
- Web-based services
- Command-line (terminal) commands
- YouTube Premium
- Dedicated apps for your PC or other devices
We’ll go more into detail on these below.
1. Web-Based Download Services
There are quite a few web-based services to download YouTube videos. These are websites where you copy and paste the URL for the video you want to download and the service copies the video from YouTube and gives you a link to download it.
Some of these services copy the full video file and others only copy the audio track.
The quality of these download services can vary. A lot of them collect data about you or force you to view and click on ads before you get access to the video file.
They don’t always download the video at the best resolution either. The video on YouTube could be HD or 4K video but you end up with standard definition video when you download it.
These services will work in a pinch but they’re not the best solution. They also come and go so if you’re looking for one, you should use Google to find the best website to download YouTube videos.
2. Command-Line Tools
If you use a Mac or Linux-based PC, there are some command-line tools that let you download videos from YouTube. An open-source tool called youtube-dl works on both of these operating systems.
Once you install the youtube-dl package, you can download videos from the terminal with a simple command: Simply replace the URL with the address for whatever video you want to save.
The YouTube video file gets saved in your home folder automatically. From there, you can save it somewhere else, copy it to your movie collection, send it to your mobile device, or anything else you want to use it for.
This is a more complicated process than the rest of the options we’re covering. If you’re comfortable working in the Terminal shell, it should be straightforward but if you haven’t used the Terminal before, you’re probably better to use one of the alternatives.
3. YouTube Premium
YouTube Premium is a paid service offered by Google, which owns YouTube. With a Premium account, you can download videos to watch when you’re offline.
This service works well but it doesn’t let you truly download and save the video. Videos are downloaded and stored on your mobile device but they can only be played in the app itself.
YouTube Premium also has a 30-day limit on playing the videos saved offline. You can’t save the video indefinitely and you can’t play it outside of the YouTube app on your smartphone or tablet. There’s no option to download the videos on a computer.
There are a couple of other benefits with YouTube Premium though. You won’t see ads on videos when you watch them on YouTube and you can play video and music in the background while you do other things with your device.
4. App to Download YouTube Videos
The best YouTube downloader option is an app that’s designed for that specific purpose. There are quite a few apps on all the major platforms, such as Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, that will download YouTube videos for you.
On Windows 10, myTube is one of the best apps. It gets updated regularly and stays up to date with changes in Windows as they happen. It lets you play videos in a less cluttered interface than YouTube itself as well as download videos to your PC.
For macOS, an app called Downie is one of the best options. When you find a video you want to download, you can drag and drop the link into Downie or use its browser extension to save the video on your Mac. It also works with videos from other sites like Facebook and Instagram.
If you use an iOS device, you can use the Shortcuts app as a YouTube video downloader on the iPhone or iPad. This shortcut lets you save videos to the Photos app on your device.
If you’re an Android user, the Videoder app has you covered. It lets you stream or download a video in any format that’s available on YouTube. It also works with videos on other sites like Instagram, Vimeo, and Facebook.
Save Videos and Play Them Anywhere
Whether you want to save a video permanently in case it gets removed from YouTube or you want an app to download YouTube videos for viewing when you’re not connected to the internet, one or more of these methods will solve your problem.
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