Watching YouTube videos on your phone is convenient when you’re on the go. But what if you want to save a video to watch later when you don’t have an internet connection? Downloading YouTube videos to your iPhone or Android device is easy with the right app.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about downloading YouTube videos on mobile, including:
Table of Contents
- Benefits of Downloading YouTube Videos
- YouTube’s Video Download Restrictions
- Methods to Download YouTube Videos on Mobile
- The Best Apps for Downloading YouTube Videos on iPhone
- 4K Video Downloader
- Documents by Readdle
- The Best Apps for Downloading YouTube Videos on Android
- YouTube Premium
- aTube Catcher
- How to Download YouTube Videos in a Web Browser
- 5 FAQs About Downloading YouTube Videos on Mobile
- The Bottom Line
Benefits of Downloading YouTube Videos
Here are some of the main reasons you may want to download YouTube videos to your iPhone or Android device:
- Watch offline: Download videos to watch later when you won’t have an internet connection, like on a plane or subway. This saves mobile data too.
- Save favorite videos: Download a copy of videos you want to watch again and again so they are always accessible.
- Avoid ads: View downloaded videos ad-free. Useful for longer videos where ads are disruptive.
- Listen to audio: Turn videos into MP3 files to listen to the audio offline. Great for listening to music, lectures, audiobooks etc.
- Share videos: Send downloaded videos to friends via messaging apps and social media.
- Save storage space: Downloaded video files are smaller in size than streaming them in real time.
- Improve reliability: Avoid buffering issues or video unavailable errors by downloading a local copy.
Downloading YouTube videos can make viewing them on your mobile device a smoother, more reliable experience.
YouTube’s Video Download Restrictions
YouTube has certain restrictions around downloading videos from their platform:
- Downloading videos is against YouTube’s Terms of Service except where they explicitly authorize it, such as with YouTube Premium downloads.
- Video downloads are blocked in YouTube’s mobile app and website to prevent piracy. You’ll get an error message if you try.
- Direct video downloads require circumventing YouTube’s blocks, such as by using third party apps.
- YouTube may block an app from its platform if it allows easy downloading of videos.
YouTube wants viewers to stream videos on their platform with ads. But there are still legal ways to download videos for personal offline use, which we’ll cover next.
Methods to Download YouTube Videos on Mobile
There are 3 main methods to download YouTube videos to your iPhone or Android device:
1. Use a Third Party App
The easiest way is to use a third party app that can bypass YouTube’s download blocks. We’ll recommend top apps for both iPhone and Android.
2. Use a Web Browser Extension
Browser extensions like VideoDownloadHelper allow downloading videos right from a YouTube page. Works on mobile browsers too.
3. Use a Web-Based YouTube Downloader
You can paste YouTube video links into web-based tools to download them. Limited functionality on mobile though.
Third party apps provide the best experience for downloading YouTube videos directly on your iPhone or Android. Let’s look at the top options.
The Best Apps for Downloading YouTube Videos on iPhone
Here are the best apps for downloading YouTube videos on iPhone:
Y2Mate is a popular free web-based tool for downloading YouTube videos. Here’s how to use the Y2Mate iPhone app:
- Install the Y2Mate app from the App Store. App size is only 3MB.
- Copy the YouTube video link from the share button.
- Paste the link in the Y2Mate app. Choose video or audio format.
- Tap download. The video will download directly to your Photos app.
Y2Mate downloads videos in all resolutions up to 4K. It can also extract audio into M4A format. Easy to use with fast downloads.
Downsides: Contains ads, maximum 30 minute videos without premium upgrade.
2. 4K Video Downloader
4K Video Downloader is a well known YouTube downloading tool for desktop. The iOS version works great:
- Get the 4K Video Downloader app from the App Store.
- Share YouTube links to the app or paste them in.
- Select video quality and settings.
- Download to your device storage.
Supports all YouTube resolutions. Also lets you extract audio in M4A or MP3 format. Clean interface without disruptive ads.
Downsides: Has subscription for some features after free trial expires.
VideoProc is a versatile video processing app with full YouTube downloading capabilities:
- Install VideoProc from the App Store. The app is 69MB.
- Copy a YouTube or other video link.
- Paste the link in VideoProc. Choose quality and format.
- Download the video to your device or cloud storage.
VideoProc downloads at fast speeds. It can also trim, compress, convert, resize and edit videos after downloading.
Downsides: The free version has a 3 minute time limit per download.
YTBuddy provides a quick way to download YouTube videos on iPhone:
- Get the YTBuddy app from the App Store.
- Share YouTube links to the app.
- Tap to download in either MP4 video or M4A audio formats.
Simple minimalist app to download YouTube videos up to 4K quality. No subscription needed.
Downsides: Contains ads, no advanced options to select quality.
5. Documents by Readdle
Documents by Readdle is a capable file manager for iPhone and iPad. It can also download YouTube videos:
- Open Documents and go to the built-in browser.
