YouTube is the largest on-demand video platform on earth.
In actuality, over 30 million visitors watch 5 billion videos every single day on YouTube.
If you would like to save videos to watch later, you need to understand how to download YouTube videos effectively. You can download YouTube videos to formats such as MP4, AVI, MPEG, and more. Or if you only need audio, you can convert YouTube videos to MP3 files.
With so many ways to download and access videos on demand, I created this resource with the most recent methods to download YouTube videos this year.
Disclaimer: Please note, I may get affiliate reimbursement for some of the links below at no charge to you. However, these are the best tools I’ve tested for downloading and converting YouTube videos into MP3 files.
Is Downloading YouTube Videos Legal?
YouTube has a pretty straightforward Terms of Service that delineates what a viewer can or can’t do on the platform.
Downloading videos without prior permission, selling them, and committing copyright infringement are violations of the terms of service.
While downloading YouTube videos is technically a criminal action, YouTube has made no desire to punish users for downloading videos. Certain royalty-free videos on YouTube with the right licenses are legal to download. Plus, if you are just using the video for private use, it can be considered legal.
YouTube states,”You will not copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, or otherwise exploit any Content for any other purposes without the prior written approval of YouTube or the various licensors of the Content.”
Quite simply, it is possible to watch Youtube videos, but just from Google applications.
However, third-party apps will continue to sprout up online and let people download YouTube Videos. It’s difficult to enforce or ban users for exploiting them — you can still watch YouTube videos when you are not signed in.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine if downloading videos from YouTube for private use is something you should be doing.
What Are the Steps to Download Youtube Videos?
Downloading videos from YouTube is a simple and straightforward process.
The first way to download YouTube videos is to use a video converter.
Download YouTube Videos With a Video Downloading Tool.
Using a YouTube downloader is the quickest way to download YouTube videos. Let us look at it step by step:
Pick a Downloading Tool/Converter.
First, pick the best possible YouTube downloading tool.
In my opinion, the best tool on the market is 4K Download.
4K Video Downloader
4K Download works with Windows, Mac, and Linux and provides great features like batch downloading, saving playlists, and downloads in 720p, 1080p, and 4k. You may even extract YouTube subtitles and save them in more than 50 languages.
Give 4K Download a try and find a 14-day money-back guarantee.
There are some other tools out there and even though there are some good free tools, the paid versions offer way higher quality.
Characteristics to Look for in A YouTube Downloading Tool.
Quality of The Video — The converted file should have standard video quality for excellent viewing. Ideally, you should be able to manipulate the quality of the video. It may range between low, medium, or high. It’s even better if you are able to choose specific video resolution like 360p, 720p, 1080p, and more.
Subtitles — We all like videos that are in various languages. In such cases, the use of subtitles is vital whilst playing it on YouTube or YouTube Premium. Logically, you will prefer to download those special videos along with the subtitles.
Batch Downloading — You can download the files individually or in bulk based on playlists from YouTube channels.
If you like a specific band, you may want to download their entire discography. And if you like a movie director, you might want to download their entire filmography.
Multiple File Format Compatibility — You may want to download and save videos in multiple formats within your file manager. Having various options to pick from, like MP3, MP4, FLAC, or AAC, allows you to be more elastic.
Built-In Video Editor — you might want to view a particular song in the middle of a video. Or you may choose to edit out a specific part of a film. Video editing needs can arise at any point in time, which makes it an essential feature in a YouTube video downloading tool. You may try any Video Converter (AVC) that comes with a built-in editor.
Speed — The tool should be able to convert and download videos fast. The download times ideally should not be highly affected by fluctuations in net and wi-fi connectivity.
Copy The Video Address Bar URL From YouTube.
Suppose you’re using an online video downloading tool. In this case, you will need to visit YouTube and start the movie that you want to download.
You can just copy and paste the link URL displayed in the box.
It is possible to open the application in a new tab on the same window. Once it opens, it will show a text box for you to input the URL.
Here is a screenshot from y2mate where you can download the video. You simply must paste the URL in the text box above and click the’Start’ option. Some websites may also have buttons saying’Go’ or’Download.’
Paste URL y2mate
In case you’re using a downloadable tool, you need to download and install it on your computer . Once you run it, it is going to supply you with the very same options to copy and paste the URL for conversion.
Be careful about unnecessary software that you might have to download also. Avoid those whenever possible. Some good alternatives are Keepvid, which can help you download video files with Apple MacOS, iPad, iPhone, and Android devices.
You may also need to check into alternative YouTube apps that work in the Google Play Store or with different smartphones. And if you are downloading from Vimeo to watch videos offline, there are a host of other choices to select from.
Choose the File Format & Video Quality.
As soon as you paste the YouTube video URL into the search box, you will find a host of choices. As an example, y2mate lets you choose the video format you wish to download, video quality, and the file size.
Some of these tools also allow you to download YouTube videos in formats such as WMV, MPG, AVI, ASF, M2TS, 3GP, 3G2, FLV, MKV, SWF, WEBM, HTML5 WEBM, HTML5 OGG, HTML5, and more.
