Published on: February 21, 2022
Google owns the video-sharing and social media site YouTube in the United States. Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim launched it on February 14, 2005. After Google, it is the second most popular site on the internet, behind only its own. One billion hours of video are watched on YouTube every day by more than one billion monthly users. In May of this year, more than 500 hours of video were being uploaded every minute.
YouTube boasts a library of video in the terabytes. There are several other extraordinary facts about YouTube, which has become the go-to destination for uploading and viewing video since 2005. To be honest, there are times when having a video like that at hand is a necessity rather than a luxury. There is, however, a side issue that must be addressed when discussing YouTube video downloads. Do you need an approval to do this?
Two options are available to YouTube users who want to save videos for offline viewing. There are some videos, however, where these are not available. With the free version, you can only access a small number of videos. To enjoy offline viewing on multiple devices, a YouTube Premium subscription is required.
You can only watch downloaded videos for up to 48 hours if you’re using the free version of YouTube. After that, you’ll have to rely on the mobile data or Wi-Fi network on your smartphone once more. Non-music content can be accessed offline for up to 29 days without the need for an internet connection if you download it.
As long as you’re downloading a video solely for your own personal offline use, you’re probably fine with copyright issues. The terms of service for Google’s YouTube read: “You are not allowed to use any part of the Service or any Content except: (a) as expressly authorised by the Service; (b) with prior written permission from YouTube and, if applicable, the respective rights holders.” It’s more black and white when you consider Google’s terms of service for YouTube.
Offline viewing of YouTube videos via unofficial channels robs Google and video creators of revenue. Many people rely on YouTube’s ad revenue to make a living.
Stealing videos from YouTube is obviously against the law. You can embed, email, or post a link to a video on social media with the click of a button on YouTube and most other video sites. Most of the time, downloading a video is unnecessary.
YouTube Premium Downloads
Video downloads are now available to YouTube Premium subscribers who pay a monthly fee to watch videos ad-free. A little bit. One caveat, however: the video you can download is limited to a maximum resolution of 1080p or lower. Neither 4K nor HDR are supported.
You can’t save a video to your computer permanently using this feature. Instead, it works more like the download feature found on Netflix and Hulu mobile apps, which saves a streaming video to your device’s local storage so you can watch it later with just the app’s interface. If you’re looking to watch a video on the VLC Media Player, you won’t be able to use this method instead.
In the YouTube hamburger menu, select Downloads to see a list of all the videos you’ve downloaded. As long as your device is connected to the Internet at least once every 30 days, you can continue to download files.
A download like this probably isn’t what you’re looking for. However, the resources listed below provide just that.
You’ll have the most control over downloading online videos if you use third-party software. It typically downloads the highest quality version of the YouTube video it can find if you paste in the URL. For 1080p High Definition (HD) videos, an MP4 file is typically used. MKV is typically the file format of choice for anything above 4K or 8K.
Because YouTube videos used to be Flash-based, you had to download a FLV file to watch them, but FLV files are more difficult to play. Everything can play MP4 (short for the MPEG-4 Part 14 multimedia format).
There are a number of different codecs that can be used in the MKV format, which is also known as a Matroska. In order to play them all, you can rely on the VLC Media Player for Windows. (You can find out more about it here.) Here are the best options for downloaders.
VLC Media Player
We talk about VLC Media Player. For Windows, Mac, and Linux users, VLC Media Player is a fantastic tool for playing back just about any media ever created. It also has the ability to download YouTube videos, but in a convoluted manner.. (If you encounter any issues, you can try reinstalling VLC from scratch and clearing your cache.)
Open VLC and paste the video URL you copied from YouTube. Open Network Stream (Ctrl+N) from the Media menu and paste in the URL. To begin, press the Play button. Go to Tools > Codec Information while the video is playing. You’ll find a “Source” box at the bottom of the page; copy the URL in that box.
Play the video by copying and pasting the URL into your browser address bar. You can save the video to your computer by clicking the 3-dot menu at the bottom right of the video when you’re viewing it in the browser.
Although the original YouTube stream was available in 1440p or 2160p, it appears that VLC will only save your file as a 1080p (aka 4K). The video can’t be converted either. Use the desktop software listed below to unlock these features.
