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How to download YouTube videos - save to your PC, laptop, iPhone, iPad or Android device

How to download YouTube videos

Here’s how to download those YouTube videos that you want to watch when you don’t have an internet connection. Save videos to your PC, laptop, Android or iPhone / iPad. Updated 17th March 2014

Save YouTube videos for watching offline

Back in September 2013, YouTube announced it would be adding offline viewing to its mobile apps. allowing you to watch YouTube videos on your daily commute, or anywhere you don't have an internet connection. However, that's still not a reality - we're all waiting for the official app to follow in iPlayer's footsteps.

The good news is that it's easy to download YouTube videos to watch later, and here we'll show you how to save them to your PC, smartphone or tablet, reglardless of whether you have an iOS, Android, Windows Phone or Blackberry device. Also see how to convert YouTube audio to MP3 .

For the ethics and legality of doing this, see: Is it legal to download YouTube videos?

How to download YouTube videos using your PC's web browser

There are many ways to download YouTube videos, either using a browser plug-in or simply by pasting the URL of the video into another website. Here we’ll use KeepVid, but Freemake Video Converter and Freemake Video Downloader are also good alternative options if you want a piece of software which can also convert the downloaded videos into other formats (see below for yet another option: ChrisPC Free VideoTube Downloader).

1. Head to and find a video you want to download. Copy the URL from your browsers address bar. Clicking in the address bar is usually enough to highlight it, but clicking three times should also do the job. Press Ctrl-C to copy the highlighted address.

2. Head to and click in the box to the left of the Download button. Press Ctrl-V to paste your copied URL and click Download. You’ll see the available versions of the video appear below.

3. From the list, choose the format you want. We recommend MP4 for the best compatibility, and go for the highest quality – in this case it’s 720p. Simply click the link to start the download – ignore the flashing adverts around the page which are not download links at all.

4. Look in your ‘downloads’ folder, or click the downloaded video in your browser’s status bar (we’re using Chrome here) to watch the video. You can also copy the file to another computer or transfer it to another device (here's how to convert videos for free using Freemake and Any Video Converter .)

How to download MP3 music from YouTube

Sometimes you might want to download only the audio from a video on YouTube. The process is almost identical to the one described above, but instead of using, browse to and paste the URL of the video into the obvious box.

If the conversion doesn't happen automatically, click the blue Go button, and you will see the progress. Finally, click the download link when it appears. Then, you can treat the file like any MP3, transferring and synching it to an MP3 player, smartphone or tablet.

For Android devices, simply copy the MP4 files(s) to the appropriate folder, typically Movies, using Windows Explorer. You can then play it back using the Gallery app or another video player.

If you have an iPhone or iPad, import the file into iTunes and then sync it to your iOS device. Alternatively, you can drag and drop the file(s) to your iPhone or iPad via the Apps tab when you click on your devie in iTunes. All you need is an app, such as Good Reader or another video playback app which can transfer files using this method.

Of course, you can download YouTube videos directly to your smartphone or tablet without using your PC, laptop or Mac at all.

How to download YouTube videos directly to your smartphone or tablet - iPhone, iPad and Android

There are many free apps available on Google Play and in Apple's App Store, but we've found that TubeMate is a great choice for Android, while Tube Downloader - Free Video Download (by RoyalDevs) works well on an iPad or iPhone.

All apps work in the same way. They include a web browser, which usually has YouTube, or the mobile version of YouTube, set as the homepage - or a bookmark. You use the browser to find a video you like, just as you would on your PC. When the video starts playing, a message will pop up asking if you want to download (or save) the video. Tap this and the video will be downloaded.

There may be options to name the file, or choose which quality to download, but when downloaded, your videos should be accessible via a separate tab within the app, labeled Files or Videos. You can watch these whenever you like, without an internet connection.

This type of app regularly appears and disappears from Google Play and Apple's App Store, so if you can't find the apps we've mentioned, try similar ones. Don't pay for video downloading apps as they could stop working with no notice and you won't get a refund.

Category: Personal Finance

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