Editor’s Note: This guide is updated frequently, as the apps involved change regularly.
Over the past decade, YouTube has become the go-to entertainment destination for most people. It features a broad collection of video content, including but not limited to funny videos, video blogs, documentaries, movies, etc.
Probably the only problem? YouTube still does not allow downloading videos for offline access — until you are ready to pay premium charges.
Sure, we live in a world almost always connected to the internet. But there are still some reasons you should download YouTube videos.
RELATED: The Best Video Editing Software for Mac
The case for YouTube offline
- You have a slow internet connection.
It definitely feels nice when you watch full-HD and 4K videos. But when the internet connection drops, so does the fun. By saving your favorite YouTube videos for later, you can watch YouTube videos start-to-finish anywhere without any pesky obstacles like WiFi or restricted data plans.
Imagine you don’t want to spend all your time on the Internet. So, when you come across a good YouTube video, you may want to keep it offline. That way, you will be able to watch it whenever you want. It may be a good option for those lengthy flight journeys.
You may be an artist or a content creator. You need to use some YouTube videos for a project of yours. Quality is essential for you this time, and you need the maximum you can get. So, keeping a timely backup of your videos is a good idea.
There could be more reasons, but these make the mark.
Important: is it legal to download YouTube videos?
Here’s what Google’s terms of service for YouTube says about this matter.
You can download videos that you’ve already uploaded. If you haven’t uploaded the video yourself, you can’t save it to a computer. You can download videos from the YouTube app to your mobile device only.
In strict legal terms, you must not download YouTube videos. However, you do not have to worry about this warning if you download YouTube videos for personal use. On the contrary, you may have to worry about doing it for commercial needs.
Absolutely, taking videos from YouTube is a big no-no. But if you really need to download a video just for yourself (and not to share), YouTube offers an official way to access YouTube videos offline: YouTube Premium.
YouTube Premium: an official method with a catch
YouTube Premium is a paid subscription that offers additional features like an ad-free YouTube experience, background playback, and offline downloads. You can use these features to download your favorite YouTube videos to your smartphone or PC.
However, there are some huge caveats.
- Ongoing Subscription Cost: You need to continue paying a monthly subscription fee of $11.99, which adds up to $120 a year. It may not be an affordable option for many.
- Video Quality Limitation: Video downloads are restricted to a maximum quality of 1080p or lower; no 4K or 8K.
- Temporary Downloads: Downloaded videos are not saved on your computer permanently; they function more like temporary downloads available through the YouTube app interface.
- Limited Playback Options: Unlike traditional downloads that can be played using various software, YouTube Premium downloads can only be viewed through the YouTube app’s interface.
- Streaming Dependency: Downloads remain accessible as long as your device has an active internet connection at least once every 30 days, emphasizing a dependency on streaming capabilities even for downloaded content.
Considering all these points, it might not be precisely what you’re looking in a download. Keep reading for tools that are a better fit.
Best YouTube downloader apps for Mac
A YouTube Downloader is an app that lets you download YouTube videos to your computer. There are some online downloaders as well, but we are talking about desktop tools. You can install these programs, paste a YouTube link and start downloading the videos. Some tools let you do more too.
To choose the best ones, we followed some criteria below.
- Allow one-click downloads;
- Interface is simple and easy to dive in;
- Allow you to select video download quality (up to a maximum of 4K or 8K);
- Fast downloading and conversion;
- Allow you to output to MP3 for audio;
- Not collect your personal data;
- Not contain malware.
How we evaluate and test apps
Our testing environment was simple. We had a moderately fast internet connection on a Mac mini with M1. To keep everything straight, we hand-tested more than 20 apps from the market and tried downloading the same video using all the YouTube downloader apps. (Read the full rundown of how we select tools to feature on TheSweetBits blog.) Based on our testing sessions, we’ve found the following 9 options of your dreams.
