download video youtube pc

There are billions of hours of đoạn Clip on YouTube, literally. And that's hardly the most astounding statistic about the site, which has been the go-to destination for uploading and watching videos online since 2005. That said, sometimes you really want or need lớn have one of those videos on your own computer or phone. But when the topic of downloading YouTube videos comes up, there's a side subject that must be broached: Is it legal?

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On the copyright front, as long as you're downloading a video for your own personal offline use, you're probably okay. It's more Black and white when you consider Google's terms of service for YouTube, which read: "You are not allowed lớn...access, reproduce, tải về, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, alter, modify or otherwise use any part of the Service or any Content except: (a) as expressly authorized by the Service; or (b) with prior written permission from YouTube and, if applicable, the respective rights holders."

PCMag Logo How lớn Download YouTube Videos

Watching YouTube videos offline through unofficial channels takes money from Google and đoạn Clip creators. There's a reason YouTube runs ads: People make a living this way.

Obviously, stealing videos from YouTube is a big no-no. If you want to share a đoạn Clip, YouTube and most other đoạn Clip sites make it easy, from embedding lớn emailing lớn sharing via social networks. You simply vì thế not need lớn tải về a đoạn Clip most of the time.

But you have your reasons. If you must download a YouTube video—absolutely need lớn, just for yourself, and not for dissemination, and not lớn be a jerk—here's how.

Note: This story is updated frequently, as the tools involved change regularly. Some of those changes are not always pleasant, such as software sánh full of "extras," it gets flagged as malware by antivirus tools. The same goes for the helper websites—a change in a site's ad network can also create issues with malware.

To prevent this from becoming a laundry list of programs and sites that can tải về YouTube videos, we came up with a few rules for inclusion. Services must:

  • Work with the top three đoạn Clip sites: YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo.

  • Download entire playlists or channels in a batch (on YouTube), at least with a paid version.

  • Output lớn MP3 for audio (or offer companion software that does so).

  • Have an interface that doesn't suck.

  • Not collect your personal data beyond your gmail address.

  • Not contain malware. If there's even a whiff of it, even a PUP, it's out.

The programs, services, and sites in this story are all không tính phí of spam and virus problems as of this writing, but caveat emptor—let the buyer beware. (Especially if you're not really buying.)

YouTube Premium Downloads

Now available for subscribers of YouTube Premium—the paid version of YouTube that allows you lớn watch without ads—are đoạn Clip downloads—kind of. There's one limitation with quality: All the đoạn Clip you tải về is limited lớn 1080p quality max or lower. No 4K.

YouTube Premium Downloads

(Credit: PCMag/YouTube)

The biggest issue is, this feature doesn't really tải về a đoạn Clip lớn save on your computer forever. It is more akin lớn the tải về feature found on mobile apps for Netflix and Hulu, which makes a streaming đoạn Clip available lớn watch later using your local storage using the app's interface only. This is not a method that allows you lớn, say, watch a đoạn Clip using different software such as the VLC Media Player or Plex.

You access the tải về by going lớn the YouTube hamburger thực đơn and selecting Downloads lớn view the list of what you've grabbed. The page says "Downloads remain available as long as your device has an active mạng internet connection at least once every 30 days." This probably isn't exactly what you are looking for in a download; read on for tools that are a better fit.

YouTube Premium

Desktop Software

Third-party software is what will give you the best control over downloading online videos. Typically, you paste the URL for the YouTube đoạn Clip you want into the program, and it downloads the highest-quality version it can find. For videos in 1080p high definition (HD) format, that's usually an MP4 tệp tin. For anything higher in quality—4K or 8K—the tệp tin format is typically MKV.

In the past, YouTube videos were Flash-based, sánh your tải về was an FLV tệp tin, but those tend lớn be harder lớn play back. MP4 (short for MPEG-4 Part 14 multimedia format) files can play anywhere

Note that the MKV tệp tin, also called a Matroska, is a container—the tệp tin could contain đoạn Clip utilizing any number of codecs inside. The foolproof way lớn play them all is lớn use the VLC Media Player for Windows, which plays everything. (Read more about it below.) As for the downloaders, here are the best options.

VLC Media Player was once our favorite không tính phí way lớn handle YouTube videos in this section, but all recent attempts with the VLC method have failed, sánh we pulled it in favor of the usual YouTube downloaders. We also pulled 5KPlayer, as attempts lớn re-download it caused antivirus errors, plus it is now under the Digiarty Software umbrella along with another program below, VideoProc.

