How to download YouTube videos for free

How to download YouTube videos for free

Wanting to download videos from YouTube has been in everyone’s mind since the start of the platform. You’d be surprised to know it is relatively easy to do so and there are several tools to do it. Probably more than necessary. Youtube itself provides some tools for downloading their content. However, we show you here how to download YouTube videos for free regardless of whether you are using a PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet.

You have to be mindful of the legal side of things with YouTube stating that any download from a third party app/ software is against their terms and conditions of service. It creates potential copyright infringement issues unless you have permission from the copyright holder.

The reasons for wanting to download videos from YouTube can be for playing back content while travelling where limited/ no connection to wifi/4G is possible. You might want to keep the video for studies, education, etc. In this article, we give you 3 alternative options to YouTube’s download tools which work in both PC and Mac as well as a method to download into your smartphone.

The simplest option, y2mate

If you are not a big fan of installing any new software into your computer, the simplest way is to head to and simply paste the youtube link into their search box. You will immediately be offered download options, video, mp3 and audio in different quality. It is as simple as that.

The only downside we found with this platform is that the maximum resolution you will be download at is 1080P HD. This is full HD and to most people that will be more than enough. It is basically the same resolution you get from full HD Blu-ray DVD or TV and the picture is as sharp as you can expect from 1080P HD. What you choose is enterally up to you, your bandwidth and waiting time. The higher the resolution the longer the time, especially if your download bandwidth struggles a little.

If you want to be able to download 4K videos you will need to consider the next option, free software called 4K Video Downloader is your next best option.

Get 4K Video Downloader

Downloading YouTube videos to a Windows or Mac PC is as simple as going to, download and install the free software.

Once installed you will be able to download videos, whole playlists, as well as 360-degree and 3D videos. Once you launch the program you will find it very easy to operate. It is a single screen/ page layout. Copy the link from YouTube, paste it and you will be presented with the download options. If you choose downloading the video in mp4 format the maximum resolution you will be able to download is 1080P.

However, choosing the mkv format will give you the options of downloading 2k and 4K. In order to open and play these files, you will need to download and install another free software called VLC player Once you install this player you will not only be able to playback the 2K or 4K video, but you can also convert it to mp4.

Simply choose where you want the file downloaded to by clicking in the browse tab at the bottom of the screen and off you go. It really is as simple as that. Just bear in mind that the higher the resolution the longer the download and 4K is exponentially larger than 1080P HD.

If instead you just want the audio, select download audio from the dropdown menu instead of download video and you will be presented with various format options, MP3, M4A and OGG. There is really not much more to it. The program does what is supposed to do.

Smart Mode

If you often download videos in the same format, you should check out Smart Mode. It will save your download preferences and load them automatically. Click the lightbulb icon at the top right and next time you paste a URL into 4K Video Downloader, it will be downloaded instantly with the last settings you used.

The browser extension route

For Chrome: If you are the type that wants to have everything at your fingertips, you might as well consider a browser extension. Head over to Addoncorp and download the youtube video downloader extension. It is important that you watch the “how to install” video they provide because, without it, you will struggle to make this work. It is a very quick and simple process but you need to follow it to the letter 

Once instaled, you get an additional tab on youtube and you just click on it and it will download the video to your downloads folder. It is that simple.

For Firefox: Go to Savetubedownload and install the extension. Follow the instructions and video tutorial you get from the landing page and you will have all the download options also from within youtube. The download page has all the details but it is a really nice extension and works without fail.


How to download YouTube videos to an iPhone

The easiest and simplest way is to sign up to youtube premium and you will be able to download videos but that comes at a cost. If you want to get them for free then we recommend you download an app called Documents by Raeddle.

The Documents app is designed to give you an overlook of your entire phone’s storage, under a single screen and organised in folders. It is a very convenient way to get a snapshot of your phone and where your data is and most importantly, how much storage it takes. The beauty of it is that you can get a “workaround” and download files and store them locally so you can view them once you are offline or away from an internet or wifi connection.

Once installed, you are presented with the default screen layout. Go to youtube and copy the link of the video you would like to download. Simply hit the “share” button and click on copy link from the pop-up menu. The link is now copied to your phone’s memory.

Back in the Documents app, click on the compass icon at the bottom right of the screen (see red arrow in image on the left) and in it will take you to a web browser type screen. At the top, type the following web address.

Once in paste the youtube link and you will be presented with a screen that will ask you to set the download quality. It is limited to a max resolution of 720P but for a smartphone that is more than enough for the images to be sharp and crisp. Click on the “done” button and the download will start. See image below for the first 3 steps in this process.

You will see at the bottom right the download progress and once this is done, browse back to the home screen (click on the blue folder icon at the bottom left of the screen) and go into the downloads folder. Your video or videos will be waiting there for you to be played. It really is as simple as that. See image below for the following 3 steps in this process until you get to play the downloaded video.



Just don’t forget to delete once in a while or otherwise you will be running out of storage space and be wondering where has all your storage capacity gone??? For practical reasons it will be a lot better if you download the videos via wifi so you don’t eat up on your data allowance.

You can save the video into your photos folder by simply tapping on the three dots by the video and hit share and the usual sharing options pop-up. Super easy! Hopefully, now you have an option for whatever you use, whether that is PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone. Just please be aware of YouTube’s terms and condition and do not use any of these videos for commercial use or you can get into serious trouble. Be kind and respectful to the people who have created the content you are watching and have fun!