The 6 Best Ways to Convert YouTube to MP3

How to save YouTube MP3s to your computer or phone

Illustration of a young person listening to a song on a smartphone pulled from YouTube

Lifewire / Jie En Lee


A YouTube to MP3 converter lets you download a YouTube video as an MP3 file, a perfect solution if all you want out of a video is the audio. You can then make a ringtone out of the YouTube video, add the MP3 to your music collection, etc.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of free YouTube to MP3 converters out there that you can pick from, but not all are created equal. Some YouTube converters are really slow at converting and downloading and others are full of ads or confusing to use.

The list we’ve compiled below includes only the best YouTube to MP3 converters, each with their own set of unique features, plus a few other ways to get audio out of a YouTube video that you might not have seen before.

Once you get the MP3 from the YouTube video, you can then use a free audio file converter to save it to M4R for an iPhone ringtone, or any other audio format you want.

Most dedicated YouTube to MP3 converters don't include the audio from advertisement content. Ads are entirely separate from videos and so aren't included when you convert a video to MP3 or any other audio/video format.

Is It Legal to Convert YouTube Videos to MP3?

Frankly: yes and no. Downloading videos from YouTube or extracting audio from YouTube videos is 100 percent safe and legal only if it's your original content that you’re downloading (you're the original creator and uploader of the video) or you have written permission from the person or group that owns the right to the video.

Another way you can get free content from YouTube is if the uploader includes an official download link or if the content is in the public domain.

What this means, of course, is that you cannot legally use YouTube as your own personal music collection source, freely downloading songs without permission from videos uploaded by others, even if they're for your own personal use and you don't plan on sharing them with friends.


GenYouTube free YouTube to MP3 converter website

GenYouTube is easily the best way to convert YouTube videos to MP3 if you want to get it done quickly. It doesn’t ask you any questions, downloads are fast, and you can even get started from the YouTube video.

There are three ways to use this website:

  • Visit the GenYouTube site and paste the ​URL to the video.
  • Open GenYouTube and search for the video there.
  • View the video on YouTube and edit the URL, adding the word gen right before the word youtube (e.g.,

Once you’re on the download page for that video, just select MP3 from the list of options to start downloading an MP3 version of the YouTube video.

Depending on the video, GenYouTube supports a few other audio and video formats, too, including 3GP, WEBM, MP4, and M4A.

For most of you, this is simply the easiest way to extract audio from a YouTube video.

If you don't like GenYouTube or it isn't letting you get the MP3 of a specific YouTube video, there are several similar sites you can try—, Mp3labz,,, Mpgun,, and are some examples.

MediaHuman YouTube to MP3 Converter

MediaHuman YouTube to MP3 converter downloading two videos as MP3s

If you want a full-fledged desktop program to extract and convert YouTube videos to MP3, MediaHuman YouTube to MP3 Converter is the very best option for Windows, Mac, and Ubuntu.

There are several exceptional features that no other program or service in this list has, and lots of really specific options you can fiddle with to personalize the program and make it work exactly how you like.

Batch downloads and multi-link importing are supported so that you can queue up and download more than one MP3 file at once. Pair that with the "Start download automatically" option and you'll be downloading tons of YouTube MP3s in no time.

MediaHuman's YouTube MP3 downloader also supports playlist downloads so that you can instantly grab all the videos from a playlist and convert each video to a separate MP3. It can even track a playlist for new videos and then automatically download the MP3s.

This YouTube to MP3 converter also lets you set up iTunes importing so that MP3s will automatically load in iTunes, which is perfect if you plan on keeping your downloaded MP3s in sync with your iPhone or iPad.

Here are some other notable features: bandwidth control, custom bitrate settings, M4A and OGG output, auto shutdown option once files are finished downloading, YouTube login for accessing private videos, renaming the title and other info before downloading, and support for downloading MP3s from other websites like SoundCloud, Facebook, and Vimeo.

Documents iPhone App

Documents for iPhone converting a YouTube video to MP3 via GenYouTube site

Downloading music and other audio files directly to an iPhone isn't quite as easy as it is on Android because iPhones aren't built in a way to allow this kind of thing.

Instead, you have to do two things: use a specific app that supports downloading files and then download the MP3 to your phone with an online YouTube to MP3 converter.

  1. There are other apps like Documents that can download files but we've found that this one works the best, especially if you want to be able to lock your phone and still listen to music (you can't do that with the iOS YouTube app).

  2. Open Documents and tap the small browser icon on the bottom corner.

  3. Open GenYouTube (or any other online YouTube video downloader) and find the video you want to download as an MP3. You can also paste the link to the video if you already copied a direct link from an email, a text message, the YouTube app, your web browser, etc.

  4. From the video's download page, scroll down a bit and select the MP3 option.

  5. When asked, enter a name for the MP3 and then choose a folder to save it in, or use the default one.​

    If you're not asked for a file name when you tap to download the MP3, hold the button down instead, and choose Download link.