4K Video Downloader
Windows, Mac OS X, Ubuntu Linux, and Android are all included in the free or $15 lifetime licences.
This is a multi-language 4K video downloader!
If you’re looking for an easy way to download high-definition videos, look no further than 4K Video Downloader (4KVD). A straightforward user interface accomplishes what it promises. If you’re looking for a high-quality 8K video downloader, this is the one for you. To get started, simply copy and paste a YouTube URL into the box provided. If you subscribe to a channel, 4KVD can even download subtitles, playlists, and all of the videos. YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and a few other big names are supported, but that’s all you really need. The free version does come with a large banner advertisement and a daily download limit of 30.
In order for my test video to download in 4K, I had to switch from the MKV format to the MP4 format. For the movie trailer, 4KVD got the 3-minute, 229.7MB file in about 1 minute and 20 seconds. When I downloaded an Ultra High Definition (8K) playlist, 4KVD defaulted back to 1080p HD, so I made the same switch.
4KVD can perform one-click downloads to your preferred format when the Smart Mode and its presets are enabled. In order to download more than 25 videos at a time or get the most recent ones from your favourite YouTube channels, you’ll need the paid version of YouTube. VLC Media Player was able to play the resulting MKV files perfectly.
So you don’t even have to use the companion 4K YouTube to MP3 software to get your audio out of YouTube and into MP3.
$69.90 annually, $78.90 permanently, $119.90 for a family of two to five computers running Windows or macOS
A video editor and this converter are both available for Digiarty’s powerful VideoProc video converter. An excellent version of the WinX YouTube Downloader can still be found on the market, though the company no longer actively promotes it. VideoProc Converter handles a lot of downloading, and claims to be able to download in 4K from more than 1,000 different websites. It promises some speed thanks to hardware acceleration. As a result, the company frequently provides price reductions.
To use it, you open the software and allow it to scan your hardware to see if there are any resources that can be used to speed up the process (if anything). To download multiple videos in a single go, use the Downloader’s Add Video button, then click Download Now to begin the process. Alternatively, you can access a YouTube playlist or a live streaming video feed. It took about 2 minutes and 15 seconds to convert our 697MB test 4K video to WEBM format. Even though VideoProc Converter’s free trial version has a 5-minute time limit, it doesn’t appear to restrict downloads.
The license is valid for one year. FreeYouTubeDownload; Windows; $44.99 plus tax
Many of the features of FlixGrab’s programmes overlap with those of other similar services. FlixGrabMS (which you can download from the Microsoft Store to run on Windows 10/11) has this feature, but it won’t let me download YouTube videos. To test this, I used the flixgrabapp.com site’s direct download link, which worked with YouTube and a few other sites. On top of all that, it provides a Free YouTube Download with a customised interface for YouTube. Unfortunately, as with other similar services, you must pay a high subscription fee to access high-quality downloads. However, the YouTube-only subscription costs just $9.99 per year. Both do not have a free trial period.
Free; Windows and Mac OS X
Although the free 5KPlayer is much more than a downloader, its built-in downloader is quite impressive. A promise that there will be no viruses, adware, or plug-ins is a good first step. Unfortunately, it is one of the few tested that necessitates the input of your name and email address before you can access the full download functionality across more than 300 websites. You can still download 4K videos from YouTube even if you don’t have an account.
When downloading, the programme tries to hide some of its features. The analysis engine runs and only shows a few download options when you paste in the YouTube URL. A 4K 3,840-by-2160 WebM file can be viewed by clicking the gear icon, then the Show All button, and then scrolling down. It took an agonising 6.5 minutes to download the 227MB WebM sample. However, it was possible to download playlists, but only one video at a time. Going back to the other videos in the playlist is a pain because of the muddled user interface.
DLNA server playback and AirPlay support are also included in the 5K Player, allowing you to watch your videos on any DLNA-enabled device. Quickly convert a video from the library to MP4, MP3, or even ACC format (the audio format preferred by iOS). However, the player had buffering issues when playing back the large 4K file (VLC had no issues with the same file).
Aside from the fact that it doesn’t cost a lot and has a lot of useful features, 5K Player has a lot going for it overall. Slow download speeds and playback problems may deter you from using this service.