Top Mac YouTube downloader apps at a glance:
Disclaimer: You can download videos with these tools only for personal use. They don’t advocate any download behavior for commercial use, which is against the author’s copyright.
PullTube is essentially the best option when you want to download YouTube videos to your Mac. We’d say it can offer a balanced experience compared to our other favorites. For instance, because it is a more advanced package, it offers you video trimming features.
The UI of PullTube may not be the simplest at first look. That is because the media downloader packs a fantastic set of features inside. However, if you just want to fetch details and download a YouTube video, it will take only a few seconds. The fact that you can use this single tool to download videos from multiple websites is just amazing indeed.
You can use PullTube to trim videos. You can cut the video to your desired length by feeding the timestamps or dragging through the video timeline for a preferred part of the video. This tool is excellent when you want an audio/video file converted into another format. There is also an option to stitch multiple video parts together to have a single file.
A point worth mentioning is that the app supports playlist downloading as well. If PullTube detects that the video is part of a playlist, it will offer to download the entire collection. Similarly, the app also has a wonderful level of browser integration. It works well with Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. PullTube lets you use shortcuts and gestures and set up custom proxy/socket choices for easy control.
There are a few seemingly simple but useful features in the PullTube package. For instance, you would be able to download auto-generated subtitles when you download a YouTube video. In short, it brings such a balanced package of features.
The standard license of PullTube is available for $14.99, but you can use the free trial for 14 days.
You can also check out its Family Bundle, which gives you a 15% discount.
PullTube is also available as a part of the Setapp subscription.
- A balanced set of features
- Built-in conversion engine
- Useful video editing features
Read full PullTube review
Softorino YouTube Converter Pro, better known as SYC Pro, is a trusted YouTube downloader from a trusted developer. It happens to be the upgraded version of SYC 2, a popular YouTube downloader app for Mac.
SYC Pro is the best option when you need a professional yet intuitive way to download YouTube videos for offline access. It comes with a stunning UI that makes things easier. For example, you can download a single YouTube video or an entire playlist by pasting a URL. The best part? SYC Pro can help you convert and transfer these videos to your iPad or iPhone.
In terms of speed, SYC Pro is six times faster than SYC 2. It means you can download your favorite YouTube videos faster than ever. It supports YouTube to MP4 downloading with a quality of up to 4K 60fps. You can use the app to convert YouTube videos to MP3/AAC and download them. Once you are done, you can copy all these media files directly to your iPhone/iPad media library.
The developers behind SYC Pro are also working on some features like Facebook support. It already works in sync with YouTube Shorts and Vimeo. You can also count on features like subtitle downloads and a universal search bar. It’s also convenient that SYC Pro has been designed and optimized for macOS and iOS. So you don’t have to worry about compatibility while transferring data.
We also love that you can use SYC Pro to download video and audio files directly to the TV and Music apps on your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or even Android. Last but not least, this professional YouTube downloader is also ready for macOS Sonoma.
You can get SYC Pro via their Universal License, which combines all Softorino apps into one simple subscription fee. That is, you can pay a monthly subscription fee starting at $2.92, giving you access to 15 other apps from Softorino.
SYC Pro offers a one-day free trial as well. But the problem is you cannot separately purchase the app.
- Incredibly intuitive User Interface
- Powerful features and downloading speeds
- Integration with iOS and iPadOS devices
- The free trial is too short
- You cannot purchase it separately
Read full SYC Pro review
Have you ever thought of an all-in-one YouTube downloader? Something that can help you download, edit, compress and convert the content from YouTube and other websites? Well, VideoProc is right about that thing. That’s why we’ve chosen it as the best one-stop video processing suite out there.
Unlike the other YouTube video downloaders we checked out, VideoProc has a dedicated and well-built option for downloading and converting videos. You will be able to convert not only downloaded videos (from more than 1000 popular video streaming sites) but also the other videos you have on your device. You can add multiple files to start the batch process. It even comes with device profiles for easy conversion.