4K Video Downloader+

Free, or $15 for one year of use; $25 for a lifetime license; Windows, macOS, Ubuntu Linux, Android

4K Video Downloader

(Credit: 4K Video Downloader)

Multi-lingual 4K Video Downloader+ (4KVD) is frequently updated and features clear tải về links on the program's website; no ad traps here. The software does what it advertises in a simple interface: It grabs videos up lớn 8K in quality and downloads lớn plenty of formats. Simply copy a YouTube URL and click the Paste Link button lớn get started. 4KVD will even collect subtitles, entire playlists, and all the videos in a channel lớn which you subscribe. The sites supported are limited lớn the big names, including YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and a few others, but that should cover most of what you need. It does display a large banner advertisement lớn keep the lights on with the không tính phí version, which is also limited lớn 30 downloads a day.

When I tried it, I had lớn make a switch from MP4 lớn MKV format lớn get my test đoạn Clip lớn tải về in 4K. 4KVD snagged a 3-minute, 229.7MB tệp tin for a movie trailer in about 1 minute and trăng tròn seconds. I made the same switch when downloading an Ultra High Definition (8K) playlist.

When you enable the Smart Mode and its presets, 4KVD can perform one-click downloads lớn your favorite format. If you want lớn tải về more than vãn 30 videos per day or subscribe lớn YouTube channels lớn instantly tải về the latest, you'll need the paid version. Playback of the resulting MKV files via VLC Media Player is flawless.

The program has the option lớn extract audio lớn MP3 format, sánh you don't even need the 4K YouTube lớn MP3 companion software. But if that's your thing, it's $10 per year or $15 for a lifetime.

4K Video Downloader

4K YouTube lớn MP3

VideoProc Converter

Free with limited use or $25.95 for 1 year/3 PCs; $45.95 lifetime for 1 PC; $57.95 family on 3-5 PCs; Windows, macOS

VideoProc from Digiarty

(Credit: VideoProc)

The powerful VideoProc from Digiarty comes in an editor edition and this converter, which also provides editing and effects and, of course, handles a lot of downloading, supporting 4K from over 1,000 websites, including TikTok. With hardware acceleration, it promises some tốc độ. Thankfully, Digiarty frequently offers price discounts: In fact, the price has dropped a lot on the one-year license; it's currently just $25.95.

To use it, let the software detect your hardware lớn see what will help with acceleration (if anything). Click the Downloader button, click Add video lớn place as many URLs as you want lớn batch, and then click on Download Now. Or grab a whole YouTube playlist or live stream.

VideoProc grabbed our 697MB test 4K đoạn Clip lớn WEBM format in about 2 minutes and 15 seconds, which isn't bad. The trial version of VideoProc Converter, which limits conversions lớn 5 minutes, doesn't appear lớn limit downloads.

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VideoProc Converter


Free (donation-ware); Windows

Credit: FlixGrab

(Credit: FlixGrab)

FlixGrab offers several different programs, many with overlapping features. For example, FlixGrabMS is available in the Microsoft Store for Windows 10 and 11 machines, but it wouldn't let bủ grab đoạn Clip from YouTube. The straight tải về of the FlixGrab program from did work with YouTube and several other sites. It also offers a Free YouTube Downloader that is specific lớn YouTube yet has the same easy-to-use interface.

The subscription prices for an upgrade have disappeared. The site now has a donation page where it says "for now, our applications are totally không tính phí." If you can donate a little via PayPal or credit thẻ, the developers will be thankful.

Free YouTube Download

Helper Websites (Heed Any 🚩s)

Do you want lớn avoid installing software? Video-download helper sites are meant lớn vì thế the tải về work for you. All of them vì thế one basic thing: You give them a YouTube URL (or another đoạn Clip site, if supported), and they parse it, give you a choice of what size tải về you want, and provide a liên kết lớn said tải về. The sites work on any platform, sometimes even on mobile devices. You don't have lớn install anything on your PC. It can take a lot longer lớn get a tải về, depending on the size and quality of the đoạn Clip you want, but you can't beat the convenience.

The problem is that you can't always trust them. Hundreds of these types of sites exist—it seems anyone with a modicum of coding ability has mix one up. Such sites can easily go from useful lớn suspicious, especially when they get popular, and the proprietor sells out lớn make cash off your visits.

Since this story was first published, all the helper sites we recommended have been removed for reasons such as adding sexually explicit ads, no longer working, and switching lớn pushing a tải về utility only. One went out of business voluntarily in 2020 lớn avoid getting sued.

For these reasons, we're not recommending any helper sites at the moment. If you decide lớn try one, and your browser, antivirus, or instincts throws up red-flag warnings, avoid it and move on.

Recommended by Our Editors

Browser Extensions

A browser extension can save you a step. But you're going lớn lập cập into some issues with downloading videos from YouTube, especially if you're using Chrome as your primary browser.

