Most of us enjoy watching YouTube videos—but no one enjoys the buffering icon, or low-quality, choppy playback they get when their internet connection is spotty. If you’re wondering how you can download YouTube videos to avoid annoying slowdowns, there are plenty of reliable ways to do so and watch on the go.
What to know before you download YouTube videos
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To download YouTube videos by the book, you’ll have to sign up for YouTube Premium. Once you do that, you’ll be able to download almost any YouTube video easily.
If you’re using unofficial methods to download YouTube videos, be aware they can stop working at any time, and may even pose a security risk if the site or app gets taken over by a malicious company. However, if you do a quick check before using one of these services to download, you should be safe.
Just don’t re-upload any of the videos you download from YouTube: The company won’t do anything if you download their videos, but if you upload copyrighted materials, it’s a different story.
How to download videos with YouTube Premium
The best and most reliable way to download YouTube videos for offline viewing is the official one. YouTube Premium is a subscription service that also removes ads from YouTube and gives you the ability to download videos. If these features are valuable to you, you can subscribe for $13.99 per month.
If you live outside of the U.S., you may be able to download YouTube videos without paying for premium. Check this list to find out where downloading videos works without paying for YouTube Premium. Even if you’re in these regions, it’s worth noting that you may still need YouTube Premium to download some videos that restrict downloads.
To download videos using the official YouTube app, open any video first and tap the Download button below the title of the video. YouTube will ask you about the download quality, so just select the quality you want and tap Download again to save it for offline viewing.
You can check all downloaded videos quickly by going to the Library tab in the YouTube app and tapping Downloads.
How to download videos with YouTube Go
In some regions, YouTube has released an app called YouTube Go, which also allows you to download videos. This app has been purpose built for affordable Android phones being used in countries with poor connectivity or expensive cellular data plans.
YouTube Go lets you download videos directly to your Android phone’s microSD card too. You can check out the app’s features on Google Play (the link may not work on your device or in your region). Before you download, remember that this is a stripped down version of YouTube. You may not be able to watch live videos and high-resolution clips on this app.
How to download YouTube videos with Apple Shortcuts (iPhone only)
If you have an iPhone, Apple’s Shortcuts app is the Swiss Army knife you should download. The community of iPhone automation enthusiasts has made many great shortcuts; one of them is called JAYD, short for Just Another YouTube Downloader. Here’s how to download videos using this shortcut.
- Download Shortcuts on your iPhone. To be able to run third-party (community-made) shortcuts, you need to run any shortcut once.
- If you’re not sure how to do that, open the app and go to the Gallery tab.
- Scroll down till you see different shortcuts categories such as Essentials.
- Tap any shortcut here and select Add Shortcut.
- Now go to the My Shortcuts tab in the app and tap the shortcut you just downloaded to run it.
- With this done, go to Settings > Shortcuts on your iPhone and enable Allow Untrusted Shortcuts.
- You can now download JAYD from RoutineHub (a third-party gallery for shortcuts). Be sure to open the website on your iPhone and tap Get Shortcut once on RoutineHub and again on the iCloud.com download page.
- This will open the Shortcuts app, where you can scroll to the bottom and select Add Untrusted Shortcut. If you have the know-how, remember to check the steps in the shortcut to verify that it’s safe.
- With the setup complete, open the YouTube app on your iPhone and go to any video. Now hit the Share button below the video’s title to open a list of apps to share to. Scroll to the right and select More.
- This will open the share sheet on your iPhone. Scroll down and select JAYD from the list. It’ll ask if you want to download video or just the audio. You can select Download Video.
- You can choose to save the video in your camera roll or in the Files app. Select one, and once the shortcut has run, it’ll open the video for you to view offline.
JAYD will periodically ask for permission to access certain websites (to access the video), Scriptable (to finish the download process), and your photo gallery (to save the video). Just allow it permission to access these things as and when it asks.
How to download YouTube videos on Android
To download YouTube videos without paying for YouTube Premium on Android, try NewPipe. You’ll need to enable sideloading on your Android phone to start, but once you do that, you’ll be able to easily download any YouTube video that you like. NewPipe displays a download button next to each video, which makes it easy to save videos for offline viewing.
How to download YouTube videos on a PC or Mac
The most reliable methods to download videos involve using desktop apps such as the excellent 4K Video Downloader+. Once the app is installed, just copy the YouTube video link, open 4K Video Downloader+, and click Paste Link. The app will handle the rest and quickly download the video for you.