  6. Select Save to download the MP3 to your iPhone.

  7. You can play the MP3 file from whatever folder you chose in Step 5. Use the button on the bottom left-hand corner of the Documents app to return to your folders and open the MP3.

If you don't like using Documents, try Offline Files & Web Browser or Files, two very similar iPhone YouTube audio downloaders that let you save MP3 files directly to your phone.


Although it's not quite as easy to use as MediaHuman's tool mentioned above, Audacity is another popular option for Windows, Linux, and macOS.

Audacity is a free audio recording and editing program, so the way it works for YouTube conversions is pretty simple: record whatever sounds the computer is making and then save it to an MP3 file!

To do this, you have to change a few settings in Audacity and make sure no other sounds are playing on your computer since it will record anything sent to the speakers.

Below are detailed steps, first for Windows, then macOS:


  1. Download Audacity and install it to your computer.

  2. Go to Edit > Preferences to open the settings.

  3. Select Devices on the left.

  4. From the Interface section at the top, change the Host: option to Windows WASAPI.

    Audacity device interface settings with Windows WASAPI chosen
  5. From the same window, in the Recording section at the bottom, change the Device: option to be the output device, like your speakers or headphones.

    Audacity for Windows recording device setting with speakers or headphones chosen
  6. Choose OK to save and exit.

  7. From a web browser (doesn't matter which one), open the video you want to “convert” to MP3, and then be ready to hit the record button in Audacity as quickly as you can.

    That, or you can start recording in Audacity first and then start the video, but then you may have to do some editing in Audacity to remove any silence at the beginning.

    Audacity recording YouTube audio
  8. Hit the stop button in Audacity to stop recording.

  9. To save the recording to MP3, go to File > Export > Export as MP3, and save the MP3 somewhere you can find later.


  1. Download Audacity and Soundflower—which will let us route the audio from YouTube to Audacity—and then install them both.

    Once you've downloaded and opened Soundflower, launch the Soundflower.pkg file to actually use the installer. If it won't install, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy and choose to Allow next to the "blocked from loading" message.

  2. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences and then Sound.

    System Preferences in macOS
  3. In the Output tab of the Sound screen, select Soundflower (2ch) as the output device.

    Soundflower output sound settings in macOS
  4. In Audacity's Preferences screen, via Audacity > Preferences, open the Devices tab on the left.

  5. Under the Recording section, choose Soundflower (2ch) as the Device: option.

    Audacity device settings set to Soundflower in macOS
  6. Open the Recording tab on the left and enable Software Playthrough of input so that you can hear the video as it's playing.

    Audacity software playthrough of input option in macOS
  7. Choose OK to save the changes.

  8. Open a web browser to the YouTube video that you want to ultimately save to MP3. Be ready to press play on that video but also be prepared to hit the record button in Audacity.

    You can do either one first (i.e., play the video and then hit the record button or vice versa) but you might miss a little of the beginning of the video if you start it before you begin recording.

  9. Use the stop button in Audacity to quit recording.

  10. Go to File > Export > Export as MP3 to save the recording to an MP3 file.

    Export as MP3 in Audacity for Mac
  11. To make sure your computer will play sounds normally again, repeat Step 3 but choose Internal Speakers this time.

If the MP3 has some other noises like an ad that played at the beginning of the video, some silence, or some talking at the end, it’s easy to clip those out with Audacity.

Other noises like email alerts or error sounds that are mixed in with the audio are a bit harder to fix. If that happens, close down whatever made the noise and try the recording again for a cleaner MP3.

If Audacity won't save to MP3 and instead shows a message about a missing lame_enc.dll file or libmp3lame.dylib file, see this troubleshooting guide for help. It's a common problem that's easy to fix.

Web Browser

Yet another way to download YouTube videos is with your web browser. To do that, follow the steps below very carefully to get the MP4 version of the YouTube video, which you'll then convert to MP3.

Using a web browser as a YouTube MP3/audio downloader is definitely a more advanced and drawn out process compared to using one of the dedicated converters listed above, but we've added it here as an option in case you'd rather go this route.

These directions are meant specifically for Chrome and Firefox users, but they might be able to be adapted for other browsers, too. Opera, for example, works almost the exact same way as Chrome.

  1. Open the video you want to download as an MP3. You can pause it for now.

  2. With the video page open, launch the developer tools menu.​

    Windows (Chrome): At the top-right corner of Chrome, open the three-dotted menu button and find More tools > Developer tools. The keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+Shift+I (uppercase "i").

    Chrome developer tools menu

    Windows (Firefox): Open the Firefox menu at the top-right corner and choose Web Developer > Inspector (Ctrl+Shift+C works, too).

    Firefox web developer menu

    Mac (Chrome): Use the three-dotted menu at the top-right corner to find More Tools > Developer Tools, or hit the Command+Option+I (uppercase "i") hotkey.

