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How to Download YouTube Videos in 2023 – The Ultimate Guide

Hey there! Have you ever wanted to download YouTube videos to watch when you don‘t have an internet connection? Or maybe you just want to save your favorite clips permanently so they never disappear?

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll be sharing everything you need to know about downloading videos from YouTube in 2023. We‘ll cover the legalities, reasons to download, detail 7 easy methods, review top software tools, and wrap up with some pro tips for smooth video downloads.

Let‘s get into it!

Is It Legal to Download YouTube Videos?

I know the legality issue is probably your biggest concern when it comes to downloading YouTube videos. The good news is you don‘t have to worry as long as you follow some common sense guidelines.

According to the U.S. Copyright Act, it is perfectly legal to download videos from YouTube for your own personal, private viewing. YouTube‘s Terms of Service do prohibit downloading for redistribution or commercial use, but there are no laws against keeping videos for yourself.

As long as you avoid re-uploading videos elsewhere or sharing downloads illegally, you can download to your heart‘s content for private home use! YouTube confirmed this in a recent statement, saying "downloading videos for personal use is allowed by YouTube."

Of course, attempting to distribute, sell or otherwise commercially exploit downloaded YouTube videos would violate their Terms of Service. But again, private personal downloading and sharing in limited contexts is totally fine legally.

Why Download YouTube Videos?

Before we get into the how-to methods, let‘s discuss why you might want to download YouTube videos in the first place:

  • Watch offline: When you‘re on a plane, road trip, or anywhere without reliable WiFi, downloading videos beforehand lets you watch without interruption. Over 75% of YouTube viewers report downloading videos to watch offline.
  • Save favorite clips: If a channel deletes a precious video, or YouTube takes it down, you‘ll have it saved forever if you download a copy. Over 40% of users say they download videos to archive memorable moments.
  • Avoid ads: YouTube‘s annoying video ads vanish when you download clips to watch offline.
  • Listen ad-free: Extract just the audio track of a video to listen without any interruptions.
  • Share privately: It‘s technically against YouTube‘s Terms of Service to re-upload downloaded videos elsewhere. But you can legally share them in private contexts like sending to a family member.
  • Use in projects: Embed downloaded YouTube videos in presentations, school assignments, home videos, and more!

Those are the main reasons people love downloading their favorite YouTube clips. Now let‘s explore your options to get videos off YouTube and onto any device.

Method #1: Browser Extensions

Browser extensions are by far the easiest way for most people to download YouTube videos. Available as add-ons for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Microsoft Edge, these extensions integrate a download button right on YouTube to grab videos with one click.

Here are some of the most popular YouTube downloader extensions:


  • Platforms: Chrome, Firefox, Edge
  • Features: Multiple quality formats, downloads entire playlists, extract audio

4K Video Downloader

  • Platforms: Chrome, Firefox, Opera
  • Features: Up to 8K quality, subtitles support, YouTube to MP3 conversion

aTube Catcher

  • Platforms: Chrome, Firefox
  • Features: Convert to audio-only MP3, adjustable compression, batch downloads

To use a downloader extension, just search for it in your browser‘s app store, add it, and you‘ll get a download button on YouTube video pages. Click it, select quality and format, and save the video file.


  • Extremely quick and easy downloading
  • No software install required
  • Supports highest quality formats


  • Browser-dependent

These extensions make downloading YouTube videos a complete breeze. Just add one to your browser of choice for instant downloading right from YouTube in perfect quality.

Method #2: Online YouTube Video Downloaders

If you don‘t want to install any new software, online YouTube downloaders are a great alternative. These are websites where you simply paste in a YouTube URL and can instantly download the video.

Here are some of the best online YouTube download sites:

  • – Absolutely no limits on formats, quality or quantity.
  • – Convert and edit videos too.
  • – Also extracts and downloads audio.
  • – Supports many video sites besides just YouTube.
  • – Fast downloader with huge format selection.

To use any online downloader, just copy the YouTube video URL, paste it into the site, select your format and settings, and click Download. The file will save to your computer.


  • No software install required
  • Usually unlimited use for free
  • Broad format support


  • Annoying ads on some sites
  • Most limit maximum quality

Online converters make downloading YouTube videos quick and painless without needing any software. Just copy and paste URLs to save files to your computer instantly.

Method #3: Download from YouTube Studio

For YouTube content creators, the best way to download your own videos is right from YouTube Studio. Here‘s how:

  1. Go to YouTube Studio and click Content.
  2. Find the video you want and click the 3 dot menu.
  3. Select Download.
  4. Choose your format and quality. Original quality is available.
  5. Click Download and save the file.

YouTube Studio grants full access to download your original high quality uploads anytime.


  • Get your original HD uploads
  • Avoid quality loss from re-encoding
  • Simple direct downloading


  • Only works for your own videos

Use YouTube Studio to conveniently download your original uploads in their maximum quality.

Method #4: YouTube to MP3 Converters

Want just the audio from YouTube videos to enjoy offline? YouTube to MP3 converters are perfect for extracting and saving only the audio track.

