Learn which mobile apps, websites, and software are the best for downloading Youtube videos, regardless of the device you're using. Today we'll talk at length about how to download YouTube videos on your desktop, via an app, or even online.
Why should you download videos?
Despite the fact that YouTube is an incredible platform, you don't always have access to the web or enough bandwidth. Also, some of the platform's features are a bit clunky. For instance, the algorithms that pile your previously watched videos are not entirely accurate at all times; furthermore, the creation of playlists takes forever.
After all, nothing beats having your favorite videos tucked away on your desktop or mobile at the end of the day, where they can safely, reliably, and readily be accessed whenever you want. Nothing beats being able to download a YouTube video.
Luckily, numerous programs and applications are specifically designed to download videos, compress videos, and format YouTube videos and clips. On the downside, not all of them are free, and a good bunch of them are not exactly user-friendly.
Even so, the ability to download these videos on a phone, desktop, or laptop is what each YT downloader offers, and our aim is to acquaint you with the best, most feature-packed apps.
Downloading YouTube videos & copyright
Bluntly put, YouTube forbids downloading any content on their platform unless they introduce such a feature themselves. In that regard, downloading YouTube videos is completely illegal worldwide – they could ban your account in the best-case scenario or even sue you in the worst-case scenario.
However, the good thing is that YouTube and its affiliates would often overlook anyone downloading songs or clips for their personal enjoyment. If you intend to download videos of the tracks, you like listening to for offline viewing. In that case, no harm is done, and the costs of legal pursuits would far exceed that of eventual retribution.
YouTube forbids explicitly downloading, copying & distributing any content on their platform, which means that the most prominent targets are people trying to make some money off downloaded videos.
Additionally, downloading a YT video for educational/philanthropic purposes is actually legal. This means that schools and similar institutions and online lesson courses and groups are free to either link towards or even download any clip on the YouTube platform.
What to look for in YouTube Downloader Software?
Even though the goal of every downloader program is the same (downloading a YouTube video link), there are numerous differences between different brands. Knowing what to look for in a YouTube app will help you better understand what they are offering, and ultimately – are their services worth the buck?
Decent download services support 4K formats while some of the best go as far as 8K; quality video downloaders also feature automated integration with YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and similar platforms. This section is dedicated to the features some of the finest YouTube downloader software are supplied with:
4K and 8K Support
What makes downloading videos great is its ability to authentically replicate the quality of the original content. The quality was completely put to the wayside back in the day of the first YouTube download programs. The only thing most people cared about was the download video on their devices.
Nowadays, downloading programs are advanced and offer a broad array of features concerning content quality. Even though 8K technology is relatively new, opting for a program that supports it will benefit you when purchasing a lifetime license. More and more 8K videos are swarming YouTube's banks, so if you can't really afford a service that supports it, a good alternative is finding a program that supports at least 4K.
YouTube & Facebook Integration
Some of the first video downloaders were designed as standalone software. These were online or desktop-based programs that required YouTube links before the downloading process could even commence.
The old-fashioned way of downloading YT videos presented a plethora of problems – the links were sometimes broken, and you would have to follow a long line of steps before you could download a raw, unrefined file.
Better-quality downloading programs and services can integrate with popular media platforms (obviously YouTube, but also Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, and such). These programs feature numerous built-in functions, such as automatic video search, in-app downloads, and such.
Playlist download versus individual file download
Downloading a couple of songs and clips typically requires minutes, depending on your internet speed and stability. However, the situation drastically changes for people who want to download larger videos and those who later want to compile their own personalized playlists.
Most free software allows you to manually download Youtube videos and clips, often with specific file size or quality limits. However, some of the best downloading programs are supplied with features designed to recognize pre-made playlists, allowing you to select multiple clips and download them simultaneously.
Conversion quality and formats
While 8K refers to the high video quality of your downloaded videos, the formats revolve around compatibility with different playback programs (such as VLC media player, MediaMonkey, MusicBee, and of course, Winamp).
Even if you download only the audio with the best possible audio quality, it won't be helpful to you if you need to rely on other programs to convert it into a playable format.
That's the reason why better-quality downloaders come outfitted with built-in conversion features, allowing you to specify the file format and codec information your downloads are going to be finalized in – MP3, MP4, and FLAC are just some of them.
User-friendly interface and software maintenance
The design of a program's interface should be easy to grasp for people encountering it for the first time. Even if a platform is feature-packed and relatively cheap, its usefulness is minimal if you'll need hours and hours figuring out which button, flag, and arrow do what.
Top-rated YT downloader programs and applications are intuitive and easy to understand; they are supplied with self-explanatory features that even people who aren't tech-savvy can use straight off the bat.
