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Pocket your favorite videos with our guide to downloading YouTube videos

So you want to download YouTube videos? Maybe you just absolutely need to memorize every word to “Gangnam Style” without blowing your data plan. Or you find that watching a tiny hamster eating tiny burritos takes you to your happy place. Whatever the reason, there’s a handful of Web-based and desktop software specially designed for downloading videos from YouTube.

Here’s everything you need to know to download YouTube videos. Let’s start with a quick disclaimer. It is generally legal to share and embed YouTube videos on the Internet, but downloading them for your own personal use offline isn’t always permitted. Downloading videos is a violation of the YouTube Terms of Service unless YouTube has explicitly given permission to download. It will explicitly say if a video is legal to download.

Updated on 4-24-2015 by Joe Donovan: Added new information for Clip Converter and added YouTube Downloader (not to be confused with YTD Video Downloader), another virus-free, malware-free way to download YouTube videos.

Skip ahead for how to download YouTube videos using:

Related: Our  favorite, free video converters and picks for the best free media players

How to download YouTube videos using Clip Converter (Web-based)

Now officially out of the beta phase, Clip Converter is an easy solution for all your YouTube downloading needs. The Web-based utility is entirely free, requires no additional software to run and can quickly download videos from YouTube, Dailymotion, IMDB, Metacafe, MySpace, and many others. The tool features all the standard format types — from MP3s to WMVs — and even includes an option to edit embedded ID3 tags. Plus, there is a simple browser add-on for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, as well as a sleek desktop version for most popular operating systems.

Ads are relatively few and far between, no matter which platform you’re using, making it one the least invasive and streamlined tools of any YouTube converter out there. No wonder it’s garnered nearly 600,000 Facebook likes since its initial launch.

Step 1: Navigate to the main Clip Converter website and enter the appropriate URL for the YouTube video you wish to download in the black text field near the top of the page. Select your desired video format options — MP4, 3GP, AVI or MOV. In most cases, choose MP4 or AVI, which are nearly universal video file formats that will likely be compatible with your devices.

Clip Converter File to Download Selection Screen

Step 2: Check the various conversion options once the expanded settings panel appears. By default, the conversion will span the entire duration of the video, but you can always click the check box directly left of Start of Video or End of video to manually enter start and stop times down to the specific second. Next, click the gray Continue button beside the URL box.

Note: Don’t click anything outside the gray Cloud Convert box. I downloaded some unwanted spam browser extensions because I clicked the “download” and “play” buttons that exist outside the Clip Converter’s gray box.

Clip Converter Selecting Start of Video

Step 3: Check the bubble directly left of your desired output resolution from the list below the URL box and name the your video file in the text box below. Keep in mind that although resolution is limited based on the particular video in question, many YouTube videos offer 1080p resolution, as well as lower-res options for those looking to save space. We suggest always choosing the highest resolution available unless you’re truly limited on space. Once done, click the gray Start button at the bottom of the page to begin the conversion process.

Selecting Video Quality in Clip Converter

Step 4: Wait until your conversion is complete, this could take a few minutes. Click the gray Download button. Then rename the file and save it with your other videos before clicking the Save button in the bottom-right corner of the window. Then watch the video on your desktop or upload it to your mobile device as you would normally.

Conversion Successfully Completed in Clip Converter

How to download YouTube videos using Any Video Converter (Windows/Mac OS X)

Besides being one of our go-to choices for extracting audio from a video file, Any Video Converter is also a fantastic tool for downloading and converting videos from YouTube. The software supports a handful of file formats including AVI, WMV, MKV — and more than 50 other accessible formats — in addition to batch conversion, a customizable output management tool for tailoring your video for your desired device, and several other editing tools.

Like Clip Converter, video files can be trimmed to a specified length by inputting the appropriate start and end times, and there is even a function that will allow you to merge multiple videos in varying formats into a single unified file. The added video editing tools for cropping, editing codecs, and the like is a useful featuring that most YouTube downloaders lack. AVC doesn’t feature any intuitive URL grabber or search function, but copy and pasting your video’s URL in the box is easy enough.

Step 1: Navigate to the main Any Video Converter website and click the orange Download button on the right-hand side, directly beneath the software description.

Any Video Converter

Step 2: Once downloaded, launch Any Video Converter and follow the install instructions. The setup file will essentially ask you to click the Next button several times, followed by the Install button. When prompted, check the bubble next to Custom installation to avoid installing the AVG toolbar and other unnecessary items. Afterward, click the Finish button and launch the software.

AVG Install

Step 3: Once open, select your desired video output from the drop-down menu in the top-right corner and click the Add URL(s) button at the top of the application window. Afterward, click the green addition sign in the top-right corner and enter the appropriate URL for the YouTube video you wish to download in the resulting text field before click the blue Start Download button. Unlike Clip Converter, you can also add multiple files to the conversion queue.

Convert Add

Step 4: The video you wish to convert should instantly appear in the application window on the left-hand side. Click the desired video you wish to convert and specify the various output settings — file name, save location, video size, quality, etc. — from the panel in the bottom right of the window. Like Clip Converter, you can also enter specified start and stop times, as well as choose from a variety of available output formats, aspect ratios, and audio facets. Click the blue Convert Now button at the top of the window once you’re satisfied with your output results. Then, simply watch the video on your desktop or upload it to your mobile device as you would normally.

any video converter pic 2

Next Page: Two more free ways to download YouTube videos 

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