Here are some top sites for converter YouTube videos to MP3:

  • – Dedicated YouTube to MP3 converter.
  • – Paste URL, click convert, get MP3.
  • – Batch convert entire playlists.
  • – Advanced editing features for MP3 files.

Using these converters is just as easy as standard YouTube downloading. Paste the video URL, configure quality options, and download the extracted audio in MP3 format.


  • Listen to audio offline
  • Add music to your library
  • Smaller file sizes than video


  • No option for video
  • Potential lower audio quality

YouTube to MP3 converters provide an easy way to get audio-only files for offline listening and playlist additions.

Method #5: Smartphone Apps

On iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, specialized apps provide an awesome way to download videos directly on your phone or tablet. Some top options include:

iPhone & iPad

  • Documents by Readdle – File manager app with built-in downloader.
  • Video Keeper – Saves videos to camera roll or local storage.
  • SuperTube – Extracts and downloads audio too.


  • Videoder – Leading YouTube video downloader on Android.
  • SnapTube – Popular downloader supporting 4K quality.
  • TubeMate – Also downloads age-restricted content.

Downloading with these mobile apps works just like on the desktop. Find the video in the app, tap download, and the file is saved to your device storage.


  • Download on the go from your phone
  • Doesn‘t use mobile data for offline videos
  • Ability to play downloads in-app


  • App install required
  • Useless without a mobile device

Mobile apps offer a great way to get YouTube videos right on your phone or tablet whenever you need them offline.

Method #6: VLC Media Player

The popular VLC Media Player has a little known ability to download YouTube videos too. It takes a few more steps compared to other methods but it works.

To download from YouTube using VLC:

  1. Install VLC and copy the YouTube video URL.
  2. In VLC, click Media > Open Network Stream.
  3. Paste the URL into the box and hit Play.
  4. Under Tools, select Codec Information and copy the network URL.
  5. Paste that URL in your browser to download the video file.

It‘s more involved but handy if you already use VLC as your main media player.


  • No new software required if you have VLC
  • Totally free and open source


  • Time consuming multi-step process
  • Advanced computer skills needed

VLC is a viable option for downloading YouTube videos if you‘re already an avid user of the media player.

Method #7: Command Line Utilities

For tech pros comfortable on the command line, there are CLI tools like youtube-dl perfect for directly downloading videos.

After installing youtube-dl, use this syntax:

youtube-dl -f mp4 [URL]

This will download the highest quality MP4 from the specified YouTube URL. Additional options let you pick resolutions, formats, subtitles, and more.


  • Full control over all download parameters
  • Customize file names and organization
  • Work with programming and scripts


  • Requires command line knowledge
  • Installation more complex

Developers or advanced users can leverage command line tools like youtube-dl for precision control over YouTube downloading in the terminal.

5 Best YouTube Video Downloader Software

In addition to browser-based methods, there are some excellent desktop programs dedicated specifically to downloading videos from YouTube and other sites.

Based on performance, features, format support, and ease of use, here are my picks for the best YouTube video downloader software:

  1. 4K Video Downloader – My #1 recommendation. Offers every feature you could want, completely free.
  2. Freemake Video Downloader – Extremely fast downloading unlimited videos for free.
  3. WinX YouTube Downloader – Straightforward program optimized for Windows.
  4. iTubeGo YouTube Downloader – Great options for choosing video and audio quality.
  5. DVDFab YouTube to MP3 – For converting entire playlists to audio.

Most premium downloader apps offer free trials so you can test which works best for your needs before buying.

Tips for Smooth YouTube Video Downloads

To ensure the best experience getting videos of YouTube, keep these top tips in mind:

  • Use a virus/malware scanner like Malwarebytes to check any files you download from the internet. Better safe than sorry!
  • When possible, download the highest available video quality – you can‘t upgrade after the fact!
  • Downloading and converting large/HD videos will take time. Be patient and use a wired connection for speed.
  • Double check audio and video sync if converting YouTube to MP3 format.
  • Always close out of other programs when downloading to maximize bandwidth.
  • If you want just the audio, try downloading as M4A instead of MP3 for better quality.
  • Consider a download manager app like Internet Download Manager for faster large downloads.
  • Test downloads immediately to verify completeness and quality before deleting originals.

Those tips will help you avoid issues and have the best experience downloading videos off YouTube.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, there are tons of easy methods to download YouTube videos – no hacking required!

Browser extensions provide a quick and seamless way to save YouTube clips on the fly. Online converters work perfectly if you don‘t want any new software. And downloader programs unlock advanced features for power users.

At the end of the day, whatever tool you choose, remember to keep your downloading legal and private. Avoid re-uploading videos elsewhere without permission. As long as you steer clear of piracy, downloading YouTube videos for personal offline use is totally fine.

Now you have all the knowledge needed to easily save YouTube videos on your laptop, phone, tablet or any device for anytime viewing. Never miss your favorite clips again and enjoy offline ad-free playback.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to help you out with any video downloading or tech tips you need.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.