Another critical factor to consider is how frequently the software is maintained. Regular maintenance entails constant bug-tracking and fixing, as well as reactions to user feedback. Cheap and low-quality downloaders remain as they are for months and years until they simply lose relevance. You will need a service that will allow you to download files with ease, where you preferably just need to paste the URL and click the download button.
Cookies and personal information gathering
One of the worst things that could happen to anyone using a video downloader is their personal information being 'stolen' and misused. Obviously, each platform has its own terms and conditions of use, but let's face it, not many people actually spare the time to read them through and through.
Malicious and scam software is designed to trick people into believing their information is kept safe and private. At the same time, in actuality, that is not the case. Legitimate YouTube downloader applications and programs will never ask for anything other than your e-mail address. You are free to fill out your card's details if the service involves a fee or a payment plan. Just be mindful and ensure they use a reputable payment processor like Paddle or Stripe, which are incredibly secure and safe.
Virus and Malware-free programs
Bugs are to be expected in pretty much any program, regardless of how well-maintained its servers are. However, viruses and malware present a different kind of threat. 'Infected' programs earn their reputation quickly and are easy to avoid.
Before you decide which YT downloader you want to use, it may be worth your while to check out the reviews and see what people who've used it have to say about it.
How to Download YouTube Videos on Windows
The market is flooded with Windows-based YouTube video downloader software, and choosing between myriads of platforms can be a daunting task. Some services appear shady, others are too expensive, and many such programs are often falsely advertised.
However, we've managed to pluck out a handful of reputable, high-quality services that you can rely on, including these three. Learn how to download youtube videos safely.
Editor’s choice: Vidd.ly
Vidd.ly is, without any shadow of a doubt, the ultimate Windows YT video downloading software that is currently available. It supports dozens of formats and grants you the ability to grab your favorite clips in 8K resolutions at 60 frames per second; furthermore, it can be used to download individual clips or entire playlists in MP3, MP4, AVI, FAC, AFF, OGG, MPEG-4, and more.
This app is available for free, although this particular version limits some of its functionalities – the free version offers FHD video quality and 128 Kbps audio quality. Still, it also sports YouTube integration in terms of automatized video search. Unfortunately, the free version will also generate a couple of ads every now and then.
Viddly Plus is a yearly subscription that completely eliminates ads and offers unlimited YT live streaming, playlist download & generation, 8K support, and 192 Kbps audio quality atop all the features of the free Viddly version. This is the most complete software to save videos online and is routinely updated at the time of writing.
Viddly Plus costs a mere $17.99 per year, which is beyond cheap; another version is available called the Viddly Lifetime – a fixed fee of $59.00 will allow you to forever reap the benefits of the Plus version.
Runner-up: Snap Downloader
Snap Downloader is an excellent alternative to Viddly because it offers similar main features. However, its UI is not as intuitive and user-friendly. A touch less professional, although equally functional.
Some of the best features of this platform include complimentary lifetime upgrades, simultaneous downloads, 8K support, rapid download speeds, in-app setup, integrated video editor, and playlist download.
It is not exactly free per se, although you will be able to download it and test it for 48 hours before paying for the services (which is a big negative). As mentioned, SnapDownloader is far less professional, has an average interface, and has limited updates.
On a brighter note, both Personal License and Family Edition payment plans are lifetime subscriptions (both of which are also cheaper than Viddly).
- Annual subscription is $19.99 - pointless
- Lifetime subscription is $29.99 - best value
All-in-all, SnapDownloader is a suitable runner-up, thanks to their $29.99 lifetime license. Beyond that, everything offered is subpar when compared to Vidd.ly.
Honorable Mention: 4K Video Downloader
The 4K Video Downloader is, as you could probably imagine, a downloader software that supports video downloads up to 4K. It has decently fast download speeds and is available in both free and paid versions.
The free version offers a variety of quality functionalities, including the 'smart' mode (automatic feature optimization), frequent updates, and unlimited single file download. Three payment plans are available, including Personal, Pro, and 4K Bundle. Each of these versions offers quantitative upgrades in download speeds, streaming, in-abb subscriptions, and such.
- Personal is $15
- Pro is $45
- Bundle is $65
It's not as great as Viddly or Snap Downloader because it doesn't support 8K downloads and lacks standard video formats. And we really dislike the fact they have separate downloads for Youtube to MP3 and other video streaming platforms.
How to Download Youtube Videos on Mac
Mac OS is a couple of decades younger than Windows, which may lead some people into thinking that the market for Mac-based YT downloaders is limited. However, the truth is that there's just as much software that dabbles in downloading YouTube videos as there are programs for Windows that are tackling the same issues.