- Visit YouTube.com and open a video.
- Tap download icon to save the video to Documents.
- Export downloaded videos to the Photos app or cloud storage.
Provides an integrated way to browse and download YouTube videos up to 1080p resolution.
Downsides: Can’t select video quality, browser interface is desktop-like.
The Best Apps for Downloading YouTube Videos on Android
Android has some excellent options for downloading YouTube videos too:
1. YouTube Premium
YouTube Premium is the official way to download YouTube videos on Android:
- Get a YouTube Premium subscription.
- Use the YouTube app to download videos for offline viewing.
- Access downloads through the Library tab in the app.
Downloads any video quality up to 4K. Syncs across devices. Offline playlists. Ad-free viewing.
Downsides: Expensive subscription fee of $11.99 per month.
NewPipe is a popular free open source app for Android:
- Install NewPipe from F-Droid or as APK file. No Google Play listing.
- Import YouTube subscriptions and playlists.
- Tap download button on videos. Save to device storage.
- Supports audio extraction, pop-up mode, no ads.
NewPipe provides a full YouTube experience focused on privacy. No account required.
Downsides: App not available on Google Play Store. Needs F-Droid or APK download.
Snaptube makes downloading YouTube videos easy:
- Get the Snaptube app from the Google Play Store.
- Share YouTube links to the Snaptube app.
- Choose video quality and download location.
- Tap download icon to save videos up to 4K resolution.
Fast downloader optimized for Android. Extracts audio tracks from videos too.
Downsides: Contains video ads and offers promoted apps during install.
Videoder integrates downloading into YouTube browsing:
- Install Videoder from the Google Play Store.
- Use the built-in Videoder browser to visit YouTube.
- Tap the download icon next to any video to save it.
- Access downloads through the app’s library tab.
Downloads YouTube videos in a wide range of formats and quality levels.
Downsides: Built-in browser feels clunky on mobile. Contains ads.
5. aTube Catcher
aTube Catcher is a long running YouTube downloader for Android:
- Get the app from the Google Play Store. Old design but works well.
- Copy any YouTube video URL to the clipboard.
- Paste URL in the app and tap the download icon.
- Choose MP4 or MP3 format and quality.
- Save videos to device storage or cloud drive.
Reliable downloading of YouTube videos up to 4K since 2010.
Downsides: Dated interface with banner ads. Lacks some newer features.
Subscribe to our list
Don't worry, we don't spam
How to Download YouTube Videos in a Web Browser
Modern mobile web browsers like Chrome and Safari support extensions that allow downloading YouTube videos directly from the YouTube site:
- Install a browser extension like VideoDownloadHelper on Chrome or Safari.
- Visit YouTube.com in the browser and find a video.
- Click the extension’s icon on the toolbar while playing the video.
- Select video quality and download. Video saves to your device.
The extension integration makes downloading seamless. But browser extensions are more limited than dedicated apps.
5 FAQs About Downloading YouTube Videos on Mobile
Here are answers to the top frequently asked questions about downloading YouTube videos on iPhone and Android:
Is it illegal to download YouTube videos?
In most cases, no. Downloading videos just for your own personal offline use is generally legal and allowed by YouTube. What is illegal is re-uploading or distributing downloaded YouTube videos without permission.
Does downloading YouTube videos use my mobile data?
Yes, downloading videos will use some of your mobile data allowance. Streaming videos online uses more data than downloading to watch offline. For large or long videos, it’s more data efficient to download them over Wi-Fi instead of mobile data.
Can I get malware or viruses from downloading YouTube videos?
On iPhone it’s extremely unlikely. Apple thoroughly vets all apps. On Android be cautious with apps from third party stores. Stick to well known apps from the Google Play store and you’ll be safe.
How do I find the YouTube videos I’ve downloaded on my phone?
The download location varies by app:
- iPhone: Saved videos go to your Photos app or Files app. Some apps have their own library.
- Android: Videos are saved your device storage or SD card. Look in the app’s library section.
- YouTube Premium: Downloads can be found in the Library tab of the YouTube app.
Is it better to download the video or audio only?
Downloading the video gives you the flexibility to watch offline or listen to just the audio. Audio-only files save storage space but you lose the video component. Download the video unless you strictly only want the audio track.
The Bottom Line
Downloading YouTube videos to your iPhone or Android device is easy with the right app. Look for apps that offer fast download speeds, high quality formats up to 4K, ability to extract just audio, no restrictive subscription fees, and a clean ad-free interface.
Our top picks are Y2Mate and 4K Video Downloader for iPhone, and NewPipe and Snaptube for Android. But you have several solid options to choose from for getting YouTube videos offline on your mobile device.
Just remember that downloading is only for your personal use. Be sure to comply with YouTube’s Terms of Service. And enjoy watching videos anytime, anywhere even without an internet connection.