YouTube is home to millions of videos covering every topic imaginable. From music videos and movie trailers to educational content and viral clips, YouTube has it all. But what if you want to download a YouTube video to watch offline? With the right tools and techniques, downloading YouTube videos is easy.
In this comprehensive tutorial, we provide a step-by-step guide on how to download any YouTube video for free. We cover topics such as:
Table of Contents
- Benefits of Downloading YouTube Videos
- Is Downloading YouTube Videos Legal?
- Methods to Download YouTube Videos
- Using a Web Browser Extensions
- Using Online YouTube Downloaders
- Using Desktop Software
- Using YouTube Premium
- Using a YouTube to MP3 Converter
- Choosing the Best Video and Audio Formats
- How to Download Entire YouTube Playlists
- How to Download Region Locked YouTube Videos
- How to Download Age Restricted YouTube Videos
- How to Download 4K YouTube Videos
- How to Download YouTube Videos on Mobile Devices
- 7 Best Practices for Downloading YouTube Videos
- Troubleshooting YouTube Video Downloads
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Is it illegal to download YouTube videos?
- What is the best YouTube video downloader?
- How do I download a YouTube video on my iPhone?
So let’s get started exploring the various methods and best practices for downloading any YouTube video you want, step-by-step.
Benefits of Downloading YouTube Videos
Here are some of the top benefits of downloading YouTube videos:
- Watch offline: Download videos to watch later when you don’t have an internet connection. Ideal for planes, road trips, or subway commutes.
- Avoid buffering: Downloading eliminates video buffering and playback issues. Enjoy smooth, uninterrupted viewing.
- Save favorite videos: Download a copy of beloved videos you want to watch again and again. Protect against videos being removed.
- Learn new skills: Download educational videos on topics like cooking, coding, languages and more to practice offline.
- Listen to audio: Convert and download YouTube videos as MP3s to listen on the go.
- Share videos: Download videos to easily share via email, messaging apps, social media and more. No more linking to YouTube.
- Save data: View downloaded videos without using mobile data. Helpful for limited data plans.
- Enhanced privacy: Avoid streaming videos you want to watch privately. No watch history or cookies on your device.
- Improved speed: Downloaded videos load and start faster compared to streaming on YouTube.
So if you want to watch YouTube videos without needing an internet connection, download a permanent copy of a beloved video, convert videos into audio MP3s, or enjoy any other benefit listed above, downloading YouTube videos is the perfect solution.
Is Downloading YouTube Videos Legal?
This is a common question many people have. The short answer is generally yes, downloading YouTube videos for personal use is perfectly legal in most countries.
YouTube’s Terms of Service only prohibit downloading for commercial use or to download entire YouTube channels without permission. As long as you’re downloading a video for your own private viewing, it’s fine.
Some specific cases where downloading YouTube videos is illegal:
- Downloading copyrighted content you do not own without permission.
- Downloading videos you do not have the rights to distribute.
- Downloading videos to re-upload or redistribute them without consent.
- Downloading videos to use in a commercial setting like restaurants, bars, stores, etc.
As long as you strictly use the downloaded YouTube video for your own personal, non-commercial viewing offline, it falls under fair use copyright laws in most countries.
If you plan to screen a YouTube video publicly, re-distribute it, or use it commercially, you should request permission from the content owner first.
Methods to Download YouTube Videos
There are several ways to save YouTube videos for offline viewing and access. Here are the most popular methods:
Using a Web Browser Extension
This is the quickest and easiest way to download YouTube videos. Web browser extensions integrate right into Chrome or Firefox to provide a “Download” button on every YouTube video.
Here are the top 3 web browser extensions for downloading YouTube videos:
uGetTube is one of the most popular Chrome extensions used to download YouTube videos. Here are its key features:
- Download videos in HD 720p, Full HD 1080p, and 4K formats.
- Option to download audio only as MP3.
- Support for downloading entire playlists.