Here are some of the best Mac-based YouTube video downloaders that the current market has to offer:
Editor's choice: VDownloader
The reason why VDownloader is more versatile and ultimately better for the buck than most YT downloader applications for Mac is the fact that its usefulness spans outside of YouTube's exclusiveness. It works with most sites where you would typically see videos, such as VEVO, MetaCafe, Vimeo, Facebook, and DailyMotion.
And like Vidd.ly on Windows, vDownloader is a professional Mac solution. Payments are processed through Paddle, a secure payment processor. The interface and user experience are top-notch, and the software is frequently updated.
- vDownloader Plus Lifetime is $49.99 (regularly $120)
- vDownloader Plus Yearly is $19.99
It also sports a built-in search function, supports up to 8K videos in almost every format (WMA, WAV, MP3, MP4, MPG, AVI), and has one of the best-designed user interfaces on the market. It's free, so feel free to try it.
Airy is a close runner-up in the sense that it offers a huge number of top-quality features at a very attractive price tag. However, the interface is old and clunky, which you might expect from 2010.
It's supplied with a dedicated MP3 conversion feature, a highly intuitive user interface, and a simplified video download method. However, its simplicity hides its limited versatility. Its application is exclusive to YouTube (whereas most popular downloaders can be used on other platforms).
- Personal License is $19.95
- Family Pack (for 3 Macs) $39.95
- Team License $29.95
Airy downloader is free to use if you don't mind downloading standalone videos – playlist generation and download feature become available when you upgrade your subscription. It's easy to use and will bring those videos to your downloads folder in a matter of minutes.
Honorable mention: WonderShare YouTube Downloader
WonderShare is a versatile tool that also covers a variety of applications and platforms. It is an excellent value-for-money option and is free to try; however, note that a monthly subscription is required for long-term plans.
- 1-year license is $19.00
- lifetime license $29.00
- family lifetime license $72.50
WonderShare produces a lot of top-quality software. However, they have let their software go. Dropping it from their product list is a clear indication this isn't their top priority.
How to Download Youtube Videos Online
Android devices, iOS devices, and all other types of mobile devices are covered. The websites listed below allow you to download videos directly to your mobile device and watch YouTube videos without being connected to the internet. This does not include Google Play Store or Apple Store apps since they are known for breaking terms of service.
Best Youtube Downloader for Android - Youtube Go by Google
Best Youtube Downloader for Apple - Websites listed below
The web is chock-full of websites that allow you to download video files and watch them later without an internet connection. However, a few drawbacks should be considered as well, such as numerous advertisements that can't be avoided through your normal browser, the possibility of viruses and malware lurking about, and basic usability issues.
These websites offer limited features, require a fast internet connection, and offer limited download options. Regardless you may find yourself trying to save a video quickly. The websites listed below are your best options to date. Just pop in the video url and download videos one by one.
Note: Set your expectations low and protect yourself with professional antivirus and malware software before visiting any of these websites and downloading videos.
Editor's choice: YT1S
The YT1S is a straightforward website that allows you to paste a URL to the YouTube video you want and immediately convert them into a video or any other format of your choice. There are no fees, limitations, or restrictions, and the site is entirely free to use. Just use the paste link button, and you'll have the video on your camera roll in a minute. It can be an mp4 file and also works for mp3 files.
What's more, it also offers free Cloud support. It is accessible across all platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Androids, and iPhones. It doesn't, however, possess the ability to download playlists or batches of songs or videos.
SaveFrom.net is an obvious choice for people who aren't well accustomed to how internet downloads generally work. It operates on a simple 'drag & drop' mechanism and features built-in integration with numerous websites, including Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, SoundCloud, DailyMotion, and such.
While it is free to use, you should be prepared to get harassed by frequent ads, even before downloading your videos.
Honorable mention: KeepVid
KeepVid is basically a downgraded version of SaveFrom.net - it offers a similar UI and operating mode, although it's not as versatile – it supports a narrower range of platforms. Still, it works perfectly well with YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
This website offers single-file downloads and automatic file conversion – it's free, but it also includes a myriad of ads.
YouTube is the largest video sharing site in the world. It's no wonder that people want to watch their favorite videos offline, on a plane or at work without internet access. There are many ways you can download content from YouTube and save it for viewing later. We shared some great tips about what type of software you should be looking for if you're interested in downloading videos, how to do so on Windows-based computers as well as Macs, and lastly how to find an online service that will allow you to save any video off Youtube quickly and easily!