Looking for a way to download YouTube videos for offline playback? Well you’re in luck as then there are a ton of options available to you.
There a range of solutions for downloading videos to watch offline, whether it’s on your mobile device for a long commute or just some videos handily tucked away on your desktop for a rainy day. As an added benefit downloading YouTube videos lets you watch without draining your data plan or relying on your potentially crowded home Wi-Fi networks.
On top of that many of the methods are pretty simple. The only downside is that the sheer volume of options makes knowing which is best fairly tricky. So we’ve put together this handy explainer to make it as easy as possible for you.
YouTube Premium is the easiest way to download from video-sharing site. However, it is also one of the most costly. If you are willing to fork out the £11.99/$11.99, then this is how you download videos via the YouTube app:
- Simply go to the video you would like to download and, as a YouTube Premium member, you will see the option to click “Download”.
- You will then be asked to select the video quality.
- An icon including a tick will appear below the video once it has successfully downloaded.
- You can view any downloaded videos in the “Library” section.
If that’s not convinced you there are a number of third party solutions to download YouTube videos. But before you go download crazy make sure to check the site’s terms and conditions as there are a few legal caveates. We’ve broken them down at the bottom of this article.
How to download YouTube videos on desktop
Out of all the different choices available to download videos, we’ve gone for the simplest option – downloading via your browser. Some solutions require you to install a “YouTube Downloader” program and they may provide more customisation options. However, using your browser is the quickest and easiest method.
The site we have chosen is TubeNinja. The video downloader has been around for a long while now and offers the more efficient option for getting a YouTube video offline and here’s how you do it:
- Navigate to the YouTube video you would like to download in any browser.
- In the address bar, add the letters “dl” in front of “youtube.com” e.g. “https://dlyoutube.com/…”
- Click “Enter” with this new address in the bar.
- This will take you to the TubeNinja website and your video will be processing.
- You will be given the option to download the “.mp4” of the video with a resolution of 720p, click the green box to the right of this option to proceed.
- The download will appear at the bottom of your browser.
- The video will now be available in your “Downloads”.
Related: Best Desktop
How to download YouTube videos on mobile
One of the most recognised benefits of downloading videos is being able to watch them offline and on the go. Therefore, knowing how to download a YouTube video onto a mobile device is essential if you are looking to keep yourself occupied when travelling.
Downloading on mobile is made slightly more complex by the need for different solutions for iOS and Android. We’ll start off with Android where TubeNinja works great once again:
- Go to the video you would like to download in the YouTube app.
- Click “Share” and then “Copy Link”.
- Go to your browser of choice and paste the link in the address bar
- Before clicking “Enter”, add “dl” in front of “youtube.com”. E.g. “https://dlyoutube.com/…”
- The video download will be processed and you will see the option “.mp4” along with a video resolution of 720p.
- Click the green download button to the right of this option.
- On Android, the video will begin playing. You need to then long press on the video to bring up the option “Save Video”.
- Click “Save Video”, the video will now be available in your Android phone’s files.
Related: Best mobile phones
For iOS, an app named Documents by Readdle is your best bet for offline YouTube playback:
- Download an app named “Documents by Readdle” to your iOS device (iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch).
- Go to the YouTube app and navigate to the video you would like to download.
- Click “Share” underneath the video and then “Copy Link”.
- Open the “Documents by Readdle” app.
- Click the web browser icon in the bottom right corner of the app.
- Enter “savefrom.net” in the address bar of the web browser.
- Paste the YouTube video URL into the box marked “Enter the URL”.
- A green box marked “Download” will appear. Click this.
- Click “Done” in the top right corner.
- Click the folder icon in the bottom left corner to return to “Documents”.
- Enter the “Downloads” folder to access your video.
For easier access to the video in future:
- From the “Downloads” folder, click the three dots just below the video.
- Click “Move”.
- Select “Photos”.
- Then “Move to ‘Photos’”.
- The video will now be available outside the “Documents by Readdle” app in your “Photos” app.
- You can now watch your downloaded YouTube video on iOS.
Is downloading against YouTube’s terms of service?
Considering YouTube has its own (paid) way of downloading videos, you may think downloading videos away from YouTube might be frowned upon by the company. YouTube’s terms of service go into the rules around downloads.
Section 5.1 L:
“you agree not to access Content for any reason other than your personal, non-commercial use solely as intended through and permitted by the normal functionality of the Service, and solely for Streaming. “Streaming” means a contemporaneous digital transmission of the material by YouTube via the Internet to a user operated Internet enabled device in such a manner that the data is intended for real-time viewing and not intended to be downloaded (either permanently or temporarily), copied, stored, or redistributed by the user.”
Section 5.1 M:
“You shall not copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, or otherwise exploit any Content for any other purposes without the prior written consent of YouTube or the respective licensors of the Content.”
In layman’s terms, YouTube requires you to get the permission of the YouTube creator or YouTube itself to be allowed to download any video. If you do not acquire permission then you are breaking the site’s “Terms of Service”.