Downloaded You Tube Video
Tons of footage is uploaded to YouTube every minute. What if you want to download it? Here’s how.
When the topic of downloading YouTube videos comes up, there’s a side subject that must be broached: Is it legal? When it comes to copyright, as long as you’re downloading a video for your own personal offline use, you’re probably okay.
So, let’s be clear, taking video from YouTube is a big no-no. If you want to share a video, YouTube makes it pretty damn easy to do, from embedding to emailing to sharing via social networks. You don’t really need to download a video most of the time. But maybe you have your reasons. We won’t judge If you must download a YouTube video — absolutely need to, just for yourself, and not for dissemination, and not to be a total douche-nozzle — here’s how.Software
Third-party software is where many will find the best control for downloading online videos. Typically, you paste the URL for the YouTube video you want into the app, and it downloads the highest quality version it can find, typically in MP4 format. (It used to be that YouTube videos were all Flash-based, so your download was an FLV file, but those tend to be harder to play back. MP4, short for MPEG-4 Part 14 multimedia format, plays everywhere on anything.) Here are some options:
4K Video Downloader Free
4K Video Downloader (and companion app 4K YouTube to MP3) is frequently updated and features clear download links; no ad traps here. It does what it advertises: grabs videos up to 4K in quality and downloads to plenty of formats — it will even grab subtitles. You can even use it to download an entire subscribed YouTube channel. The sites supported are more limited to the big names like YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook, but that probably covers most of what you need.
Freemake Video Downloader
Free (with caveats)
Freemake claims it can download video from over 10,000 sites; “Loved by 83 Million users,” it brags. With YouTube videos, it grabs things in any format, lets you save links, and downloads multiple videos at once. It also claims to be the fastest, grabbing a two-hour HD video in four minutes, but users can limit the speed if they’re on a throttled internet connection. And that price? For free, it’s a no-brainer, though you have to put up with advertisements. If you only want to grab music out of the videos you watch, it also offers the free Freemake YouTube to MP3 Boom.
The caveats: Freemake throws in extras when you install, including a third-party antivirus program and a forced change to Yahoo as your search engine in all your browsers. Make sure with this, or any program, that you do the custom install to avoid unwanted changes to your system. Should you trust Freemake? It devotes an entire webpage to reasons why you should — it claims antivirus programs flag them as a false-positive caused by its advertising partner installing potentially unwanted programs, but whether you believe is up to you.
Another free grabber program, TubeGet will download in HD, SD, or 4K, and from not just YouTube, but also 10,000-plus video-hosting sites — including, it claims, Netflix. The program has a built-in MP3 converter, which grab as many as five videos simultaneously.
All you need to do is copy a YouTube link from the browser into Airy, and it does the rest. It even works with YouTube playlists. You set the quality or format, including extracting audio into MP3 format. Airy integrates with the web browser so it can be a one-click affair to download. The biggest downside may be that Airy appears to only work with YouTube; no other video sites are supported. If you show proof you’re migrating from a competing paid product, Airy will give you 50 percent off the price. Note that at least one commenter says they paid for Airy but never got an activation code.
YTD Video Downloader
Free or $ 29.90 / year;
YTD works over 50 other video-hosting sites. It will convert files to other formats. Pay the yearly fee and you get more functions, like downloading multiple videos at once and download acceleration, plus no advertising. YTD has Android and iOS apps, but only the Android version actually downloads video. You can’t install it from Google Play, though; you have to use the APK file it provides (with instructions). We have more on that below. YTD is the old guard in this area, but it’s a little hard to use.
Free or $ 14.99 / year or $ 40 / unlimited,
The developer of YouTubeByClick says YTD was an inspiration; the software has most of the same features. It captures video from over 50 sites, including via playlists or entire channels worth of content, plus downloads video in full HD, converts to your format of choice on the fly, like making MP3s for your music collection. And it can integrate with the browser (Chrome, Firefox, IE, and even Edge) for one-button downloads right from within YouTube.
Any Video Converter
Free to $ 49.95 (Ultimate);
It’s expensive, but AVC Ultimate claims not only that it can download video from 100+ sites like YouTube and Facebook, it can also capture streaming video — like from Netflix. It’ll also rip DVDs and provides some video editing.
DLNow Video Downloader
Another freebie, DLNow Video Downloader has a list of over 570 sites it works with to download video. It’ll do an MP3 conversion if you only want the audio, and grab any video in the best possible quality, even live streams or multiple videos at once. It’s also completely free.
Softorino YouTube Converter
Free to $ 19.95,
The folks at Softorino have a $ 39.95 product called Waltr 2 specifically for converting video that plays on the iPhone or iPad — without using iTunes or jailbreaking. Naturally, they’d want a program for grabbing videos to convert. The YouTube Converter does just that, getting videos sans ads for offline viewing, but also with the Waltr functions integrated, so you can send YouTube vids directly to iOS devices.
Want to avoid installing software? Video download helper sites do the work for you, providing conversion and then a download link — you don’t have to install anything. It can take a lot longer, depending on the size and quality of the video you want — a typical two-minute movie trailer in 1080p can be around 50MB — but you can’t beat the convenience.
