How to Download YouTube Videos on iPhone, Android, Mac and PC

Watching YouTube videos is a popular internet activity, whether it’s for entertainment, education or sharing information. However, you may want to download YouTube videos instead of streaming them – especially if you want to watch videos offline, save mobile data, or archive your favorite clips.

Fortunately, there are various methods available to download YouTube videos on mobile devices and desktop platforms. This guide will provide an overview of the top techniques, best practices, software and tools for downloading YouTube videos on iPhone, Android, Mac and Windows PCs.

Why Download YouTube Videos?

Here are some of the main reasons you may want to download YouTube videos:

  • Save Videos for Offline Viewing – Downloading allows you to watch videos later without an internet connection. This is great for plane trips, subway commutes or other times you lack connectivity.
  • Reduce Mobile Data Usage – Streaming YouTube videos consumes data quickly. Downloading over WiFi preserves your monthly data allowance.
  • Create Offline Playlists – Build custom playlists from your favorite YouTube channels without buffering or bandwidth limits.
  • Archive Favorite Videos – Downloading creates a permanent local copy just in case the video is ever removed from YouTube.
  • Enhanced Playback – Download high definition and ultra HD quality versions of videos for superior playback instead of lower streaming resolutions.

Top Methods to Download YouTube Videos

There are several options available to save YouTube videos on various devices:

  • Browser Extensions – Easy plug-in tools like Video DownloadHelper and YouTube Video Downloader integrate downloading right into your browser.
  • Standalone Downloader Apps – Dedicated apps such as 4K YouTube Video Downloader streamline finding, downloading and converting videos.
  • Online Converter Sites – Services like allow downloading videos by simply entering video URLs.
  • Command Line Tools – Advanced users can use utilities like youtube-dl via terminal commands to script video downloads.

Next we will explore how to leverage these techniques on iPhone, Android devices, Macs and Windows PCs.

Downloading YouTube Videos on iPhone and iPad

The native iOS app doesn’t directly let you download YouTube videos. However, here are workarounds to save YouTube videos on your iPhone or iPad:


Use Safari Browser Extensions

  • Browser extensions like Documents by Readdle and Video DownloadHelper for Safari enable fast video downloading straight from YouTube in Safari. Tap the extension icon, then tap the download button on videos.

Online YouTube Converters

  • Services such as optimize the downloading process for iOS mobile devices. Copy and paste the YouTube video URL into the site, set conversion details, then download the resulting files directly to your Photos app.

Apple Shortcuts Automation

  • Power users can try automating video downloads via the Shortcuts app, using the “Get Contents of URL” and file saving features. This does involve some complex workflow creation.

Note there are some limitations downloading YouTube videos directly on iOS devices instead of using a desktop. Expect lower maximum resolutions capped at 1080p HD quality. Also Shortcuts workflows break easily if YouTube makes site changes.

Downloading YouTube Videos on Android

Android offers alternative methods to directly save YouTube videos offline:

YouTube Premium

  • The paid YouTube Premium subscription unlocks the ability to download videos for offline playback from the YouTube app under Settings > Offline. This works seamlessly but requires a monthly subscription after any trial period.

Third-Party Apps

  • Apps like NewPipe from F-Droid offer free YouTube downloading features plus background audio. However, these aren’t available on the Google Play store and involve sideloading.

Online Converter Sites

  • As with the iPhone, online YouTube converter sites work universally across devices by simply copying and pasting video URLs to generate downloadable files.

Command Line Tools

  • Advanced Android users can use Termux to install command line tools like youtube-dl to script video downloads via terminal emulation. But this method is technical.

Android generally makes directly downloading YouTube videos easier thanks to alternative apps and automation capabilities. Quality can reach up to 4K resolution in testing.

Downloading YouTube Videos on Mac

There are straightforward methods to download YouTube videos on Mac computers:

Browser Extensions

  • Browser add-ons like YouTube Video Downloader integrate tightly with Mac browsers like Safari to enable fast 1-click video saving. Just click the toolbar icon in your browser after playing a video.

Standalone Apps

  • Dedicated Mac apps such as 4K YouTube to MP3 excel at downloading entire YouTube playlists and channels for offline enjoyment. Set options then export MP3 audio or sideload videos.

Online Converters

  • As on mobile devices, online YouTube conversion sites provide a device-agnostic way to download YouTube videos with just an internet connection.

Command Line Tools

  • Employ command line programs like Youtube-DLG GUI and Homebrew to automate downloading many videos via scripting Terminal app commands. But this method is advanced.

Overall Macs allow quick and versatile YouTube video downloads thanks to Browser extensions. Resolutions can typically reach 4K quality levels on MacBook Pro models.

Downloading YouTube Videos on Windows PC

Windows computers offer several efficient methods to download YouTube video clips:

Browser Extensions

  • Browser plug-ins like Video DownloadHelper integrate with popular Windows browsers to let you download streaming videos from most sites including YouTube with the click of a button. Just click the icon then the download button on videos.

Desktop Apps

  • Apps such as WinX YouTube Downloader offer advanced options like downloading entire YouTube playlists and converting to alternate formats like MP3 audio. Some apps install adware – be careful during set up.

Online Converters

  • As on all platforms, web-based YouTube conversion services provide a quick no-fuss way to download videos by pasting the YouTube video URL. Files save directly to your PC.

Command Line Tools

  • Those proficient with command line operations can use utilities like Youtube-DL via Windows Terminal to automate batch downloading videos hands-free. But this method is technical.

Note that some PC configurations – especially tablets and 2-in-1 devices – may limit YouTube video downloads and quality levels. Expect 1080p resolutions at best.

Avoiding YouTube Video Download Problems

When downloading YouTube videos, you may encounter issues like:

  • Download failures for some videos
  • “Video Unavailable” errors
  • Maximum resolution capped at 720p or 1080p
  • Inability to extract audio into MP3
  • Converted files corrupted or won’t play

Here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • Some videos have download restrictions or advanced encryption – especially new movies and music videos from major labels.
  • Switch between different downloader apps and online converters to isolate issues.
  • Update downloader apps and browser extensions to the latest version to mitigate compatibility problems.
  • If converting to alternate formats like MP3, check file headers using media info tools like VLC Player to spot codec issues.
  • If video quality is stuck at 720p try using the 4K YouTube site at which can boost resolution by proxy.
  • Screen recording software can also capture streaming video as a workaround to restrictions.


In closing, with the range of browser extensions, apps, online converters and command line tools – downloading YouTube videos is achievable on iOS, Android, Mac and Windows devices. Each platform has its own unique methods. But thanks to third-party tools and web services, options exist to overcome walled-garden restrictions in acquiring YouTube videos for offline enjoyment and permanent archival.

What methods have you found most effective for downloading YouTube videos on your devices? Do you have any video downloader recommendations to share? Let us know in the comments!


Kevin is a seasoned tech enthusiast with a passion for diving deep into the intricacies of the tech world. With a background in computer science, he guides readers through the latest trends, software developments, and everything tech-related.

You might also like

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More