If you’re looking for batch downloads, you can also specify a folder in your computer to store all the downloaded videos. You may face some confusion if you’re using a VPN because tools usually highlight in your IP address over the video URL you enter. So if you’re a VPN user, you may want to change the location for appropriate downloads.
Once the video gets downloaded, you can play it whenever and wherever you want.
How Do You Download YouTube Videos Directly?
You don’t always have to use a YouTube video downloading tool. It’s rather simple to download YouTube videos straight from YouTube.
Open YouTube in your browser and head into the movie you want to download.
Add’ss’ From The URL.
Simply, enter ‘ss’ after ‘www.’ but before ‘youtube.com.’
After you’ve entered it, simply press the’Enter’ button on your computer.
Next, you get redirected to a free download site.
Go to the Download Website
Once redirected, there are loads of free services to use that you don’t have to download or install. As soon as you press the’Enter’ button, you get redirected to its website.
You will see that the text editor currently has the video URL, so you don’t have to copy and paste any connection. Your video is also ready to get downloaded — all you will need to do is click on the’Download’ button.
You also get to choose the format and the quality of the video. Lastly, click on the”download” option, and you’ll have your video within a few seconds.
How Do You Download YouTube Videos with Browser Add-Ons?
You may not want to tinker around with the YouTube video URL. And some of you might not want to use any third-party tool to download the movies.
In this instance, using add-ons in your browser is simply the solution you need.
There is an add-on for practically everything you could need.
The fantastic thing is that there are a variety of options available to download YouTube videos.
Some of them are best suited for Firefox and Chrome, while some are standalone tools.
Here is an example of a similar add-on known as’YouTube Video and Audio Downloader’ for Opera.
Opera Add-Ons YouTube Downloader
Download The Add-on.
The approach is easy in Opera. And it is more or less the exact same for other browsers too.
In Opera, you can just go ahead and click on the’Add to Opera’ option displayed in green color. Moreover, make certain you download the correct add-on concerning the browser you are using. They won’t work otherwise.
Once the add-on gets downloaded, install it. If the add-in does not work after installation, then restart your PC.
Next, head to the YouTube video that you want to download. Once you’re there, you’ll notice an icon on the top right-hand side (for Opera users).
When you install this add-in, you get some options:
Next, click on the”fast download” option, and you will have the video installed in your system.
You won’t get the direct download option from YouTube regardless of what browser you use unless you use an add-on.
Choose Your File Format.
Most add-ons provide you with many different choices to save the movie. Choices range between multiple formats, in addition to various video qualities. Usually, a pop-up pops during the download choice, asking for your tastes.
How Can You Download YouTube Videos using a Virtual Desktop?
Working with a Virtual Desktop (VD) is another simple way to download YouTube videos.
Here’s how you can do it.
First, visit the YouTube platform and type the title of the video that you need to view and download. Once you do this and press the’Enter’ button, the movie begins playing.
Add”vd” To The URL.
Now the practice is similar to when you directly download movies by adding’ss’ to the URL. In this case, you want to edit the video address and insert the words’vd’ before’youtube’ and after’www.’ .
Check out this:
After the edit, press the ‘Enter’ button.
Next, you get redirected to the Django website for the video you wish to download.
Select the Video Format and Quality.
On the VDYouTube site, scroll down to choose the quality and the format of the YouTube video. Based on your requirements, you can proceed.
Download the YouTube Video.
Once you click on the”download” option, it is only a matter of seconds until it gets installed in your computer system.
How Can You Download YouTube Videos using a VLC Player? VLC Media player is protected and makes it easier for you to download YouTube videos.
Here is how:
Head to YouTube and start the video that you want to download. Next, copy the URL of the video.
Ideally, you shouldn’t wait for this measure to start the VLC media player. You should keep it open on the taskbar for your benefit.
When you open the VLC media player, head over to the’Media’ option, and click on it.
Needless to say, this is the case when you’re using a Windows OS.
When you’re using Mac, the stream is FILE > OPEN NETWORK.
In this phase, you’ll see a page with a text editor, no matter what OS you are using. Here, paste the copied URL of the YouTube video that you need to download.
Hit The ‘Play’ Option.
There, you will find an option called’codec info.’ You can also reach the’codec information’ option by using the’CTRL + J’ command.
You need to copy the information of the video from the location text box in the bottom of the page. This measure is pretty simple for Windows users.
But if you’re a Mac user, you need to right-click on the field and click on the’Open URL’ option.
Copy/Paste the URL.
If you’re on a Windows system, you already copied the URL. Paste it onto your web browser and click’Enter.’ The step is redundant for Mac users.
Save the Video.
At this stage, the movie should be playing your browser online. Right-click on the movie and choose the’Save video as’ option.
Download The Video.
The video will now start downloading. The default format is MP4, and the default title would be’videoplayback.’ When it gets downloaded, save it with your other movies.
Even though the process might seem lengthy right now, it’s pretty easy once you do it yourself.
There you have it — some of the best ways to download YouTube videos.
In my view, go with 4K Download — it is the best tool for video quality and MP3 conversions.
This tool lets you access your favorite YouTube videos anytime, even without an Internet connection. Downloading videos and saving them on your computer or phone helps you never miss out on the videos you prefer.
Do you download YouTube videos? Which tool do you use? Let me know in the comments below.