We noticed that VideoProc does a great job in video editing. In addition to standard features like video and image cropping, video rotation, color correction, and application of various filters and effects, VideoProc allows you to perform many AI-powered other operations.
These features include video stabilization, AI-generative video upscaling, low-FPS video to high FPS conversion with VFI technology, etc. All of these help to give your low-resolution video footage a new look.
VideoProc also packs a built-in Recorder utility along with other features. You can use it to record content from your screen. It has 3 different recording modes with or without voice, from the Internet, or both at the same time whenever you want. You can check out the content and will then be able to download everything with ease and control.
VideoProc is available for both macOS and Windows.
You can also try the free version of VideoProc with some limited features.
However, for complete features, you will have to pay $39 per year or $79 for the Lifetime license.
- Supports popular video sites.
- Includes built-in video converter and recorder.
- Simple and clean layout without ads or unwanted programs.
- Limited free trial version.
Read full VideoProc review
Downie is one of the most lightweight YouTube downloader apps and it’s a suitable choice for anyone looking for an easy-to-use yet powerful tool. What stands out is how seamlessly it integrates with 4K displays, ensuring top-notch video performance.
The beauty of Downie lies in its balance between simplicity and customization. It’s a breeze to set it up for automated downloads, always selecting the best quality available—a true time-saver. Plus, the fact that it can download subtitles along with the videos adds a layer of convenience, especially when you want to catch every word of a foreign language video.
Similarly, one feature that parents might appreciate is the Parental Control options. It gives that extra peace of mind when using the app in a family setting. Also, the Proxy customization is a thoughtful addition for those who need it, especially if your organization has blocked the use of download software.
Another impressive aspect is Downie’s extensive compatibility with over 1200 video websites, covering various country-specific sites. It’s remarkable how such a lightweight app can offer such extensive functionality. And, as per our testing, YouTube content downloads work just fine all the time.
All in all, Downie has been a reliable and efficient tool in my experience, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to streamline their video downloading process.
As for the cost, Downie 4 is available for a one-time payment of $19.99. It’s also included in the Setapp package, which could be a great deal for those already using or considering this subscription service.
We believe the price is quite reasonable, considering the features you get.
- Straightforward User Interface
- Consumes minimal system resources
- Works with 1200+ websites
- There are not many advanced features
Read full Downie review
AllMyTube from Wondershare is another all-in-one YouTube downloader you can check out. You should consider Wondershare AllMyTube if you want to record, download and transfer multiple videos without a fuss.
After testing Wondershare AllMyTube, it became evident that this tool is designed with a user-centric approach, catering to both casual users and those with more demanding video management needs.
One aspect we particularly appreciate is its user interface. It’s intuitive and straightforward, making the process of downloading videos almost effortless. This simplicity doesn’t mean a compromise in functionality. Whether you’re grabbing a quick clip or curating a collection of 4K videos, AllMyTube has you covered.
Another standout feature is its compatibility with a vast array of video-sharing sites. The fact that it supports over 10,000 sites goes beyond just adding numbers; you can use the app on almost every website where you find video content. This makes AllMyTube an essential tool for content creators, educators or anyone who relies on a diverse range of video sources.
The software’s ability to transfer videos to smartphones is another value addition. You can simply connect a USB cable and get done with the transfer. The need for a physical connection for transfers might seem like a slight setback in an otherwise wireless world, but the reliability of this method is reassuring.
Overall, Wondershare AllMyTube stands out as a versatile, user-friendly tool that addresses a wide range of video downloading and management needs. Whether it’s for personal entertainment, educational purposes, or professional use, it’s a robust solution that delivers on its promises.
When it comes to pricing, the $29 for the full version is reasonable, especially considering the array of features on offer.
The free version is a great starting point for those wanting to get a feel of the software, but for uninterrupted access and full functionality, upgrading is worthwhile.
