How to Download YouTube Videos and Watch Them Offline
Watching YouTube videos is fine as long as you have a stable internet connection, but sometimes you don’t have a high-speed link to the web – on vacation, while traveling, on the go. To prepare for these situations, you may want to download YouTube videos in advance for offline viewing.
We’ll walk you through the official, approved way to do that, which is to sign up for a YouTube Premium Membership. There are shadier alternatives when it comes to downloading YouTube videos, which you can find with a quick web search, but you use them at your own risk.
As of this writing, YouTube Premium will cost you $14.99 per month. In addition to being able to download videos to your devices, a subscription means you’ll never see ads on YouTube. Moreover, everything is also included in YouTube Music Premium, which separately costs $11.99 per month.
How to Download YouTube Videos to Desktop
If you are logged into YouTube with a premium account, you will notice a To download button under the videos while watching them: Click it and the download begins. If you are browsing video thumbnails in a grid (on the YouTube homepage for example), you can click on the three dots next to any video to find the download option.
A small download status box appears in the lower left corner, and you should keep the current browser tab open until the download is complete. Downloads don’t sync between devices – they’re local to the device you’re on – and they won’t be deleted automatically unless the device goes 30 days without connecting to the internet.
To find your YouTube downloads on the web, click the icon Downloads button in the navigation pane on the left. Everything you see on this page can be viewed without an internet connection if needed. Click on Download settings (top right) to change the default video quality of your downloads, up to a maximum of 1080p HD.
On the same screen, you will see a Delete all downloads , which erases all the clips you have saved on the current device. To remove an individual upload, click the three dots next to a clip on the uploads page and select Delete downloadsor go to the video page and click Uploaded then Wipe off in the next dialog box.
Note that the required caching technology means this only works in Google Chrome and browsers built on the same Chromium base, such as Microsoft Edge. If you are using Mozilla Firefox or Apple Safari, you will need to switch browsers to download YouTube videos.
How to Download YouTube Videos on iOS and Android
You can also download YouTube videos in mobile apps for Android and iOS. You can press the To download button that appears below videos while you’re watching them, or you can tap the three dots next to a video while you’re browsing them, then select the Download the video option.
The first time you do this, you’ll be asked to choose a video quality setting, up to 1080p HD. If you want the YouTube app to continue using the same setting in the future, check the box Remember my settings box — otherwise you will be asked to choose a download video quality each time you save a clip.
You can find the video download quality option and various other settings – such as whether or not to restrict downloads to times when your device is on wifi – by tapping on your profile picture (top right on the front screen) then Settings and Background and downloads. There is also a Recommend downloads Toggle Switch: Turn it on and YouTube recommends videos you might want to save based on your viewing activity.
To find your recommended videos and videos you’ve downloaded to your device, tap Library then Downloads from the app’s front screen. Again, you need to connect to the internet at least once every 30 days for uploads to stay up, just so YouTube knows you’re still a premium subscriber.
Tap the three dots next to a downloaded video to find the option to delete it from your device. You can access the option to delete all downloaded videos – as well as a breakdown of how much space they currently take up on your phone or tablet – by going to the download settings screen we have mentioned above.
This article has been updated since it was first published.