Updated: January 2022
Want to watch YouTube videos without an internet connection, or edit iconic clips into your own YouTube videos? No matter the purpose, this step-by-step tutorial shows you how to download YouTube videos for free.
Whether you’ve found a funny meme, GIF, want to watch videos while traveling, or view on other devices, read on to learn how to download YouTube videos on your computer, iPhone or Android.
Is it legal to download videos from YouTube?
There are some potential legal and ethical issues with downloading YouTube videos. If not downloaded correctly, the action may go against the site’s terms of service. But YouTube has never sued anyone for breaking these terms.
Always consider YouTube’s copyright policy before downloading YouTube videos. 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. But that doesn’t mean you’re not legally allowed to use their video content. Always get permission before downloading a creator’s clip, credit where credit is due, and keep ‘fair use’ in mind whenever you create content that incorporates someone else’s work.
If you're confident you’re downloading ethically, read on to learn how to download YouTube videos.
How to download YouTube videos for free
More than three-quarters of online videos are viewed on mobile devices. So how can you download straight to your iPhone or Android device? Let’s find out.
1. How to download YouTube videos with YouTube Premium
The most common way to download YouTube videos to your PC, smartphone, or tablet is to sign up to YouTube Premium. YouTube Premium is a service that allows subscribers to download limitless YouTube videos, and audio, without ads, play in the background, and on the go without an internet connection. Users receive a 1-month free trial then must pay $14.99 per month. This option avoids all action against unethical downloads.
To sign up for YouTube Premium, all you have to do is log in to your existing YouTube account, click on your profile picture, then click Purchases and memberships.
2. How to download YouTube videos on Android
For all legal YouTube downloads to your Android device, we recommend using the YouTube Premium app. Tap on the Download button, then choose the video quality. The higher the quality, the more space the video file will require on your device.
You can also use third-party apps like Savefrom to download for free, but you could risk breaching YouTube’s copyright policy.
3. How to download YouTube videos on iPhone
Just like Android devices, the YouTube Premium app lets you download YouTube videos directly to your iPhone.
If you don’t want to purchase a YouTube Premium subscription, download Documents by Readdle from the app store for free. This is a file management app that lets you download YouTube videos for free. Tap on Documents, Browser, then open SaveFrom. Insert the YouTube video link. Download the YouTube video to your iPhone or iPad.
4. How to download YouTube videos to a computer without YouTube Premium
Editing videos for your own digital marketing materials means downloading directly to your computer.
If you don’t want to use YouTube Premium to download YouTube videos to your PC or Mac, you may already have VLC Media Player downloaded on your computer instead. The VLC media player is a secure, free, and easy way to download YouTube videos.
All you have to do is head over to YouTube and copy the URL of the video you would like to download. Launch VLC media player. For Windows users, click on the Media option then Open Network Stream. For Mac users, click on File, then Open Network. Copy and paste the YouTube video URL. Once the video starts playing, select the ‘Save video as’ option. Your YouTube video will save as an MP4 file with the default title ‘videoplayback’.
If you’re unable to download your YouTube videos with VLC, SnapDownloader is a great alternative. Download the free trial for 24 hours to your Mac or Windows device, or purchase a lifetime license for $19.99.
How to edit your YouTube downloaded video with Clipchamp
Once you have downloaded your YouTube video, it’s now time to edit using Clipchamp’s free online video editor.
Step 1. Log in to Clipchamp or sign up for free
Log in to your Clipchamp account or sign up for free. Once you have logged in, click on the + Create a video button at the top right corner of the editor homepage. The video editor will automatically open.
Step 2. Add your YouTube video to My Media
Add your newly saved YouTube video to the editor. Click on the + symbol on the left sidebar. Drag and drop your YouTube video file into the box, select from computer files, or upload using one of Clipchamp’s many integrations like Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Zoom, or Box. You can also upload your YouTube video directly from your smartphone.
Your saved YouTube video clip will now appear under the My media tab.
Step 3. Drag and drop YouTube video onto the timeline
Simply drag and drop your video clips, and YouTube video onto your timeline. You can rearrange the video sequence as many times as you’d like.
Step 4. Add text to your new video
Adding text to your video is an optional step. If you would like to add a caption, click on the Text tab on the left sidebar. Select a suitable text style, then drag and drop it onto your timeline.
To add your text, click on the Text tab above your video preview. Add in your personalized text. Change the location of your text under the Transform tab, and alter the text color using the Color tab.
Step 5. Export your new video
Once you have finished editing your video, it’s time to export it. Click on the purple → Export button at the top right corner of the editor. A pull-out tab will appear with saving options. Select between 480p, 720p, and 1080p resolution. Then click Continue.
Your video will now begin its saving process. You can directly save or share your new video with friends, family, or colleagues via Clipchamp’s sharing integrations like Pinterest, LinkedIn, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, YouTube, and OneDrive. Alternatively, save directly to your computer.
Easily download YouTube videos today
Easily save videos for when you need them, (like when you’re commuting or on a plane) with our helpful tips.
If you’re feeling creative, edit your saved videos into funny memes or GIFs with Clipchamp’s online video editor.