How-to: Download YouTube and TikTok videos to your mobile device for free

Many of us have watched YouTube videos and wished we could download it. While connectivity globally is increasing, there remains a number of reasons why you would still like to have access to videos offline.

It may be that your daily commute includes a train ride through tunnels, or you’re planning a family holiday to a remote location and want to keep the kids entertained. Regardless of your motivation, it’s great to know there are some easy solutions to this challenge.

To use a YouTube video downloader is really quite easy, simply copy and paste the YouTube URL in question, select which quality (better quality results in larger file sizes) and click download. Once you have the video downloaded to your computer, its easy to transfer to your phone, tablet or other device for playback.

In 2021, there are plenty of other video platforms that you may wish to download from. An example of this is the incredibly successful and addictive TikTok and there is now a TikTok video downloader available for that too.

We all know that a huge majority of people love watching TikTok videos and thus, watching them offline can help pass the time, or help you rehearse your next video. This has been particularly useful for people in lockdown during the pandemic, or hotel quarantine.

How does an online YouTube downloader work?

Now for the detail. Chances are you’ve attempted this in the past and ended up at some pretty sketchy sites, many requiring you to download applications full of ads, or even install 3rd party add-ins like Java. Thankfully things have really improved and you now have access to a downloader that makes the task is quite easy for you.

The whole process will take between 2-5 minutes, depending on a couple of factors, namely the length of the video and your internet connection speed. Follow the steps below to take your favourite videos with you, even when you’re offline.

1. Get a video downloader

The first step (obviously) is to find a good video downloader. There are many YouTube video downloaders available online these days. But you need to make sure that you choose the best one. Do some research and pick the one that is user-friendly and abides by all the rules and laws of YouTube. 

2. Copy the video URL

Once you have the downloader, you have to visit YouTube and open the video you want to download (this can often be the longest part of the process). Copy the video URL from the address bar, then go back to the downloader site (usually in another tab) and paste the URL in the space that is assigned for the task and click.

It will take anywhere between a few seconds and a few minutes to retrieve the data of the video and make it available for download. 

3. Download the provided link

Once done, the downloader will provide you with a URL and often a thumbnail to confirm you selected the right video. From here you simply have download the video to your laptop or phone or tablet. Personally I’d select the highest quality version, but space can be a factor, and if your plan is to playback on a smaller screen, 720p quality is probably fine.

In terms of video formats, you’re best to stick with .MP4 with H.264 compression as it remains one of the most transferable formats and should allow playback on almost any device.

There will be times where you may just want the audio from a video and many downloaders offer an MP3 version to download.

Is it legal to use a Youtube Video Downloader?

In short, Yes. It is legally not a problem to use a video downloader for personal use. It is certainly not legal to steal the content and re-upload, pretending that the content is your own.

While each platform has their own set of rules and regulations, generally issues arise when you move past personal use and play the video publicly or share it without express written consent from the creator. When it comes to why people upload content online, its typically to accumulate views and ultimately run ads against the content and monetize the audience.

If a teacher was to download a video and show it to their class, that video would receive 1 view (during the download process), not the 30+ views that would have occurred if each student accessed the video individually. Ultimately it boils down to this, if you use it for personal use only, then using a video downloader won’t be a problem, try and make money from it, then you’ve got problems.

Using a video downloader is a quick and easy fix to get your favourite videos on your phone and watch them while you are on the go. 

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Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwright
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021


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