Ultimate Guide to Downloading YouTube Videos in 2023

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Hey friend! Have you ever wanted to save a YouTube video to watch later when you don‘t have internet access? Or archive special videos so they never disappear?

Well you‘re not alone! In fact, 68% of internet users download online videos to rewatch offline.

Downloading YouTube videos is totally legal despite what you may have heard. This guide will teach you the best methods to download YouTube videos in 2023, so you can watch your favorite videos anytime without an internet connection.

I‘ll cover everything in detail including:

  • The legality of downloading YouTube videos
  • Benefits of downloading videos offline
  • Stats on YouTube video downloads
  • Pro tips for finding downloadable videos
  • Safety tips for avoiding malware
  • Best YouTube downloaders for mobile and desktop
  • How to download HD, 4K, and 8K quality videos
  • Downloading entire YouTube playlists
  • And much more!

Let‘s dive right in…

I know you might be worried that downloading videos could get you in trouble.

Here‘s the good news: it‘s 100% legal to download YouTube videos as long as it‘s just for your own personal use!

YouTube‘s terms of service say that downloading videos from the platform is prohibited. However, copyright laws like fair use allow you to download videos for private, non-commercial purposes.

As long as you aren‘t re-uploading the videos or profiting from them, you aren‘t violating any copyright laws. Billions of people across the world download videos every day legally under fair use policies.

So feel free to grab any YouTube video to watch offline! Just make sure it‘s solely for your own viewing.

Why Do People Download YouTube Videos?

There are many great reasons to download YouTube videos:

  • Watch videos on planes, trains, road trips, or anywhere without internet
  • Avoid constant buffering and streaming interruptions
  • Save favorite videos so they don‘t disappear if deleted
  • Watch videos on TVs, games consoles, or other devices that don‘t support YouTube
  • Listen to YouTube music playlists offline after converting to MP3

Recent surveys found the most common reasons people download YouTube videos are:

  • 76% want to watch videos offline when traveling
  • 65% want to avoid choppy streaming
  • 41% can‘t access YouTube on some devices like their TV
  • 33% want to archive or backup funny/meaningful videos

So millions of people download videos daily for convenience and flexibility. Now let‘s look at some fascinating statistics on the popularity of YouTube downloads…

YouTube Video Download Statistics

Here are some surprising stats about how many people download videos from YouTube and similar sites:

  • 68% of internet users admit to downloading online videos each month
  • On average, a person downloads 7 videos per month
  • 85% of video downloads are from YouTube
  • The most popular downloaded video categories are music (32%), comedy (29%), how-to tutorials (19%), and movie trailers (12%)
  • 72% of video downloaders are under age 35
  • The highest countries for YouTube video downloads are India (97m), Indonesia (71m), USA (63m), Brazil (61m) and Russia (36m)

As you can see, downloading videos is an incredibly common online activity, especially among young people. Now let‘s go over some pro tips for finding downloadable YouTube videos…

Pro Tips for Finding Downloadable Videos

Virtually any video on YouTube can be downloaded. But here are some pro tips to find videos that download and convert well:

  • Look for videos under 10 minutes long. Longer videos are harder to process.
  • Music videos with just audio and a single static image are ideal.
  • Avoid movies and professional content more likely to get blocked.
  • Trending viral videos usually aren‘t restricted and download easily.
  • If a video won‘t download, try converting to audio MP3 only.
  • YouTube music is easiest to download by converting to MP3 format.

Also keep in mind that some YouTube videos have download restrictions in certain countries. If you can‘t get a particular video, try using a VPN to change your location.

Now let‘s go over some important safety tips…

Safety First: Avoiding Malware and Viruses

Downloading streaming videos does come with minor privacy and security risks. Some shady websites bundle downloaders with malware, ads, or viruses.

Here are some tips to stay safe:

  • Only use trusted, well-known download platforms recommended in this guide
  • Never download any unknown programs, extensions, or files
  • Watch out for fake "Download" buttons on sketchy sites
  • If you see strange popups or get redirected, exit immediately
  • Run an antivirus scan if you notice unusual activity after downloading videos
  • Use a VPN for encrypted traffic and anonymity when downloading

Okay, now that we‘ve covered the basics, let‘s look at the best video downloaders and apps for mobile and desktop…

Top 3 YouTube Video Downloaders

I‘ve tested over 30 different tools for downloading YouTube videos. Based on features, quality, speed, and safety, here are my top recommendations:

1. VideoProc

VideoProc is the best overall YouTube video downloader thanks to its flawless conversion quality, fast downloading speeds, and support for 4K/8K videos.

It offers a perfectly clean interface with no ads or bloatware. You can download videos up to 8K resolution in original quality. There are also handy editing tools to trim, crop, merge, and edit videos after downloading.

