How to download YouTube videos: 4 things you need to know

Sure, it’s easy to download videos from YouTube, but doing it legally is another proposition. While there’s no law that specifically says you can’t download videos from YouTube for free, YouTube’s rules are very clear.

Before you start downloading YouTube videos, read on for four things you need to know, starting with…

There’s only one 100-percent legit way to download videos from YouTube

If you want to download YouTube videos confident in the knowledge that you’re on the right side of the law, there’s just one way to do it: by signing up for YouTube Red.

Among other benefits (including ad-free videos, original shows and unlimited music streaming), YouTube’s $10-a-month Red subscription service lets you save any YouTube video for offline viewing.

A couple of key restrictions apply when it comes to “offline” YouTube viewing. For starters, you can download YouTube videos only by using the YouTube app for Android and iOS. No PC or Mac downloads are allowed.

Saved YouTube videos will disappear after 30 days, and some videos may not be available for download at all depending on the decision of the content uploaders. Once your Red subscription expires, so will all your saved YouTube videos.

YouTube Red

Ben Patterson / IDG

The “offline” videos you save using YouTube Red will (typically) expire after 30 days.

While there are strings attached when it comes to downloading YouTube videos via YouTube Red, at least you’ll be able to do so without worrying that you’ve broken the law.

YouTube explicitly forbids the downloading of any YouTube videos outside of its Red service

The moment you start watching YouTube videos, you put yourself at the mercy of its “terms of service,” which reads (in part):

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