- Fast download speeds.
- Free unlimited downloads.
To use uGetTube to download any YouTube video:
- Install uGetTube from the Chrome Web Store.
- Go to YouTube and play the video you want to download.
- Click the uGetTube download button below the video.
- Select your preferred resolution (1080p HD recommended) and click Download.
The video will be saved on your computer in MP4 format ready for offline viewing.
2. aTube Catcher
aTube Catcher is another excellent Chrome extension for downloading YouTube videos. Key features include:
- Convert and download YouTube videos into MP3 audio files.
- Create playlists from downloaded videos.
- Supports downloading entire YouTube playlists.
- Schedule downloads and captures videos from live streams.
- Simple one-click downloading.
To use aTube Catcher:
- Add the aTube Catcher extension to Chrome.
- Go to any YouTube video page.
- Click the “Download” button next to the video title.
- Select MP4 video or MP3 audio download and quality.
- Click “Download” to save the file immediately.
aTube Catcher makes downloading YouTube videos a breeze.
3. Video DownloadHelper
Video DownloadHelper is a popular Firefox extension with over 60 million users. Key features include:
- Download videos from YouTube and 1000+ other sites.
- Choice of video and audio formats.
- Integrated video converter.
- Supports 4K and 8K downloads.
- Advanced options like proxies and filters.
To use Video DownloadHelper:
- Install the extension from Firefox Add-Ons.
- Restart Firefox and go to a YouTube video.
- Click the DownloadHelper icon next to the address bar.
- Select the video quality and format you want.
- Click “Download” and the video will save to your computer.
Video DownloadHelper provides an extensive range of customizable options for power YouTube downloading.
Using Online YouTube Downloaders
Another option is using a free online YouTube downloading site. These sites allow you to simply paste in a YouTube video URL and download the video. Here are the top 3 online YouTube downloaders:
ClipConverter.cc is one of the most popular and reliable online YouTube download sites. To use it:
- Go to ClipConverter.cc.
- Paste the URL of the YouTube video you want to download into the input box.
- Choose between downloading the video in MP4 format or just the audio as an MP3 file.
- Select your desired resolution (1080p recommended).
- Click “Start” to begin the video download.
ClipConverter.cc offers unlimited free downloads and supports downloading entire YouTube playlists.
aConverter is another excellent website for downloading YouTube videos. It offers the following features:
- Download videos in resolutions up to 8K.
- Additional video formats like AVI, MOV, WMV and more.
- Option to convert YouTube to MP3.
- Support for downloading playlists.
- No need to install additional software.
To use aConverter:
- Go to aconverter.com.
- Copy and paste the YouTube video URL into the top input box.
- Choose MP4 for video download or MP3 for audio only.
- Click “Convert file” to start the YouTube download.
aConverter also provides advanced options like cropping, rotating, and compressing videos.
SaveFrom.net is another solid online downloader that supports over 50 sites beyond just YouTube. To download a YouTube video:
- Go to SaveFrom.net.
- Paste the link to the YouTube video into the input box.
- Select the video quality (1080p recommended).
- Click the download icon.
- The video will download instantly with fast speeds.
SaveFrom.net offers a clean interface and very fast download speeds.
Using Desktop Software
Beyond extensions and online tools, you can also use free desktop software to download YouTube videos. Here are some of the top choices:
1. 4K Video Downloader
4K Video Downloader is a very popular desktop application for Windows, Mac and Linux. Key features include:
- Download videos in all resolutions and formats.
- Extract audio into MP3s.
- Support for playlists and channels.
- Browser integration and smart mode.
- Fast performance for quick downloads.
4K Video Downloader is easy to use. Simply copy a YouTube video URL, paste into the app, and download.
2. Freemake YouTube Downloader
Freemake YouTube Downloader provides a wide range of advanced options beyond just downloading videos. You can:
- Download videos in HD, Full HD, and MP3.
- Convert downloaded videos into over 500 formats.