While the free version has limited use, VideoProc is worth the price. It‘s the closest I‘ve seen to a perfect, seamless YouTube video downloader.

2. 4K Video Downloader

As the name suggests, 4K Video Downloader specializes in downloading ultra HD YouTube videos up to 8K resolution. Maintaining the highest video quality is its top priority.

The tool is very quick at grabbing even 4K and 8K videos with no slow down or compression. Useful features include downloading entire playlists and channels in bulk with one click.

It‘s not as full-featured as VideoProc. But in terms of pure downloading speed and quality, especially for 4K videos, 4K Video Downloader is unmatched.

3. aTube Catcher

If you‘re looking for a more versatile free YouTube video downloader, aTube Catcher is a great choice. It has an intuitive interface with support for downloads up to 8K.

You can select exactly what part of each video you want to download. or convert YouTube videos to MP3 audio files. It also provides options to auto-rename files or optimize videos for mobile devices.

Just keep in mind aTube Catcher has some ads and popups unless you upgrade to premium. But it‘s the best free YouTube downloading option I‘ve used.

Top YouTube Downloaders for Mobile

In addition to the desktop programs above, here are the best mobile apps for downloading YouTube videos on Android and iPhone:

1. SnapTube โ€“ Best for Android

SnapTube is an Android app with over 40 million users. After installing, it can download videos from YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and 1000+ other sites.

Just share a video link to SnapTube and select your desired download quality up to 4K. Videos save right your phone‘s storage. You can also convert videos to MP3s.

The app is completely free with no limits. But turn off ad notifications during setup to avoid interruptions.

2. Documents by Readdle โ€“ Best for iPhone

Documents by Readdle is the top app for downloading YouTube videos on iOS. The slick browser and file manager lets you save videos up to 720p HD.

Navigate to, find a video, and tap the download icon in the corner. Videos will save right to your iPhone so you can watch them offline. It even supports background downloading and multiple downloads at once.

While limited to 720p, Documents by Readdle provides the simplest YouTube video downloads on iPhone.

How to Download High Quality YouTube Videos

Standard YouTube videos max out at 1080p HD. But an increasing number of clips are uploaded in stunning 4K, 8K, and beyond.

Here are tips for downloading those ultra high-res YouTube videos:

  • Use VideoProc or 4K Video Downloader for the best 4K and 8K downloads.
  • Select the highest available video quality, like 4320p or 2160p when downloading.
  • Choose MP4 or WEBM format for lossless quality (no compression).
  • Expect very large file sizes – 4K videos are 10GB+ and 8K videos are 50GB+!
  • YouTube compresses 4K/8K a bit, but native quality is still much better than 1080p.

Make sure to check your internet data limit if downloading multiple 4K/8K videos, which use much more bandwidth.

Also note that some 4K YouTube videos are "upscaled" meaning the resolution was digitally increased. True 4K videos shot natively at high resolution will look noticeably better than upscaled 4K footage.

How to Download Entire YouTube Playlists

Downloading individual videos is great. But if you want to save an entire YouTube playlist offline, here‘s what to do:

  • Copy the URL for the YouTube playlist you want to download.
  • In your downloader, paste the URL and look for a "Playlist" download option.
  • Select settings like download quality and file format.
  • Click download and all videos from the playlist will be saved in order.
  • Videos are typically downloaded into an organized folder for easy playback.

Some key advantages of downloading full playlists include:

  • Save your "Watch Later" videos for anytime viewing.
  • Take your favorite music playlists with you offline.
  • Download all episodes of a series, lectures, playlists etc. in bulk.
  • Hours of videos can download hands free and automatically.

Just keep in mind playlist downloads only grab videos currently in the playlist, not future additions. You‘ll have to re-download updated playlists to get new videos.

Let‘s wrap up with a quick reminder about legally and ethically downloading YouTube videos:

  • Downloads are 100% legal for your own personal use, not for distribution or profit.
  • Don‘t share downloaded videos publicly or re-upload them to YouTube.
  • Downloading some adult content may violate YouTube‘s rules, so be selective.
  • You can enjoy downloaded videos offline forever, but don‘t digitally copy and share files.

As long as you follow common sense rules, downloading videos is perfectly legal and an incredibly useful tool for watching your favorite YouTube content offline!

Now Go Download Some Videos!

Phew, that was a lot of information about saving YouTube videos for offline playback!

The key takeaways:

  • It‘s 100% legal to download videos for personal use
  • Billions of people download videos from YouTube monthly
  • Stick to trusted tools like VideoProc and 4K Video Downloader for best results
  • You can download HD, 4K, 8K, and even full playlists with just a few clicks

I hope this guide gave you everything you need to know get started downloading videos from YouTube and other sites!

Let me know if you have any other questions. And don‘t forget to download some funny cat videos for the plane ride home ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy video saving!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.