The Chrome Web Store—where you get Chrome browser extensions—is controlled by YouTube's owner, Alphabet/Google. Even an extension created ostensibly for this purpose isn't going lớn allow YouTube direct downloads because of Chrome Store restrictions. In general, with Chrome extensions, the tải về of any RTMP protocol đoạn Clip (protected video) or streaming đoạn Clip isn't possible. You can use them on other sites with đoạn Clip, of course—just not YouTube.

Want lớn get around this? Get an extension that does not come from the Google Web Store. Some of the programs and helper sites offer an extension component and will spell out how lớn vì thế the install without the assistance the Chrome Web Store usually provides. Here are a couple.

YouTube Video Downloader

Free; Brave, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, Safari, Vivaldi

YouTube Video Downloader

(Credit: Addoncrop)

YouTube Video Downloader from Addoncrop is available for multiple browsers but with excellent side-load capabilities via user scripts or third-party extensions such as Foxified (which allows Chrome/Edge user access lớn Firefox extensions). It puts a button below whichever đoạn Clip you're playing on YouTube, even an embedded YouTube đoạn Clip, making the đoạn Clip easy lớn grab. Up lớn 8K đoạn Clip is supported. You can also convert audio from the đoạn Clip lớn an MP3, and it will even help you take đoạn Clip screenshots.

YouTube Video Downloader

Video DownloadHelper

Free; Firefox, Chrome, Edge

Video DownloadHelper supports a huge number of sites—even those for adults. You'll know a đoạn Clip is downloadable when the icon for the extension animates when you're on the trang web page. Video DownloadHelper for Chrome has stopped working with YouTube; that way, it got placement in the Chrome Web Store. Get around that by using the Video DownloadHelper extension on Firefox or Edge instead.

Video DownloadHelper

Mobile Video Downloader Apps

Downloading from YouTube using an Android tiện ích from the Google Play Store is a challenge, given that Google has a grip on the site it owns (even if it seldom seems lớn kiểm tra for malware); it offers the paid YouTube Premium service mentioned above lớn facilitate offline viewing.

InsTube Downloader Software

(Credit: PCMag)

That said, with Android, it's possible lớn install apps without going through Google. For example, InsTube – Free Video and Music Downloader for Android can be found only at InsTube's trang web. Download the APK (Android application package) tệp tin lớn sideload on an Android device. Find it in your device's downloads and click lớn install. (You may have lớn go into your security settings and enable "Unknown sources.") 


You'd think there would be no such restriction on iPhones and iPads, since Apple and Google aren't the best of pals (or maybe they are). But with the iOS apps I've tried, not only would they not tải về from YouTube, but they're also typically not available for long. One of those apps said in its mô tả tìm kiếm, "Downloading from YouTube is prohibited due lớn its Terms of Service." Apple is ensuring that tiện ích makers play by the rules—even Google's rules.

Chances are, the minute you find an iOS tiện ích that can tải về YouTube videos, it will be "fixed" or banned. The only real option is lớn jailbreak your iPhone and use sideloaded apps that tải về what you want.

There are workarounds. One is lớn subscribe lớn YouTube Premium, which lets you tải về videos on your iPhone or iPad lớn watch later, much as Netflix and Hulu vì thế. But it doesn't allow you the freedom lớn edit a clip.

Another is using a không tính phí iOS tệp tin manager tiện ích, such as Documents by Readdle. Use the Safari browser lớn visit a YouTube đoạn Clip, and use the Share option lớn find Copy Link. Then go back lớn Documents, and use the built-in browser in the tiện ích lớn surf lớn a đoạn Clip tải về helper site (you know, the kind we don't recommend).

Paste the liên kết into the size (hold your finger down on it until you get the "Paste" thực đơn lớn pop up). The site will give you the links lớn tải về, and you can save the tệp tin lớn Documents. Hold and drag the tệp tin up until you're back on the main screen, then drag it lớn the Photos thư mục. You'll need lớn give Documents permission lớn access Photos the first time. You can then access the đoạn Clip as you would any đoạn Clip taken on the phone or tablet, in the Photos tiện ích.

Documents by Readdle

Another workaround: Go back lớn the desktop, and try AnyTrans ($39.99 for a single computer for one year, Windows or macOS; $59.99 for a lifetime plan). It's a desktop tệp tin manager for iOS devices that has an integrated downloader supporting 900 sites, including YouTube and Facebook. It'll transfer the videos lớn the iPhone for you over the USB cable. Even if you don't pay for AnyTrans, the tải về option remains and is không tính phí forever.


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