- Extract audio and convert to different formats.
- Download captions, thumbnails, playlists and channels.
- Cut, join, rotate, flip and resize videos.
The conversion and editing capabilities make Freemake YouTube Downloader stand out.
3. WinX YouTube Downloader
WinX YouTube Downloader makes downloading YouTube videos easy with a clean and intuitive interface. Key features include:
- Download videos at original quality.
- Convert YouTube to MP3.
- Support for playlists up to 5000 videos.
- Multi-thread accelerated downloading.
- Auto-name downloaded video titles.
WinX YouTube Downloader is a reliable desktop software for quick and easy YouTube video downloads.
Using YouTube Premium
YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red) is a paid subscription service ($11.99/month) that offers ad-free access to YouTube plus the ability to download videos for offline viewing.
Downloaded YouTube Premium videos can be watched without an internet connection on mobile devices or tablets using the YouTube app. Videos remain available for up to 30 days offline.
YouTube Premium supports background play for music listening and provides access to YouTube Original programming.
Downloading videos for offline access is a major benefit of a YouTube Premium subscription.
Using a YouTube to MP3 Converter
To download just the audio from YouTube videos as MP3 files, you can use a dedicated YouTube to MP3 converter site or software.
Here are some top options:
- OnlineVideoConverter – Web app to extract YouTube audio as MP3.
- iTubeGo YouTube Downloader – Software to download YouTube playlists as MP3.
- YTMP3 – Web converter supporting YouTube to MP3 in 128kbps or 320kbps.
- ClipConverter.cc – Online site with the option to download as video or MP3 audio only.
- 4K Video Downloader – Desktop app with integrated audio conversion to MP3.
So in summary, the five main ways to download YouTube videos are:
- Browser extensions like uGetTube and aTube Catcher.
- Online downloader sites like ClipConverter.cc.
- Desktop software like 4K Video Downloader.
- A YouTube Premium subscription for mobile offline playback.
- YouTube to MP3 converters for audio-only downloads.
Now let’s look at how to choose the optimal formats when downloading YouTube videos.
Choosing the Best Video and Audio Formats
YouTube videos can be downloaded in a variety of video formats and audio quality. This table summarizes the key options:
| Format | Resolution | Description | Use Case |
| MP4 | 720p, 1080p, 4K | Standard high quality video format. | Overall best balance for video quality and file size. |
| WEBM | 720p, 1080p | Open source video format. Smaller files than MP4. | Good for sharing videos online. |
| AVI | 480p, 720p | Works on both PC and Mac. | Compatible with a wide range of devices. |
| MOV | 720p, 1080p | Apple QuickTime video format. | Best for Apple devices. Large file sizes. |
| MP3 | 128kbps, 256kbps, 320kbps | Audio only format. Small files. | Best for listening on the go like phones and mp3 players. |
| FLAC | Lossless quality | Uncompressed audio format. Huge files. | High quality audio archiving and playback. Retains all audio fidelity. |
For most users, downloading YouTube videos in MP4 format at either 720p or 1080p resolution provides the best combination of high video quality, efficient compression, and universal playback support across devices.
MP4 720p or 1080p balances great HD video quality in a file that won’t take up too much storage space. The MP4 file format enjoys nearly universal device compatibility.
For audio-only downloads like listening on your phone, grabbing the YouTube video as an MP3 file at 256kbps provides excellent audio quality in a compact file size. MP3s can play on any modern device.
Unless you need top quality for audio production purposes, FLAC is overkill for everyday music playback. MP3 works great.
Now let’s explore how to download entire YouTube playlists for batch downloading efficiency.
How to Download Entire YouTube Playlists
Downloading individual YouTube videos one at a time can become tedious. Luckily, many download methods support grabbing entire YouTube playlists with one click.
Here are steps to download full YouTube playlists using uGetTube, ClipConverter, 4K Video Downloader, and YouTube Premium:
uGetTube Playlist Downloads
- Install uGetTube Chrome extension.
