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How to Download & Keep a YouTube Video

by Michelle CarvoUpdated September 26, 2017

Downloading and saving YouTube videos ensures your favorite clips are available no matter where you are. YouTube offers some options for downloading and keeping a YouTube video on your device.

Third-Party Programs

While a variety of third-party software companies offer programs to download YouTube videos, strictly speaking, it’s against YouTube’s terms of service to download content from the site unless you see a link on the video indicating it is available for download. YouTube does offer options to download your own videos, however, and YouTube Red allows you to download content from others.

Download Individual Videos Uploaded to Your Channel

If you’ve uploaded a video to your personal YouTube channel and no longer have a copy of it saved, YouTube allows you to download it up to five times in a 24-hour period, provided your video meets certain requirements. First of all, your video needs to be currently active on YouTube and free of any copyrighted material that you don’t have permission to use. If your video gets taken down and no longer appears active on your channel, you won’t be able to download a copy.

Navigate to the YouTube site from a laptop or desktop computer and sign in with your Google username and password after clicking the “Sign In” box at the top right. Click on your Google icon or profile picture in the top right corner and choose the “Creator Studio” button that appears in the pop-out menu. From your Creator Studio page, click on “Video Manager” from the menu on the left and make sure “Videos” (not “Playlists”) is highlighted at the left. Finally, select “Download MP4” from the drop-down menu next to the uploaded video you want to save.

Download All of Your Uploaded Videos

If you have a lot of YouTube videos and want to download them all at once, Google Takeout allows you to do just that.

Navigate to takeout.google.com/settings/takeout while signed into your account. Make sure there’s a green check next to “YouTube” and deselect any Google data you don’t want provided in your download. Click “Next” and choose what kind of file you want your data to be contained in and your maximum archive size. Lastly, choose how you want your data delivered as the final step and click “Create archive.”

Google Takeout has options for downloading your content to your Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox account. If you don’t want your videos saved to an online cloud storage service, you can opt to email yourself a download link that will remain active for a week instead.

Download Videos Using YouTube Red

If you want to download videos from other YouTube creators, you’ll need YouTube Red. YouTube Red is a monthly subscription service linked to your Google account that allows you to download videos for offline viewing on any mobile device through the YouTube, YouTube Kids, YouTube Gaming or YouTube Music app. Sign up for YouTube Red by navigating to youtube.com/red from any computer or mobile browser, sign in with your Google account and tap on the “Try It Free” button.

Once you have an active subscription, simply start playing the video you want to save in any official YouTube app on your phone or tablet and tap the download icon, which looks like a downward-pointing arrow, under the video player. Next, choose the video quality for your download. Keep in mind that choosing a higher quality means the video will take longer to download and the file will take up more space on your device.

You'll see a blue checkmark next to the video player once the download is complete. You can find your downloaded videos in the Library or Account tab in your preferred YouTube app.

Remember that you’ll have to be signed into your YouTube account with an active YouTube Red subscription to play offline videos. Your saved videos will remain available for up to 30 days. After that, you’ll need an internet connection so the service can verify your subscription is still active before you’ll be able to continue viewing downloaded videos.

Warning

  • You can find downloadable software that claims to let you download any YouTube video online. However, this software breaks YouTube's terms of service and should not be used to download videos from the website.

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