Want to download a YouTube video? While basic YouTube only provides downloads for a few select videos on a few select sites, there are ways to download any YouTube video you want at any time.
This article will cover two methods: pay for YouTube Premium and use a free (arguably better) Mac, Windows or Linux app.
Your paid option: YouTube Premium
I’m a big fan of YouTube Premium Because it keeps me and my wife from incurring most of the ads, but it’s a luxury expense. You can sign up for YouTube Premium for $11.99 per month (or $17.99 per month for a family plan).
My favorite feature is the complete lack of ads provided by Google. There are no banners, no pre-roll ads, and no interstitial ads. However, if a YouTube channel wants to include an advertisement in a video, YouTube Premium will not filter those YouTube embedded ads.
YouTube Premium also offers background playback, picture-in-picture, YouTube Music, and access to YouTube Originals. I have never used these 3 features, but they are part of the Premium package.
YouTube Premium also includes the ability to download videos. If you have YouTube Premium, you will have a download button in your web browser or your phone app.
You can find your downloads in the YouTube Downloads area.
Note that YouTube says that downloads are kept as long as you have an internet connection at least once every thirty days. This way, YouTube can confirm that you are still a YouTube Premium user.
You haven’t been given an easy way to convert this download into a usable desktop video, so if you want to use this video for anything other than offline watching, you’re in a bit of luck. The same goes for iOS.
However, if you are an Android user and you have an SD card slot in your phone, you can set the YouTube app settings (click your profile picture, then Settings, then Downloads) to save videos to your SD card.
So here is how to download videos in a barely usable form at the low price of $11.99 per month. But what if you want a better solution and you want to do it for free? Yes, we’ve got you covered.
Your Free Choice (Best): ClipGrab
I should have given ZDNet manager editing tools to introduce me to this program a few years ago. I’ve been using it ever since.
ClipGrab is a free program available for Mac, Windows, and Linux users. The developer says it is open source, but the source code is only available for Linux. In any case, ClipGrab rocks.
Point your browser to ClipGrab.org And click the Show all download options link. You will see download links for Mac, Windows, and Linux there. I’ll show you the Mac version in this article, but the interface is almost identical in all three.
Using ClipGrab is easy
1. Copy the YouTube video link. You can do this in your browser’s URL bar or by clicking the Share button under the video itself.
2. Then launch ClipGrab. Make sure you are in the Downloads tab.
3. Paste the URL of the video you want to download.
4. Finally, click on Grab This Clip.
There are options that you can modify.
For example, you can choose what format you want the video to be in when it is stored on your computer. I generally use the original, but I’ll specify something else if that doesn’t work.
You can also choose the download resolution. Depending on the original resolution of the video, you can choose to download the video in full resolution or reduce the resolution to save space.
Finally, clicking on the Settings tab allows you to customize where ClipGrab deposits your newly downloaded videos.
Ethical, legal, and calorie considerations
Now that you know how to download YouTube videos, should you? First, be aware that different jurisdictions have different laws. Downloading a particular video may or may not be legal, even if all you want is to watch it offline.
If you want to download a video to incorporate into something you’re producing, keep in mind that some countries have a fair use concept. In those jurisdictions, small clips of copyrighted media may be incorporated into your products. But also remember that YouTube has algorithm systems that look for people to reuse videos, and your channel may be subject to a media reuse violation.
When in doubt, it is always best to ask.
Here you are. Have you been wondering how to download YouTube videos? What do you plan to do with them? Do you have other techniques to accomplish the same thing? Are you a YouTube Premium subscriber? If so, what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
You can follow my daily project updates on social media. Make sure to follow me on Twitter at Tweet embedon Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtzon Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtzand on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.