How to Download YouTube Videos


YouTube has become things that people first think of when they hear the term internet. It is not a surprising fact either, considering how the video-sharing platform has become the central place for entertainment and information. From how-to tutorials to live telecasts and from game streams to serious discussions, it is as if everything has a place on YouTube.

However, at its core, YouTube is a business venture that makes money out of ads. That is why it’s not allowing everyone to download videos from the website. That having said, not everyone is downloading YouTube videos to re-publish it or reproduce it. There are instances, often academic, where you want to have offline access to video content.

Technically, you can download YouTube videos. However, according to your requirements, you will have to choose a method. In this article, we are covering some of the best ways on how to download YouTube videos and keep them as per your convenience.

#1 The Official Method — YouTube Premium

YouTube Premium is the official method, recommended by YouTube, to download any YouTube video. That having said, you are not technically downloading the video. Instead, YouTube Premium allows you to make YouTube videos available offline. That is, you can access these videos even if you don’t have the internet on your phone. The catch? Well, you can use only the YouTube app for playback. Don’t even think of using a third-party video player.

YouTube Premium is also the easiest method to download YouTube videos. If you are subscribed to YouTube Premium, you can see a Download button near the YouTube player interface. Clicking on the button would ask you to choose the quality — it supports up to 1080p incompatible devices — of the video. That’s it, the video would be available for offline access. You don’t have to copy URLs or download other apps. This can’t get easier, you know.

Of course, it’s not the ideal solution for most people. First things first, you have to pay a monthly subscription fee to have this feature. That’s not really the best scene for most people. Secondly, you can’t download 4K or 8K videos using the YouTube app. Third but most important, this feature does not work on desktop devices at all. You should have a device with YouTube app to enjoy this offline access feature. This is a tradeoff for most people, we’re sure.

#2 Using A YouTube Downloader Software

This is perhaps the better and more effective choice to download YouTube videos for offline access. In this instance, however, we are using a YouTube downloader software for the purpose. As the name says, it is a tool that allows you to download videos into a more common format like MP4 or AVI. The best part? You can download content at higher qualities like 4K or even 8K. It’s just that you have to find a safe and free video downloader for YouTube.

NotMP3 is surely a popular and free video downloader for YouTube. This simple tool allows you to download YouTube videos at qualities up to 8K without the hassle of advertisements or click-baits. Instead, you get an ultra-simple way to paste the URL and rush towards the download process. In case you did not guess, a tool like NotMP3 can even help you download entire YouTube playlists and bulk downloads. There are no limits when it comes to speed and the number of tasks you can run at a time.

As long as you are choosing a free YouTube downloader, things are super-fine. One of the best things is that you have complete control over the downloaded media. That is, you don’t need to stick to the YouTube app or other sources. Did we mention that YouTube downloaders like NotMP3 are easily available for platforms like Windows, macOS, and Linux? At the end of the day, choosing the right YouTube downloader program is all that matters.

#3 Miscellaneous Options

In addition to the abovementioned, official and unofficial methods, there are some other methods too.

  • There are some online YouTube downloaders and converters that help you get the job done without all the hassle of installation and programs. These are more convenient for most people, but you may be missing out features like editing and bulk downloads. It’s also true that most online downloaders do not support higher quality standards like 4K or 8K.
  • If you are on mobile, you can find some not-so-legal apps that help you download YouTube videos in the long run. The problem is that you will have to survive a huge collection of ads. And, it’s definitely a problem that you cannot download these apps from official sources like Google Play Store or App Store. So, safety is indeed a problem here.

#4 VLC Media Player

Free; Windows, macOS, Linux

I’ve mentioned the VLC Media Player above because it’s a fantastic tool for Windows users that plays back just about any media ever created. It turns out, it also has the ability to download YouTube videos, albeit in a convoluted way. (If you run into any problems with it, you may need to do a full re-install of VLC and clear your cache to make this work.)

Copy a URL from a YouTube video, then open up VLC. From the Media menu select Open Network Stream (Ctrl+N) and paste in the URL. Click Play. When the video is playing, go to Tools > Codec Information. There is a box at the bottom called “Source”—copy the URL you find in that box.

vlc downloader

Go back to your browser and paste the URL—it’s a temporary web address and will expire eventually—in the address bar and start playing the video. When you’re viewing the video in the browser, you’ll see an option to download the file to keep locally.

However, it appears that VLC is only going to save your file as 1080p and not any higher, even if the original YouTube stream was available in 1440p or 2160p (aka 4K). It also won’t convert video to other formats. To get those options, you need the desktop software below.

Last but not least, you can also check out bookmarklets and URL shortening services that allow you to finish the job ASAP.

Before We Finish

We believe we have provided you a comprehensive view on how to download YouTube videos. Depending on your convenience and whether you are ready to pay, you can choose between the official and unofficial methods to do this job. If you ask us, though, we’d recommend YouTube downloader software for the extra quality and control they provide.