How to download YouTube videos on your phone

Consideration of ethical concerns and copyright regulations is imperative while downloading YouTube videos
Undated image of a person viewing videos on tablet.—Pexels
Undated image of a person viewing videos on tablet.—Pexels

If you're an avid YouTube fan, you may have wondered about how to download them. The platform is simply a great source of content! However, it's crucial to be aware that downloading videos from YouTube using unofficial methods violates YouTube's Terms of Service. 

Although not necessarily illegal, this practice could lead to a ban from the platform. While Google tends to be lenient towards casual downloaders, they occasionally take action against third-party apps designed for this purpose.

Top ways to download YouTube videos

You can download YouTube using the following methods: 

  1. How to download YouTube videos on iPhone or iPad
  2. Alternative: Using a YouTube video download app
  3. Using Screen Record to capture YouTube videos locally
  4. Ethical considerations and copyright

How to download YouTube videos on iPhone or iPad

YouTube Premium, a subscription service, offers a legitimate way to download videos directly from the YouTube app. This feature allows offline viewing, but there are limitations. The maximum resolution for downloads within the YouTube iOS app is 1080p, and the downloaded videos are tied to your YouTube Premium subscription and the original content. 

Read more: How to get Google’s Circle to Search on your iPhone

If you cancel YouTube Premium or if the original video is removed, the downloaded videos will be unavailable. Despite these limitations, YouTube Premium remains the fastest and most seamless option for offline viewing on iPhone or iPad.

Alternative: Using a YouTube video download app

To download YouTube videos in a more permanent form, third-party tools are required. Several iPhone and iPad apps available in the App Store can fulfil this purpose, but it's important to review their terms carefully, as some may require in-app purchases or subscriptions for full functionality. One recommended app by Digital Trends is Offline, which is free and ad-supported.

It not only supports YouTube downloads but also works with Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and Soundcloud. Offline allows saving and playing files within the app, exporting them to iCloud, or transferring them to Mac using AirDrop. However, the maximum resolution for Offline downloads is 640x480, which may not be ideal for larger screens.

Using Screen Record to capture YouTube videos locally

Since the release of iOS 11 in 2017, iPhones and iPads have featured a built-in screen recording function. This method enables you to record your device's screen, including YouTube videos, without using external apps.

By initiating screen recording while the video is playing, you can save the recorded video to your Camera Roll for later viewing. Android users can use various screen-recording apps.

Ethical considerations and copyright

While downloading YouTube videos may seem harmless, it is important to consider ethical concerns and copyright regulations. Downloading videos violates YouTube's Terms of Service and hampers the revenue streams of content creators who rely on ads for income.

Personal viewing for offline purposes is generally the only acceptable reason to download YouTube videos. It is recommended to avoid downloading altogether or opt for YouTube's official Premium service, which allows ad-free viewing.