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How to Download YouTube Videos for Free on Desktop & Mobile in 2022

Have you ever wanted to save a special YouTube video to watch again and again? Or needed to download a tutorial to view offline? With the right tools, downloading YouTube videos is easy.

In this guide, I‘ll explain everything you need to know to download videos from YouTube for free. You‘ll learn:

  • The best reasons to download YouTube videos
  • If it‘s legal and safe
  • How to choose the right video format
  • How to get maximum quality when downloading
  • Step-by-step instructions for desktop and mobile
  • Expert tips to avoid problems

By the end, you‘ll be able to download any YouTube video to watch offline on your devices. Let‘s get started!

Why Download Videos from YouTube?

Here are the top reasons for downloading YouTube videos:

Watch Offline

You can download videos to watch later when you don‘t have an internet connection. This is great for plane trips, commutes, or other times you‘ll be offline.

Avoid Buffering and Lag

Downloading eliminates video buffering and stuttering that can ruin the viewing experience. Playback is smooth and seamless.

Remove Ads

YouTube videos are riddled with annoying ads. Downloaded videos let you avoid all advertisements.

Listen to Audio Only

Just download the audio track from a video if you want to listen on the go without video. This saves storage space too.

Save Favorite Videos

Downloading lets you build a permanent library of beloved videos so you can rewatch them anytime.

Share Videos Privately

It‘s easier to share downloaded videos with friends and family over messaging apps or offline.

Is Downloading YouTube Videos Legal?

Many people worry that downloading videos from YouTube is piracy. But in most cases, it‘s perfectly legal.

YouTube‘s Terms of Service prohibit downloading only for commercial use or distribution:

"You shall not download any Content unless you see a “download” or similar link displayed by YouTube on the Service for that Content."

However, they also state:

"You may access Content for your information and personal use solely as intended through the provided functionality of the Service and as permitted under these Terms of Service."

So downloading videos just for your own personal offline use is allowed. You can also share downloads privately with family and friends.

The only thing that‘s illegal is redistributing downloaded videos publicly without permission from the copyright holder.

As long as you stick to personal use, downloading YouTube videos is safe from a legal perspective.

What Video Formats Can You Download?

YouTube videos can be downloaded in several common formats:

Format Description
MP4 Works on any device. Balances quality and file size.
AVI For older Windows PCs. Large files but high quality.
MOV Plays well on Apple devices using QuickTime.
3GP Lower quality but very small files good for mobiles.
MKV High quality format good for media players.
MP3 Audio-only format just extracts the sound.
WEBM Lightweight HD videos playable in most browsers.

MP4 is generally the best all-around choice. But you may want a more specialized format for certain devices, or to save storage space.

The downloader tools covered later will allow you to select which format you prefer.

What Video Quality Can You Download?

YouTube videos are available in a range of resolutions and file sizes:

Quality Resolution Description
1080p 1920×1080 Full high definition footage ideal for big screens. Large file size.
720p 1280×720 Standard HD format balances quality and size.
480p 854×480 Decent quality for smaller smartphone screens.
360p 640×360 Passable quality usable on mobiles when storage is limited.
240p 426×240 Low quality saved as very small files.
144p 256×144 Minimum usable quality but very tiny file size.

Higher resolution equals better visual quality but bigger files that take longer to download and eat up device storage.

720p or 1080p are recommended for larger devices like desktops, tablets, and newer smartphones. 360p or 240p are sufficient for watching on older or low-end mobiles when you need to conserve space.

Now let‘s move on to actually downloading videos with some easy-to-use tools.

How to Download YouTube Videos on Desktop (PC and Mac)

Thanks to handy downloader websites, getting videos from YouTube on your Windows PC or Mac is simple. Here‘s how:

Step 1: Copy the video URL

Browse YouTube and find the video you want. Click the Share button below the video, then select Copy link. This copies the video URL (the link) to download.

Step 2: Paste URL into downloader site

Go to a free downloader site like or KeepVid. Paste the video URL into the search box.

Step 3: Select format

On the results page, you‘ll see available formats, resolutions, and file sizes. Choose your preferred download format and quality.

Common choices are MP4 at 720p or 1080p resolution. But you can select any format/resolution combo you want.

Step 4: Download the video

Click the download button next to your selected format. A window will pop up allowing you to save the video file to your computer. Choose where you want it saved.

Step 5: Repeat for other videos

To download more videos, just repeat the process by getting the video URL from YouTube and entering it into your downloader site of choice.