- Go to the YouTube playlist URL.
- Click the uGetTube download icon.
- Choose download settings like MP4 1080p.
- Check the “playlist” box and click “Parse URL”.
- Click “Download All” to save the entire playlist.
Easy batch downloading!
ClipConverter Playlist Downloads
- Go to ClipConverter.cc
- Paste in the YouTube playlist URL.
- Choose MP4 or MP3 format.
- Click the Playlist icon.
- Click “Download All” and the full playlist will download sequentially.
4K Video Downloader Playlist Downloads
- Copy and paste the YouTube playlist URL into 4K Video Downloader.
- Select download settings like MP4 1080p.
- Check “Download Playlist” option.
- Click the download icon to save the full playlist.
YouTube Premium Playlist Downloads
- Open the YouTube app on your mobile device.
- Tap the playlist you want to download.
- Tap the download icon next to each video to save offline.
The full playlist will download for ad-free offline viewing without internet.
So grabbing entire YouTube playlists for offline access is quick and easy. Next let’s look at downloading region locked YouTube videos.
How to Download Region Locked YouTube Videos
Sometimes you may encounter a YouTube video that is blocked in your country or region. Luckily there are two easy methods to download region locked YouTube videos:
Use a VPN
A VPN (virtual private network) allows you to change your virtual location to access region locked videos:
- Sign up for a VPN service like NordVPN or ExpressVPN.
- Connect to a server in the approved region for the video.
- Refresh YouTube and you can now view and download the previously blocked video.
Use a YouTube Proxy Downloader
- Go to the YouTube proxy site.
- Paste the URL for the blocked YouTube video.
- Click “Download” to retrieve the blocked video without restrictions.
So using a VPN or proxy service easily circumvents regional blocks on YouTube downloading.
How to Download Age Restricted YouTube Videos
Trying to download an age restricted YouTube video marked 18+ or 21+ will show an error message. To download age restricted videos:
Log Into YouTube
Log into YouTube with your Google account and confirm your age is over 18 or 21 depending on the video restrictions. You can now download normally.
Use a Browser Extension
Use Online Proxy Downloaders
So logging in, browser extensions, and online proxy sites let you download age restricted YouTube content.
How to Download 4K YouTube Videos
Downloading 4K YouTube videos requires a few extra steps since 4K files are very large. Here are tips for downloading videos in Ultra HD 4K:
- Use the 4K Video Downloader app which specializes in downloading HD and 4K YouTube videos.
- Make sure you have sufficient storage space for enormous 4K files. A 10 minute 4K YouTube video can be over 200MB.
- Download 4K videos overnight or on a fast WiFi connection only. 4K files require significant bandwidth.
- Disable HDR if having playback issues. HDR creates bigger files that some devices struggle with.
- Choose the h.265 video codec for 4K downloads to save space. The h.265 codec compresses 4K files almost twice as much as h.264 with no quality loss.
So with the right downloader tool, sufficient storage, fast internet speeds, and h.265 encoding, you can successfully download massive 4K YouTube videos for crystal clear offline viewing.
How to Download YouTube Videos on Mobile Devices
There are several ways to download YouTube videos directly on your iPhone, iPad, Android phone, or other mobile devices. Here are the top methods:
Use a Browser Extension
- Install the Video Downloader professional Chrome extension on your mobile browser. It can download YouTube videos on any device.
Use the YouTube App
- Android devices can download videos for offline viewing directly within the YouTube app.
- For iPhone/iPad, you need a YouTube Premium subscription. Offline downloaded videos are then available in the YouTube app.
Use a Third-Party App
- On iPhone/iPad: Apps like Documents by Readdle let you paste in a YouTube link to download the video.
- On Android: Apps like KeepVid Video Downloader are easy YouTube video downloaders.
So mobile users can utilize browser extensions, official apps, or third-party apps to successfully download YouTube videos on phones and tablets.
