3 Ways to Download YouTube Videos

by Emma Baker, Senior Editor | Published February 12th, 2024 | Reviewed by Ted Wilson, Systems Engineer

The three best ways to download a video from YouTube are: signing up for a 1-month trial of YouTube Premium, using a YouTube to MP3 converter, or using VLC Media Player.

For times when streaming videos on YouTube doesn’t cut it (like when you’re about to embark on a cross-country flight or trying to save some precious mobile data), downloading YouTube videos, particularly in MP3 format, becomes a game-changer. Read more below about your options to do this.

yt to mp3 converter

Ways to Download a YouTube Video

There are many ways to download YouTube videos, but nsome of them are much easier to use than others. Also, some of them may contain malware or viruses that can harm your device or compromise your privacy

Before looking at any of the following advice, I suggest you do research on the tools I suggest in order to figure out if it meets your standards of safety. Remember to be careful and choose a trusted method that works for you.

Without further ado, here are three of the best ways to download YouTube videos without paying for the YouTube Premium service:

Option 1: Get a 1-month trial of YouTube Premium.

YouTube offers a legal way to download videos through its YouTube Premium service. Subscribers can download videos directly within the YouTube app for offline viewing.

This is the only method sanctioned by YouTube. However, this is also the only option that costs money, which I assume you are trying to avoid. 

For the short term, you can get a free trial, or just proceed to the following options.

Option 2: Use a YouTube to MP3 Converter.

There are numerous websites that allow you to download YouTube videos by simply pasting the video’s URL. Examples include Y2Mate, SaveFrom.net, and KeepVid. These sites usually offer various formats and resolutions.

Option 3: Use a VLC Media Player. 

VLC Media Player, a popular media player, can be used to download YouTube videos. You can use the network stream feature to play the YouTube video and then save it from the media player.

How to Convert YouTube Videos with YouTube Premium

If you have the extra money to pay for it, YouTube Premium is genuinely a great tool to have. It offers perks such as ad-free viewing, background play, offline access, and exclusive content.

If you want to download YouTube videos legally and easily, this is the best option for you. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Sign up for the YouTube Premium service by visiting the official YouTube Premium page. You can get a free one-month trial if you are a new user.
  • Log in to your YouTube Premium account and browse the videos you want to download.
  • Under each video, you will see a Download button. Tap or click on it and choose the quality option you prefer.
  • Wait for the download to finish and then go to the Library tab on your YouTube app or website. There, you will find a Downloads section where you can access all the videos you have downloaded.
  • Enjoy watching your downloaded videos offline anytime and anywhere.

How Much is YouTube Premium?

The YouTube Premium individual plan got a $2 price hike for all U.S. subscribers. Similar to various other streaming services, YouTube has raised the cost of its Premium individual plan in the United States, moving from $11.99 per month to $13.99 per month.

How to Download YT Videos with an MP3 Converter

When it comes to converting YouTube videos to MP3, the process varies (slightly) depending on your device. Whether you’re using an iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, or PC, there are specific YouTube to MP3 converters suited for each.

These converters, like the popular YouTube to MP3 Converter — Free version, allow you to turn YouTube into MP3 files effortlessly while maintaining the quality of the original video.

However, some of them may not work properly or may have security issues. 

Therefore, you need to do some research and find a reputable app that suits your needs. Here are some of the best apps for downloading YouTube videos in 2024:

  • SnapTube: This is a free and powerful app that can download YouTube videos in various formats and resolutions on Android devices. You can also use it to download videos from other platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.
  • 4K Video Downloader: This is a free and versatile app that can download YouTube videos in high quality (up to 4K) on Windows, Mac, and Linux devices. You can also use it to download playlists, channels, subtitles, etc.
  • Documents by Readdle: This is a free and multifunctional app that can download YouTube videos on iPhone and iPad devices. You can also use it to manage your files, read documents, listen to music, etc.

To use any of these apps, you need to follow these general steps:

  1. Download and install the app or open the webpage on your device from its official website.
  2. Copy the URL of the YouTube video you want to download from your browser or YouTube app.
  3. Open the app and paste the URL into its search box or input field.
  4. Choose the format and quality option you want for the video file.
  5. Start the download process and wait for it to complete.
  6. Find the downloaded video file in your device’s storage or the app’s folder.
  7. Watch your downloaded video offline whenever you want.

How to Download YT Videos with a VLC Media Player

The third way to download YouTube videos is to use a VLC Media Player, which is a free and popular media player that can play almost any video or audio file on any device.

You can also use it to download YouTube videos by following these steps:

  1. Download and install the VLC Media Player on your device from its official website.
  2. Copy the URL of the YouTube video you want to download from your browser or YouTube app.
  3. Open the VLC Media Player and go to the Media menu. Then, select Open Network Stream or press Ctrl+N on your keyboard.
  4. Paste the URL into the network URL box and click on Play.
  5. When the video starts playing, go to the Tools menu and select Codec Information or press Ctrl+J on your keyboard.
  6. Copy the location URL from the bottom of the codec information window.
  7. Open a new tab on your browser and paste the location URL into the address bar. Press Enter to load the video file.
  8. Right-click on the video and select Save Video As or press Ctrl+S on your keyboard.
  9. Choose a name and location for the video file and click on Save.
  10. Wait for the download to finish and then locate the video file on your device.
  11. Enjoy watching your downloaded video offline with any media player.

Downloading YouTube videos can be very useful and enjoyable, but it can also be ever so slightly illegal and risky. 

You need to be careful and responsible when you choose a method and a source for downloading YouTube videos.

To the best of your ability, respect the rights of the content creators and YouTube’s terms of service. Otherwise, you may face serious consequences for your actions.

I hope this article has helped you learn how to download YouTube videos for offline viewing in 2024.


Is Downloading YouTube Videos Illegal?

Yes. YouTube’s terms of service restrict users from downloading videos, except in specific instances, such as for personal and non-commercial purposes.

What is the difference between YouTube MP3 and MP4?

The main difference between MP3 and MP4 formats from YouTube lies in their content type.

MP3 is an audio-only format, ideal for those looking to download just the sound or music from YouTube videos. It’s perfect for converting songs, podcasts, or lectures from YouTube to MP3.

On the other hand, MP4 is a video format that includes both audio and video components. It’s suitable for downloading full YouTube videos to watch offline. When using a YouTube converter, choosing MP3 is best for audio needs, while MP4 is ideal for video content.

How do I ensure high-quality audio when converting YouTube videos to MP3?

To ensure high-quality audio when using a YouTube to MP3 converter, select a converter that offers various quality settings.

Look for options that allow you to download MP3 files in at least 320kbps, which is considered high quality.

Some of the best YouTube to MP3 converters provide options to adjust the bitrate, ensuring you get the best audio quality from your downloads.

Additionally, make sure the source video on YouTube is of high quality, as this directly impacts the audio quality of your MP3 file.

Remember, a good YouTube to MP3 converter — free or paid — should prioritize maintaining the integrity of the audio during conversion.