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How to Download YouTube Videos

Person watching YouTube
YouTube Premium is the YouTube-sanctioned way of downloading your favorite videos even when you're not connected to the internet. ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

We live in a society that's constantly connected to the internet, but there are times when we get disconnected, either by choice or by force. And of course, there are places in the world where connecting to the internet is difficult — or even impossible. In those situations, you can't pull up your favorite YouTube video on your computer or phone to relax or share with a friend. However, there is a solution: downloading videos to save to your phone for offline viewing.

Sure, there are plenty of third-party solutions for downloading YouTube videos, but the company doesn't allow it. As per YouTube's terms of service, users are not allowed to "access, reproduce, download, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, alter, modify or otherwise use" any YouTube content. Failure to follow this rule could lead to the termination of your account. However, there is an exception: getting authorization from YouTube through its YouTube Premium service.

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What Is YouTube Premium?

YouTube Premium is a popular paid service that supplements your viewing experience on the platform. For $11.99 a month, this premium service allows YouTube users to:

  • Watch videos ad-free
  • Keep videos playing in the background while using other apps on their phone or tablet
  • Download videos for offline use
  • View any YouTube Original series or movie
  • Access YouTube Music Premium and Google Play Music at no additional cost

In addition to the regular plan, the service offers family and student plans. The family plan allows up to five people to access the service for $17.99 a month. On the other hand, students get a sizable discount and only pay $6.99 a month. However, students are only eligible for up to four years, and they have to verify their school through SheerID.

If you're interested in YouTube Premium, you can snag a one-month free trial before making the monthly commitment.

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How to Sign Up for YouTube Premium

Since YouTube does a lot of promotion for Premium, signing up is pretty simple. Just click on the ad to take you to the YouTube Premium page (youtube.com/premium).

If you don't want to click on the ad, the process is just as simple. Just follow these five steps:

  1. Sign into your YouTube account. If you don't have one, make sure to sign up for a free account.
  2. Select your profile photo in the top right-hand corner.
  3. From the drop-down menu, select the "Paid memberships" option.
  4. Select YouTube Premium from the "Offers from YouTube" page.
  5. Fill in the payment form to set up recurring payments.

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Downloading Videos From YouTube Premium

Now that you're subscribed to YouTube Premium, it's time to download all the videos you desire, right? Not exactly.

Downloading videos using Premium works in a similar way to watching shows and movies offline through streaming services. You can only download and save videos when using YouTube's mobile app. In order to keep access to your downloaded videos, you must connect to the internet once every 30 days. Also, be aware that you may not be able to download some videos if the creator restricts it.

With that out of the way, you can follow the steps from YouTube Help:

  • Log into the YouTube mobile app.
  • Start watching a video.
  • Click the "Download" icon that's just below the video player.
  • Select the video quality.
  • When the download completes, the "Download" icon will change to "Downloaded."

If you want to watch your downloaded videos, you can find them under either the Library or Account tabs. When you're finished with a downloaded video, just click the "Downloaded" icon and select "Remove."

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