7 Best Practices for Downloading YouTube Videos
Here are some top tips for effortlessly downloading any YouTube video in the highest quality:
- Copy the URL – Always copy and paste the full YouTube video URL into your downloader tool for best results.
- MP4 1080p – Download the video as an MP4 file in 1080p resolution whenever possible for ideal quality and compatibility.
- Avoid downloading 4K – Unless you have fast internet and plenty of storage, 4K downloads are overkill for small screens. 1080p provides great HD quality.
- Download audio only – If you just want to listen to the audio, download the video as an MP3 file. Much smaller size great for music.
- Download playlists – Use downloaders that support grabbing entire YouTube playlists to efficiently batch download multiple videos.
- Keep an eye on file sizes – Be aware of the megabytes or gigabytes each video download consumes so you don’t accidently fill up storage.
- Use reputable sites – Stick to well-known trustworthy sites like uGetTube instead of sketchy YouTube downloaders which may harm your device.
Following these best practices will enable you to become a YouTube downloading expert!
Troubleshooting YouTube Video Downloads
Here are fixes for the most common issues when downloading YouTube videos:
Problem: Download keeps failing halfway.
Solution: Check internet connectivity and restart download on a faster stable Wifi network. Avoid slow mobile data.
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Problem: “Quota Exceeded” error message.
Solution: Web converters impose daily limits. Wait 24 hours to reset or use desktop software with unlimited downloads.
Problem: YouTube downloader not working.
Solution: Make sure Flash is enabled in browser settings. Update your browser, extensions, and apps to latest versions.
Problem: Downloaded video won’t play.
Solution: Download the video again choosing the MP4 720p or 1080p format for maximum compatibility across devices.
Problem: Downloaded video has no audio.
Solution: Be sure to select the “Convert to MP3” or “Extract Audio” option if you only want the audio track.
So those are some handy troubleshooting tips for resolving the most common YouTube download issues. Now let’s address some frequently asked questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to top questions about downloading YouTube videos:
Is it illegal to download YouTube videos?
In most countries, it is legal to download YouTube videos for your own personal, non-commercial use. Just don’t redistribute or publicly screen them.
What is the best YouTube video downloader?
The best downloaders are web extensions like uGetTube, online sites like ClipConverter.cc, and desktop apps like 4K Video Downloader.
How do I download a YouTube video on my iPhone?
On iPhone, download a third-party app like Documents by Readdle, use a browser extension like Video Downloader professional, or get a YouTube Premium subscription.
Why does my YouTube download fail halfway?
Slow internet connections often interrupt downloads. Restart the download on a faster stable Wifi network.
How do I extract only the audio from a YouTube video?
To get just the audio MP3 track, choose the “Convert to MP3” option in your video downloader tool.
What resolution should I download YouTube videos in?
For best quality, download YouTube videos in MP4 format at 1080p resolution. Avoid ultra HD 4K downloads unless you have fast internet and plenty of disk space.
How do I download age restricted YouTube videos?
Log into YouTube, use a proxy site like SaveFrom.net, or install a browser extension like Ninja Web Proxy to bypass age restrictions when downloading.
What is the maximum resolution for YouTube videos?
Currently YouTube supports uploading and streaming video at up to 8K resolution. 4K and 1080p are the most popular HD resolutions.
How do I download entire YouTube playlists?
Browser extensions like uGetTube and online converters like ClipConverter.cc allow efficiently downloading full YouTube playlists with one click.
So in summary, downloading YouTube videos for offline enjoyment is easy and legal with the wealth of browser extensions, online converters, desktop software, mobile apps and other tools available. Find your favorite go-to YouTube downloader, choose MP4 1080p for ideal quality, grab playlists to save time, and store your favorite videos for permanent offline access.
We hope this comprehensive tutorial gave you all the tips and techniques you need to become a YouTube downloading master! Let us know if you have any other questions.