Although YouTube makes a wide range of video content available for streaming over your Internet connection, YouTube and many content providers using YouTube don’t want you downloading permanent copies of those videos. To be clear, using a third-party application to download content, even if just for later viewing for personal use, is a violation of the YouTube terms of service. However, if you are an original content creator (a video blogger, an amateur musician, or just someone who posts family videos online) and you lost your original copy of your video then you may want to download a copy of your video from YouTube. Here are some of the best methods to show you how.
Again, you should not be using any of these download methods unless you own the copyright to the video in question.
App Today, None Tomorrow
Bear in mind that YouTube is diligent in doing all it can to squash apps that enable video download. It’s understandable; Google makes a lot of money from advertisements. That doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. Apple is also diligent at removing any app that tries to circumvent the way they think things ought to be, which is why running a quick search engine query of past proven methods is likely to bring up a number of out-of-date or no longer working results.
As of this writing, there are an extremely limited number of apps in the App Store that will let you download a permanent copy of streaming video content from websites, and none that claim the ability to nab YouTube videos. Still, that doesn’t stop people from performing a search for “YouTube video downloader” just to make sure. If you come up with nothing, keep reading. You still have other options.
DVDVideoSoft Free YouTube Download
YouTube Download by DVDVideoSoft is a free program that you can install on your PC or Mac that will let you download YouTube videos to your computer – at which point you can transfer the downloaded files to your iPad or iPhone for later viewing.
With Free YouTube Download, you simply cut and paste the video’s URL into a field and click the Download button. There are tools and settings that let you specify the download quality, output file type, and file destination for all downloads. This is important, because you’ll have to save the file in a format that’s compatible with playback on your iOS device. Check this Apple FAQ to ensure the file type you specify is compatible with iTunes.
After downloading the files to your computer, you can then sync them to your iPad or iPhone using various methods, including iTunes. Again, this is only something you can do if the file is one that iTunes recognizes, so choose your formats appropriately.
YouTube Music Key
For some time now, rumors circulated about YouTube’s plan to introduce an offline viewing mode. The closest it’s come to anything like that is the subscription service Music Key, which is presently available in limited beta release and appears to be poised for wide release in September.
YouTube Music Key comes bundled with Google Play All Access. It’s also ad free, which is always a good thing, and will presumably work by allowing you to download playlists of videos for offline playback. The only problem is, since it’s geared primarily for the consumption of music videos, it means you likely won’t be able to download any old video you want. In fact, the program specs tell us that only videos with an “Ad-Free” badge will be available for offline viewing. There’s also the fact that videos will only be available for offline viewing for a period of 30 days before you have to reconnect – presumably to see if said videos are still available.
Described as a “subscription music service” (and what else would you really expect from an app called Music Key?) it’s not the ideal platform for, say, downloading your entire back catalog of video blogs for permanent storage. If you’re only interested in the music, it might be a good investment. Word has it that the service will cost $10 per month.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Just because YouTube and Apple don’t make it easy for you to download your content that doesn’t mean you have to sit still for it. Try the methods above to see what works best for you, but remember: if you don’t own the copyright to the video that you plan to download you really shouldn’t try.