How to Download Videos From YouTube

Save YouTube Content on Windows and Mac for Free

YouTube logo
Wikimedia Commons

Downloading YouTube videos isn't supposed to be a super easy process. In fact, there aren't download buttons on most videos and YouTube uses HTML5 which complicates the process.

In order to save a YouTube movie, you need to use a separate specialized device or service, most of which are 100% free and don't require a membership or fee of any kind.

Important: Downloading copyrighted videos might be illegal in your country. Use these YouTube video downloaders only with your own content or for videos that are in the public domain.

How to Save YouTube Movies

There are a few different options for downloading YouTube movies and videos. You can use a free or paid online service to get the job done or install a program to your computer that can save the video and/or convert it to a usable format.

The type of video downloader you choose doesn't really matter all that much; it can be based solely on personal preference since any will work.

Subscribe to YouTube Red

Screenshots showing how to download a YouTube video with YouTube Red through the iPhone app

YouTube Red is not free but it does let you download YouTube videos to your iOS or Android mobile device. It's important to note that this method does not let you save the video to your computer.

This works through the YouTube app (iOS or Android) or YouTube Music app (iOS or Android).

Other features are included in YouTube Red as well, like the ability to watch YouTube Red Originals, play music in the background from your phone without having the app showing, watch videos without ads, and stream Google Play Music ad-free.

Free Websites for Downloading YouTube Videos

These online YouTube downloaders are completely free and work in a web browser, so you can use them no matter what operating system you're running, whether it be Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.

Free Programs for Downloading YouTube Videos

You have to download these programs to your computer in order to save the YouTube video. Some of them only work with Windows and the last one is for Linux only.

How to Use These YouTube Downloaders

For every website or program listed above, you have to know the URL of the YouTube video. While on the YouTube page of the video you want, just right-click the URL in the navigation bar of your web browser, and choose to copy the text or link.

Then, open one of the websites or programs from above, and paste the URL into the text field. You'll find that some of these methods for downloading YouTube movies let you pick the video format or quality before you download them, such as MP4 or AVI.

Some of these YouTube downloaders also let you extract the audio from the video, which is useful if you'd rather have just the sound. On the other hand, others won't even let you download the video unless it's free from any music.

Screenshots showing how to use GenYoutube to download a YouTube video

Tip: GenYoutube is a unique website for downloading YouTube videos since you can go to the YouTube video and change the URL to immediately redirect the page to GenYoutube. To do this, put the word gen right before the word youtube in the URL, like www.genyoutube.com/watch?.

How to Convert YouTube Videos

If you'd rather have the video in some other format, like one that your phone or tablet supports, you can always just load it into a free video converter program and save it to a different file format.

On the other hand, if all you're after is the audio from a YouTube video in a format like MP3, check out our How to Convert YouTube Videos to MP3 guide for several ways of doing this.