Skip to main content

How to download YouTube videos on Mac for free

YouTube doesn’t provide the ability to download any of its videos directly. Naturally, this led to the emergence of countless video downloader sites, extensions, and workarounds, but a lot of these solutions can be dangerous -- many exist only to spread malware, install malicious apps, etc. However, there are a few ways to download a YouTube video safely onto your Mac so you can view it offline or just save it for general use.

Here are the best ways to download YouTube videos on a Mac for free.

We must warn you that downloading a YouTube video isn't technically permitted by Google. Either way, it's largely considered a gray area, so only use the following steps to download videos you have a legal right to have local copies of.

Difficulty

Easy

Duration

5 minutes

What You Need

  • Mac

VLC Media Player

Along with establishing itself as one of the most popular video applications for both Windows and Mac systems, VLC is also among the most versatile media players currently available. One such feature that exemplifies the technical abilities of the app is its ability to stream YouTube videos and offer a direct download link for those MP4 files.

Step 1: Download and install VLC if you haven't already, then open it. Click the File tab and select the Open Network button.

The Open Network button on VLC Media Player on Mac.

Step 2: Within the Open Source window that’s now popped up, paste the YouTube video URL into the provided field. Click Open.

The Open Source window on VLC Media Player on Mac.

Step 3: The YouTube video you entered should now be streaming on your media player. Click the Window tab at the top and then select Media Information.

Step 4: Contained within the Location field at the bottom should be a URL. Copy that address and paste it on a web browser and hit the enter button on your keyboard.

The Media Information window on VLC Media Player on Mac.

Step 5: That same video should now be playing on your web browser’s window. Right-click on that video and click the Save Video as button.

Please note that some VLC users may encounter issues when trying to load certain videos onto their media player. In the event you run into technical problems, refer to the log file (click the Command (cmd), Shift, and M keyboard buttons together while VLC is opened).

4K Video Downloader

As for YouTube video downloader programs, 4K Video Downloader is one of the most reliable and popular apps for both Windows and Mac.

Step 1: Download and install the app via its official website. Your Mac system will require MacOS 10.13 or later for the program to function.

The different download installers for 4K Video Downloader.

Step 2: Select the URL of the YouTube video you wish to download.

Step 3: Open 4K Video Downloader on your Mac. Click the Paste Link button.

Step 4: A window giving you various download options will now appear. The standard MP4 format is already selected. Choose a resolution and whether you want to download the subtitles as well (if the video itself has subtitles embedded). Select an output location for the file and click Download.

Downloading a video on 4K Video Downloader for Mac.

Editors' Recommendations