    Mac (Firefox): From the menu button in the upper-right corner of the screen, navigate to Web Developer > Inspector, or open it with your keyboard via Command+Option+C.

  3. Change the user agent of your web browser so that you can trick YouTube into thinking that you're accessing the video from a mobile browser. This is the only way to make sure the video is actually downloadable.​

    Chrome: From the very top-right corner of developer tools, right next to the x button, is another dotted menu button. Use that to open More tools > Network conditions. Uncheck Select automatically, and choose Firefox - iPhone.

    Chrome user agent option

    Firefox: From a new tab, in the address bar, enter about:config and confirm with the I accept the risk! button (if you see it). In the search box that appears, search for general.useragent.override. If it's missing (it probably is), right-click (or tap-and-hold) in the empty white space and select New > String. Name it general.useragent.override, choose OK, and then give it this value:

    Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 8_3 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/600.1.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) FxiOS/1.0 Mobile/12F69 Safari/600.1.4
    Firefox user agent string value
  4. Return to the YouTube page if you're not already there, and refresh it, but keep the developer tools menu open. The page should change a bit and the video will fill nearly the whole screen.​

    If Firefox or Chrome automatically redirects you back to the desktop page, select the link that says to return to the mobile version of YouTube.

  5. Start the video, again, keeping the developer tools window open. Pause it after it's been playing for a few seconds.

  6. From the developer tools window, locate the small mouse pointer icon—it lets you choose which element to inspect on the page. It should be at the very top-left corner of the window.

  7. With that tool enabled, select the video.

    Chrome inspect tool on YouTube video
  8. Back in the developer tools window, look for a section that includes a really long URL. It begins with the text src="https:// and is probably blue, and may even be highlighted already. After some random characters should be what reads

    YouTube video source URL in Chrome

    Double-click or double-tap the URL to highlight it, and then copy the link by right-clicking or tapping-and-holding the text and picking the copy option. You can also use your keyboard: Ctrl+C in Windows or Command+C in macOS.

    You might not see the link you need to copy if the Network conditions window is taking up too much of the screen; you can close that window. If you still can't find the link, try expanding the <div lines by selecting them. Start just below the line that was highlighted when you selected the video in the last step.

  9. Open a new tab in Chrome or Firefox and paste that URL into the address bar, and then press Enter to open it. The whole page should look different than YouTube's normal website but the video should start playing normally.​

    YouTube video open in Chrome

    Depending on how it was copied, there might be some unnecessary text at the beginning and end and the video that prevents it from opening. If the page doesn't load, erase src=" from the beginning and " from the end so that the URL starts with https:// and ends with a letter or number (not a quotation mark).

  10. Right right-click or tap-and-hold the video, choose the save option, and pick somewhere on your computer to save it to. There may even be a download button on the bottom corner of the video that you can select instead.

    YouTube video download button
  11. The video most likely downloads with the MP4 file extension but it might be WEBM. Regardless, use the Any Video Converter program, FileZigZag website, or one of these free video file converters to save the video to MP3.​

The browser might not save the video with any file extension. If this happens, just rename the videoplayback file to have .mp4 appended to the very end.

It's unlikely that you want to keep using YouTube as if you were on a mobile device since the screen size is completely different than the desktop version. So, to reverse these steps in Chrome, just return to Step 3 and make sure Select automatically is checked. In Firefox, right-click (or tap-and-hold) that newly created string and choose Reset.

VLC Media Player

VLC Media Player is a free, incredibly versatile video and audio file player, and it works great for downloading YouTube videos to the MP4 format in Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Once the video is in the MP4 format, you can convert it to MP3 in the same way that you can when using the web browser method you just read about above.

Here's how to get the MP4 with VLC:

  1. Open VLC's network options:​​

    • Windows: Go to Media > Open Network Stream.
    • macOS: Use the File > Open Network option.
  2. Paste the YouTube video's URL in the text box located in that Network tab.

    VLC Network tab with URL pasted
  3. Choose Play in Windows or Open in macOS to start playing the YouTube video within VLC.

  4. After it starts (you can pause it if you like), copy the real URL that VLC is streaming:​

    • Windows: Go to Tools > Codec Information. From the Codec tab, copy the long URL located at the very bottom next to Location:.
    • macOS: Find the Window > Media Information menu option. Open the General tab and copy the URL from the Location text box.
    Raw YouTube URL in VLC for Windows

    Considering how long this URL is, it'd be a good idea to make sure you've copied the whole thing by selecting all of it (Ctrl+A or Command+A) before you copy it (Ctrl+C or Command+C).

  5. Paste that URL into your web browser, be it Chrome, Edge, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.

  6. Once it starts to load, right-click or tap-and-hold the video and choose the save option from that menu. You can also hit the Ctrl+S or Command+S shortcut to save the MP4, or select the Download button if you see one.

    Download button on a YouTube video in Chrome

Now convert that MP4 to an MP3 file to effectively extract the audio from the YouTube video.