There are hundreds of these types of sites out there — it seems anyone with a modicum of coding ability has set one up. They have names like SaveFrom, FLVto, GrabClip, VideoGrabber.net, keepdownloading, getvideo.at, TubeOffline, etc. Such sites can easily go from useful to suspicious, especially if they get popular. If your browser (or your instincts) throws up warnings, avoid and move to the next.
A few of these sites try to go the extra distance by making it easy to grab video by letting you change the URL of a vid at YouTube just slightly, so the service takes over. For instance, change the “youtube.com” part to “vdyoutube.com” and the site VDYouTube takes over. (Or you can cut and paste the URL into VDYouTube.)
Other sites that do that: Save-Video.com (put the word “magic” between the “you” and the “tube”) and YoutubeMonkeydownloader (change to “youtubemonkey.com”), SaveFrom.net (add “ss” before the “youtube.com”), and CONV. (add “conv” before the “youtube.com”).
Beware of the ad traps on some sites — ads that look like they should be the download button to get your desired content, but aren’t.
Here are a few others helper sites that stand out.
Supporting downloads from 28 sites, KeepVid does more than video (as evidenced by supporting downloads from SoundCloud). Just paste in the video’s URL and click download next to it — don’t click the big advertisement that typically also says “download” (even KeepVid admits it’s an “ads trap” in its FAQ page). You’ll get back a slew of download options, video and audio, in every size possible, including MP3 audio. Right-click the file you want and select “Save Link as” to download to the desktop. The site requires Java to run.
You can also buy KeepVid Pro for the desktop ($ 19 / year or $ 29 / lifetime,), which supports 10,000 sites. Or get a version for Android or the browser extensions (see more below).
In years past we recommended a site called YouTube Downloader (not to be confused with YouTubeDownloader.com, which is not related), but that doesn’t matter because YouTube Downloader is now TubeNinja. We also warned readers away after getting a malware warning. TubeNinja says it’s only been about about that problem once, and on my revisits to update, I didn’t get any issues. (It notes that it uses the same ad network as VDYouTube mentioned above, which goes to show that these ad networks and potentially unwanted programs do nothing to help the developers in their relationship with the users.)
To its credit, TubeNinja sports an easy-to-use site with nothing that appears like an ad trap. With a huge number of sites supported (including may for grown-ups only), several languages, and ability to add functions via a browser bookmarklet, and adding “dl” to a URL before a site’s name for quick downloads, we’ll go back on record to recommending TubeNinja for downloads.
Simple is what you need, and ConvertToAudio.com is that. Plug in the URL, pick a format for conversion (audio or video, though MP3 is the default), even set the volume control, then click Convert It! It offers a bookmarklet to put in the toolbar — click it whenever you’re on a video site to start a conversion. (Also try YoutubeMp3.to, YouTube to mp3, ListenToYoutube.com, or a slew of others with the same free functionality.)
ClipConverter.cc does the usual: it takes a URL and lets you download the video hosted there in multiple formats, both video and audio. Change the start and end time of the video if you like. YouTube, Vimeo, and others are supported; it also offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. It has also implemented a filter to prevent people from downloading copyrighted material.
If you’re more into grabbing things from Facebook, many of the sites above support it, but this one targets Facebook videos specifically.
A browser extension can help you save a step. But you’re going to run into some issues with downloading video from YouTube, especially if you’re using Chrome as your primary browser.
The Chrome Web Store — where you get such browser extensions — is controlled by YouTube owner Google. Even an extension ostensibly for this purpose — the obviously named Video Downloader professional — states right up front in its description, “The download of YouTube videos to hard drive is locked because of restrictions of the Chrome Store.” Google isn’t in the habit of letting one division screw over the others. The download of any RTMP protocol video (protected videos) or streaming video is also not possible. Video Downloader Ultimate ($ 9.99) However, is software from the same developer that downloads from YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, etc.
It’s the same with other extensions like vGet and Free Video Downloader. But you can use them on other sites with video, of course. Just not YouTube.
Want to get around it? You need an extension that doesnt come from the Google Web Store. Download YouTube Chrome says it’ll do the job, as do the Chrome extensions from KeepVid and ClipConverter.cc. They spell out how to do the extension install without the assistance Chrome users typically get from Chrome Web Store.
Other browser extensions that can do the job, if you don’t get them from Google:
Free; Opera, Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chromium-based browsers
This downloader tool is on all platforms, with an installer for Chrome that skips the Chrome Web Store. It puts a “download this video” menu right on any YouTube page you load, with all the format options on display.
Free or $ 28.50; Firefox, Chrome
Supporting a huge number of sites — even those for adults! —This extension adds to your Tools menu and provides a bunch of format options for download when you’re on a page with a supported video. You’ll know the video is downloadable when the icon for the extension animates. If you upgrade to Premium, you can convert files (but only on Firefox). It also has a Kiva initiative page, where it prefers you donate funds to those in need, which has raised over $ 90,000.