And that‘s all there is to it! With just a few clicks you can download unlimited high quality videos for convenient offline viewing.

How to Download YouTube Videos on Mobile (iPhone, Android, etc)

You have two options for downloading YouTube videos on your iPhone, iPad, Android phone, or other mobile device:

Option 1: Use the YouTube App

The official YouTube app lets you save videos for offline viewing:

  1. Open the YouTube app and find the video you want to download. Tap the Share button below it.

  2. In the share menu, select "Save video." Choose the video quality you want.

  3. The video will download and be accessible in Library > Downloads within the YouTube app for playback offline.

Downsides: Downloaded videos expire after 30 days and can only be watched within the YouTube app. Quality limited to 720p HD max.

Option 2: Use a Downloader App

There are various apps you can install to download YouTube videos without restrictions, such as:

  • iOS: Documents by Readdle,, VideoDownloader+

  • Android: SnapTube, TubeMate, Videoder

Here‘s how they generally work:

  1. Copy the YouTube video URL to your mobile device‘s clipboard.

  2. Open the downloader app and paste the video URL into it.

  3. Select video format and quality, like MP4 in 720p or 1080p resolution.

  4. Download the video. It will be saved to your Camera Roll or Downloads folder.

  5. The downloaded video is now yours to keep and watch offline!

Downloader apps give you unlimited access to YouTube videos in HD quality with no expiration.

Expert Tips for Downloading YouTube Videos

Follow these pro tips when downloading YouTube videos to avoid problems:

  • Always use reputable downloader sites and apps to avoid malware. Stick to well-known tools.

  • If a site requests registration or personal details, look for another option. Most don‘t require this.

  • Paste complete video URLs into the downloader to ensure the correct video is captured.

  • For the best viewing experience, opt for 720p or 1080p HD quality when possible.

  • On mobile devices, save storage space by downloading longer videos at lower 360p quality.

  • Downloading copyrighted videos from major studios may sometimes fail. Download unofficial videos instead.

  • If you encounter download issues, try clearing cookies/cache or use a different VPN server location.

  • A download manager tool can really speed up downloading multiple large YouTube videos at once.

That covers the key downloading tips and tricks I‘ve picked up over the years. Now let‘s go over some frequently asked questions.

FAQs About Downloading YouTube Videos

Is downloading YouTube videos stealing?

As long as you only download videos for personal offline use and don‘t redistribute them, it‘s entirely legal under YouTube‘s Terms of Service. There is nothing unethical about it. Many YouTube content creators are totally fine with viewers downloading their videos to watch offline.

Can YouTube detect if I download videos?

YouTube has no way to detect when you download videos using third-party tools. As far as their servers can tell, you are simply watching the video on their website. Downloading leaves no trace so you don‘t have to worry about repercussions.

What‘s the best downloader tool or site?

For desktop, I recommend and KeepVid which offer fast downloads in all formats without any signup hassles.

On mobile, Documents by Readdle (iOS), SnapTube (Android), and VideoDownloader+ (iOS/Android) are all excellent choices. Test a few to see which downloader you like best.

Why does my download get stuck?

If your YouTube video download gets stuck, try the following fixes:

  • Pause and resume the download to restart it.
  • Restart your device. This clears any software glitches.
  • Try downloading at a lower quality setting.
  • Check your internet connection speed and reboot your modem/router if needed.
  • The video may be copyright claimed. Try downloading a different video.

Can I get in trouble for sharing downloaded videos?

It‘s generally fine to share downloaded YouTube videos privately with friends and family through messaging apps, email, file shares, etc.

However, publicly reuploading or distributing downloaded videos can violate copyright. Don‘t share them publicly online without permission.

I hope these tips help you resolve any downloading issues! Let me know if you have any other questions.


Thanks for reading this in-depth guide! Downloading videos from YouTube for personal offline use is easy, legal, and safe when you use reputable downloader tools.

On desktop, go with trusted sites like and KeepVid. On mobile, the YouTube app works as well as third-party apps like Documents, SnapTube, and VideoDownloader+.

Now you can build up an offline collection of favorite YouTube videos to enjoy anywhere, anytime without an internet connection. Never miss a must-see video again!

Let me know if you have any problems downloading videos – I‘m happy to provide tips to troubleshoot any issues you run into. Enjoy watching offline!


Streamr Go

StreamrGo is always about privacy, specifically protecting your privacy online by increasing security and better standard privacy practices.