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You can find a video for just about anything on YouTube. It’s great if you want to learn a skill or watch cat videos all day long. The only problem is that you need a reliable internet connection to do so. That’s not always possible, especially if you’re on a camping trip, so here’s how to download YouTube videos so you can watch them offline.
We’ll take you through the official way — YouTube Premium — as well as a few other third-party methods. Just remember that downloading videos illegally can open you up to copyright issues, and Google is none too keen on pirates.
The best ways to download YouTube videos:
Price: $11.99 per month
The easiest way to download YouTube videos is with a YouTube Premium subscription, no doubt about it. Once you sign up, all you have to do is choose your video in the app and press the download button. YouTube will ask you what quality you want to download in, and you’re off to the races.
However, YouTube Premium is also the most expensive way to get your hands on videos for offline playback. You can get a free trial that usually lasts a few months, but then you’ll have to be ready to shell out the monthly $11.99 fee. On the bright side, YouTube Premium is also ad-free, and your videos don’t stop if you switch apps halfway through. The service also includes YouTube Music Premium.
4K Video Downloader
Price: Free or $15 to $45 for a premium license
Another great way to download YouTube videos for your own personal use is with 4K Video Downloader. It’s free to get started, but then you’ll have to choose between a $15 Personal license or a $45 Pro license. Either way, 4K Video Downloader covers three computers on Windows, macOS, or Linux for life, and there are plenty of reasons to go Pro.
For starters, you can download seven videos at a time as opposed to three. You can import and export URLs to your heart’s content, and you can save videos with high-quality audio for the best offline experience. Both subscriptions are ad-free and offer unlimited single video downloads, including content from private YouTube channels.
WinX or MacX YouTube Downloader
WinX and MacX YouTube Downloader are practically the same programs — it just depends on your operating system. The best part is that both are completely free and easy to download. WinX does push its premium service during the install process, but it’s not an absolute requirement. The platform claims that you can download content from more than 300 sites, but you’ll have to verify that one for yourself.
All you have to do to download your YouTube video of choice is copy your URL and open WinX or MacX YouTube Downloader. From there, you can choose your preferred resolution and file type. Unfortunately, there’s no option to save closed captions with a video, but 300 sources more than make up for it.
YouTube Video Downloader
While we’ve been sticking to desktop software so far, now it’s time to kick your browser up a notch. YouTube Video Downloader is a free extension that you can snag for Chrome, Opera, Edge, Vivaldi, and more. Of course, you won’t find it on Google’s official extension marketplace, as they don’t want you grabbing videos for yourself.
Once you download the extension from Addoncorp, you’ll have full control over downloading videos and converting them to MP3s if you so desire. The extension itself pops up as a handy button at the bottom of your YouTube video, and you can click on it at any time to set your quality preferences and start your download. You’ll need to install YouTube Video downloader via Crosspilot, but it shouldn’t involve too many extra steps.
If Google’s not big on free extensions, it’s really not big on YouTube downloader apps, so get ready to sideload these last two options. InsTube is one of the most flexible content downloaders around, with 4K download options, multiple media file formats, and MP3 download options to boot. It also claims to work with more than 100 sites, including Facebook, TED, and more.
InsTube only works for Android devices, but you can download it on Xiaomi’s Mi GetApps platform or Oppo’s AppStore for a slightly easier approach. There’s not much more you can ask for in a free YouTube video downloader.
One final way to download YouTube videos and watch them offline is with TubeMate. It may not be quite as polished as InsTube, but the app is free and easy to get your hands on. You’ll find it on sites like APK Mirror and UpToDown, and all you have to do is sideload it. Like most of the other apps, all you have to do is find the URL you want to download and let TubeMate do the rest.
You can select your download quality and file type, but remember that TubeMate works best in your Android browser. TubeMate also works with platforms like Dailymotion and Vimeo, though you won’t find 100-plus sites like you would on other platforms.
That just about does it for the best ways to download YouTube videos. One of these is bound to work for you, or you can always play it safe and sign up for YouTube Premium. You can also try another streaming service if you want to download premium series.