YouTube has billions of videos. While you can stream all of them, you might want some on your own computer for future and offline use, or for a personal project.
While YouTube Premium has its own pseudo-downloading feature — it lets you download videos onto your smartphone to watch offline — the regular YouTube website doesn't have any feature like this.
Instead, if you want to download a YouTube video onto your computer, you'll need to use a third-party service, and there are dozens of programs that will let you do this.
Here are the two options we recommend, including a program you might already have downloaded and a free app.
VLC Media Player is a free app that lets you watch videos or play music from your Mac or PC. There's a chance you might already have it installed on your computer.
And although it'll take a few minutes, you can use it to download any YouTube video.
1. Find the video you want to download off YouTube and copy its URL.
2. Open VLC. If you're on a PC, click "Media" at the top of the screen, and then "Open Network Stream." If you're on a Mac, click "File" at the top, and then "Open Network."
3. In the menu that appears, paste the URL of the YouTube video you want, and then click "Play" or "Open" at the bottom.
4. After a moment, the YouTube video you want will begin playing. A longer YouTube video will take longer to open.
5. If you're on a PC, click "Tools" at the top of the screen, and then "Media Information." If you're on a Mac, click "Window," and then "Media Information."
6. In the "Media Information" menu, there will be a "Location" bar at the bottom. Double-click the URL in this bar to select it, and then copy it.
7. Go back to your web browser and paste that link into your URL bar at the top of the screen, then go to it.
8. You'll be brought to a page with just the video playing. Click on the three stacked dots on the right side, and then click "Download."
The video will download onto your computer as an .MP4 file. You can name it or move it wherever you like.
WinX and MacX are a whole suite of programs, each of which is made for downloading videos from different sources. The WinX and MacX YouTube Downloaders are, as the names suggest, meant for YouTube videos.
1. Go to the WinX website and download the application. If you're on a Mac, go to the MacX download page instead.
2. Once the program is installed, open it and click "Add Url" in the top-left corner.
3. Paste in the YouTube link that you want to download, and then click "Analyze" on the right. Note that you need to include the entire URL — including the "https" that's likely at the start.
4. The app will check the video to see how high quality it is. Once done, you'll be offered a variety of file types to download it in.
5. Select the version of the video that you want, and then click "Download Selected Videos" or "Done" in the bottom-right.
6. On the next page, click "Download now."
Your videos will download in the format you asked for, and be saved to your computer's "Videos" or "Movies" folder.
If you have the paid "Pro" version of WinX or MacX, once the video's been downloaded, you can also click the "Convert to MP3" option to get just the audio.
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