How to Download YouTube Videos

For many of us, YouTube is a one-stop-shop for entertainment and education, but it can also be a source of data. Downloading videos is a way to get multiple video replays without constantly using streaming data.

When you download videos from YouTube, they become available for offline viewing, allowing you to watch them even if you don’t have internet access. It’s great if you’re traveling somewhere with a spotty internet connection or are limited by data caps.

Prerequisites before downloading YouTube videos

Before seeing how to save YouTube videos, keep in mind that many of them are copyrighted, which means it’s illegal to download them without paying the creator. Elsewhere, we’ve explained how to check if a video is copyrighted on YouTube.

Many third-party apps allow users to download YouTube videos to their devices, but they are against the law and against YouTube’s Terms of Service. To keep you on the straight and narrow, here are the conditions under which it is legal to download YouTube videos with third-party apps.


YouTube home screen

To combat intellectual property theft and other forms of piracy, YouTube offers a pseudo-download feature that allows you to download videos to your smartphone and watch them offline. This is the only completely legal way to download YouTube videos. However, the downloaded videos are only available on the YouTube app, not on your device storage.

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In some regions, only YouTube Premium subscribers have access to this download feature. At YouTube Help you can see a list of regions where YouTube Premium is available. It was previously available to all users in the free version of the app, but that is no longer the case.

Another caveat is that the download feature is limited to specific content and regions. Again, YouTube Help has a list of all countries where YouTube allows certain content to be downloaded for offline viewing.

Finally, not all YouTube videos are available for download. Creators on YouTube have the option to make their videos downloadable or not.

How to Download YouTube Videos for Offline Viewing

Now that all the disclaimers are out, let’s get to the reason you’re here: how to download YouTube videos.

To start:

  1. Launch YouTube Premium. If you’re considering the investment, here’s a guide to help you decide if YouTube Premium is worth it.
  2. Find the video you want to download using the search bar.
  3. Tap the video you want to play, then tap the download button in the menu tab just below the video.
  4. Select the quality you want to download, then press To download to start. Don’t worry if your device loses connection while you’re downloading a video, your download will automatically resume when you reconnect to the internet.
  5. Since this is your first time, check the Remember my settings box, so you won’t have to repeat this process the next time you want to download a YouTube video.
  6. You will see a Video uploaded pop-up at the bottom of your YouTube video once the download is complete. Additionally, the Download button will now display the word Uploaded. This means that you can now watch the video without an internet connection.


If you open the YouTube app without an internet connection, you’ll see a Go to downloads which you can tap to immediately access your downloads.

Repeat the process for as many videos as you want. Open Library > Downloads to access your downloaded videos. Note that you will only be able to access downloaded videos with the same account you downloaded them with in the first place.

To maintain access to your downloaded videos, YouTube requires that you reconnect your phone to the Internet at least once every 48 hours. This is to ensure that the video library remains up to date with its online version.

If any information changes about the videos you uploaded, it will update when you log back in. Also, if a creator removes a video you’ve already uploaded, it will no longer be viewable.


Watch YouTube videos offline

The YouTube upload feature is useful especially for those who live in areas with limited internet access. It’s also a great way to reduce data usage on YouTube, and an especially safe way to save videos that have high replay value.


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About the Author

Shirley K. Rosa