Websites to assist without downloading
Do you want to stay away from the software installation process? It’s the job of video download helper sites to take care of the actual downloading. A YouTube URL (or another video site, if supported) is passed to the service, which parses it, offers a selection of download sizes, and then provides a link to that particular download. They can be used on any device, including smartphones and tablets. Nothing needs to be installed on your PC. Depending on the size and quality of the video you want, it may take a long time, but the convenience is unbeatable!
However, you can’t always rely on their word. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of computer programming can set up a site like this. When a site becomes popular and the owner sells out to make money off of your visits, it can quickly go from being helpful to suspicious.
As of this writing, all the helper sites we had recommended have been taken down for reasons such as sexually explicit ads, no longer working, switching to pushing its download utility, and one for shutting down to avoid being sued..
Because of this, we’re not currently recommending any additional resources. It’s worth a shot, but if your browser, antivirus, or gut tells you to stay away, don’t bother.
An extension for your browser can save you time and effort. However, if you’re using Chrome as your primary browser, you may have trouble downloading videos from YouTube.
YouTube’s parent company, Alphabet/Google, owns the Chrome Web Store, where Chrome browser extensions are sold. Because of restrictions in the Chrome Store, even an extension ostensibly for this purpose will be unable to allow YouTube direct downloads. The download of any RTMP protocol video (protected videos) or streaming video is generally not possible with Chrome extensions. Of course, you can embed them on other websites that feature video. Just not on YouTube.
Is it something you’d like to avoid? Get an extension that isn’t from Google’s Web Store. For those who prefer to do things on their own, there are a number of programmes and helper sites that offer an extension component and explain how to install it. There are a few here..
YouTube Video Downloader
Free; Chrome, Opera, Edge, Vivaldi, UCBrowser
The Addoncrop Add-on can be used on multiple browser platforms and the side-loading capabilities are exceptional. You can easily grab it by clicking on the button that appears below the video you’re watching on YouTube, or even an embedded YouTube video. Video resolutions of up to 8K are supported. You can also download the video’s audio as an MP3. Take video screenshots with ease.
Using an Android app from the Google Play Store to download videos from YouTube is a challenge because Google owns the site and offers a paid service that allows for offline viewing.
It’s possible to install apps on Android without having to go through Google. To give an example, you can only get InsTube – a free video and music downloader for Android – directly from the developer’s website. Sideload the APK (Android package) file to an Android device. Install it by going to the downloads section of your device and clicking the install button. (You may have to enable “Unknown sources” in your security settings.)
Since Apple and Google aren’t exactly friends, you’d think there wouldn’t be such a restriction on iPhones and iPads (or maybe they are). I’ve tried several different iOS apps, and none of them will allow YouTube videos to download or keep them available for long after they’ve been downloaded. “Downloading from YouTube is prohibited due to its Terms of Service,” reads the description of one of these apps. Apple is enforcing compliance with all rules, including those set forth by Google.
A YouTube downloader for iOS is likely to be “fixed” or banned as soon as you discover it. It’s the only real option to use sideloaded apps that download what you want if you’re willing to jailbreak your iPhone.
Workarounds exist. There are a number of ways to watch YouTube videos on your iPhone or iPad, such as by subscribing to YouTube Premium, which allows you to download videos for offline viewing.
Documents by Readdle by Readdle is a free iOS file manager. Copy Link can be found in the Share menu of a YouTube video when using the Safari browser. As soon as you’re done, go back to the app’s built-in browser and search for a video downloader. Replacing a broken link (hold your finger down on it until you get the “Paste” menu to pop up). You can download the file from the site and save it to your Documents folder. Drag the file to the Photos folder by holding and dragging it up until you’re back on the main screen. The first time you access your photos, you’ll need to grant Documents access. As with any other video taken with your phone or tablet, you’ll be able to find it in the Photos app.
You can also try AnyTrans ($39.99 a year for a single computer, Windows or macOS), a desktop file manager for iOS devices that includes a built-in downloader for over 900 websites, including YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Using a USB cable, it will transfer the videos to your iPhone for you. You can still download AnyTrans even if you don’t pay for the service.