If you’ve always wished you could download YouTube videos for free, we have great news – you can! And it’s actually pretty easy.
Downloading YouTube videos is useful for two reasons:
- Watching offline when travelling or visiting the land of no-WiFi
- Editing content to use in your own compilation or response videos
Is it okay to download from YouTube?
There are some potential legal and ethical issues with downloading YouTube videos.
Downloading YouTube videos is against the site’s terms of service. However, YouTube has never sued anyone for breaking these terms.
Then there’s copyright. Downloading TV shows or movies from YouTube is just as illegal as torrenting, and traditional media companies are quite litigious.
You could also be on shaky ground with content from YouTube creators, especially if you repurpose their content for a reaction, response, or compilation video.
Always get permission before downloading a creator’s clip and keep ‘fair use’ in mind whenever you create content that incorporates someone else’s work.
Once you feel confident you’re downloading ethically, here’s how to do it:
1. Download YouTube videos on your phone or tablet
More than three-quarters of online videos are viewed on mobile devices, mostly phones. So, you’re probably dying to know how to download straight to your iPhone or Android device.
Downloading with YouTube Premium
If you’re happy to pay for YouTube Premium ($14.99 per month) then you can download YouTube videos to watch on your mobile device perfectly legally.
Step one: Simply sign in to YouTube, then click your profile pic in the top right corner:
Step two: Then select ‘Get YouTube Premium, and you’re on your way:
Once you have Premium, you’ll be able to download videos to watch offline on any phone or tablet.
Download YouTube for free with your Android
There’s a simple app called TubeMate that will download YouTube videos right on to your device. However, if you look it up in the Google Play store, you’ll get a rude surprise:
This is no surprise, considering Google owns YouTube. You can still get the app, but you’ll need to update your phone’s security settings and download TubeMate directly from the app’s website. Here’s how:
Step one: Update your security settings
Go to your phone’s setting and follow these instructions to allow the installation of apps from any source.
If the instructions don’t work for your device, try simply downloading the app and opening it – your phone should then prompt you to give permission.
Step two: Give TubeMate permissions
To run on your phone, TubeMate will need to access files, write data onto your phone, and a few other things. The app will prompt you to give the necessary permissions, then you’re ready to go.
Step three: Choose a YouTube video to download
The app will look a lot like YouTube, and it works much the same. Simply search your video, as usual:
Once you click on a video, it will start playing as normal – but the big difference is the red download button in the bottom right of the screen:
Click that button, choose a video resolution, and then click the little red circle with the arrow to download:
You can also add videos to a queue to download later, which is useful if you’re away from WiFi while browsing.
Step four: Finding your downloaded file
To find your downloaded video, go to your phone’s file manager and click on the video folder:
From there you can move the video to other locations on your phone, or share it easily.
How to download YouTube for free with your iPhone
Sadly, there’s no version of TubeMate for iPhone, but there is a simple little life hack that will let you save YouTube videos to your gallery.
Step one: Download the Documents app
Go to the app store, find ‘Documents by Readdle’, and get the free download. This is a file management app that will let you download YouTube video for free.
Step two: Open the Documents browser
You’ll see a browser icon either on the left of the screen or down the bottom. Click that to open the Documents web browser:
Once the browser is open, got to https://en.savefrom.net/.
Step three: Choose a YouTube video to download
Leave Documents open and go to your YouTube app. Find the video you want to download and tap the ‘share icon’:
Choose the ‘copy link’ option, and go past that into savefrom.net, like so:
Step four: Download the video
Savefrom.net will automatically generate a green download button with a tab to select your preferred resolution:
Once the video is downloaded, go to the downloads folder in your Documents app to find your video.
You can watch the video here or click the three dots underneath to save it to your camera roll or share it:
2. Download YouTube videos to your computer
If you want to edit a video for your own digital marketing materials, it’s going to be most useful to download straight to your PC or Mac.
Even with YouTube Premium, you won’t be able to download on a laptop or desktop computer. So, you’ll need another way, and this is it:
How to download YouTube videos to your PC
Step one: Get 4K video downloader
Head over to the 4K video downloader site and download the free app using this button:
Install and launch the app – it’s not from the Microsoft app store, so you’ll need to give permission to install it – then it’s time for the next step.
Step two: Find the YouTube video you want
Go to YouTube and find the video you want to download. Click the share button and then copy the link:
Go back to 4K Video Downloader and paste the link:
The app will think for a little while, then give you a range of options for video quality and format. Choose what’s best for you and start the download!
How to download YouTube videos to your Mac
Downloading videos from YouTube on your Mac is a little trickier. There’s no (free) app to do it directly, but there are online sites that can help out.
The most reliable is OnlineVideoConverter. Follow the steps below to use this site:
Step one: Copy the URL of the video into the converter
You can choose from a wide range of formats before processing:
Step two: Click start
Once you press start, the site will process for a while then your download will be ready to go – so click download!
Step three: Avoid the spam!
Be warned, OnlineVideoConverter will often throw a bunch of pop-up ads at you once you press download.
Just close all those windows and enjoy your video! And remember, you can always use Clipchamp’s video compressor if you need to decrease the video file size.