- It offers support for almost every website
- Suitable for those who use multiple sources
- Reasonable pricing
- No option for wireless data transfer
Airy is a popular, minimalist tool for downloading videos from YouTube. It works for YouTube videos and not for other video platforms. Starting from the User Interface, Airy is simple. You will be able to start everything in seconds. It comes with a straightforward YouTube download process as well.
Airy’s user interface is a standout. It’s clean and uncluttered, removing any potential learning curve for new users. This simplicity extends to its download process as well.
Whether you’re downloading a video for offline viewing or just the audio track, the process is intuitive and quick. For users who primarily consume content in audio format, like podcasts or music tracks, this feature is particularly useful.
The browser integration feature of Airy on Mac is another worthy aspect. The bookmarklet tool is a clever addition that enhances the overall user experience. It allows for rapid downloads directly from the browser, bypassing the need to copy and paste URLs, which is a common step in many other downloaders. This feature proved especially handy when I was researching and needed to download a series of tutorial videos sequentially.
Regarding its limitations, it’s worth noting that Airy focuses exclusively on YouTube. While this might be a drawback for those who frequent a variety of video platforms, for YouTube-centric users, it ensures a more optimized experience.
In terms of cost-effectiveness, the free version of Airy provides a good starting point for basic needs. However, for full functionality, including high-quality 8K downloads, the one-time fee of $19.95 offers good value for money, considering the ease and efficiency it brings to YouTube video downloads.
- Intuitive User Interface
- Audio-only downloads
- Customizable quality
- Lacks options for conversion or transfer
As the name says, 4K Video Downloader is a tool that allows you to download YouTube videos in 4K quality. Of course, almost all the tools we have listed above can do this. However, 4K Video Downloader does a great job since we are talking about a dedicated tool.
The primary appeal of the 4K Video Downloader is its dedication to high-quality video downloads. While many other tools offer 4K downloads, this one focuses specifically on maximizing the quality of the downloaded content. This specialization is evident in the tool’s performance and output quality. It lets you download YouTube videos at even 8K quality without paying anything.
The downloading process is impressively straightforward. The tool can automatically pick up YouTube URLs from the clipboard, which simplifies the process significantly. This feature is particularly convenient when you’re browsing and finding a video you want to download; simply copy the URL, and the 4K Video Downloader takes it from there.
One of the features I found most useful is the Smart Mode. This allows for one-click downloads, which is a significant time-saver, especially if you regularly download videos with similar settings. It’s about efficiency and reducing the number of steps in the process. 4K Video Downloader can also fetch subtitles and annotations along with the video content.
The subscription feature is another innovative addition. It automatically downloads new videos from the YouTube channels you’re subscribed to. This means you won’t miss out on new content from your favorite creators, and it’s all automated. Its premium version is also one of the few options that can easily handle 3D and 360-degree video content.
However, the tool isn’t without its drawbacks. The most notable is the lack of editing and converting options. This limitation might be a deal-breaker for users who need more than just downloading capabilities, like editing for content creation or converting for compatibility with different devices.
4K Video Downloader is available for Mac and is free to use. You can upgrade to premium for extra features.
- Focus on high-quality downloads
- Intuitive User Interface design
- Multiple modes for downloads
- No options for editing/conversion
This is your best shot if you are looking for the practically free YouTube downloader out there. MacX YouTube Downloader does get the job done and the speeds are also pretty great. Of course, you can expect standard features from the package but that’s it.
The program impressively delivers on its promises, ensuring fast and effective downloads. While it primarily markets itself as a YouTube downloader, it’s worth noting that it extends its reach to over 1000 other websites, offering a broad spectrum of downloading possibilities.
The tool does have its quirks, particularly in its user interface speed. It tends to take its time analyzing and processing videos for download, which can be a slight inconvenience. However, this minor setback is not an issue when we consider that it can download videos in 4K quality. This feature is particularly valuable for those who prioritize high-resolution video content.
Overall, MacX YouTube Downloader stands out for its combination of wide-ranging functionality and affordability, making it an excellent choice for anyone in need of a reliable, high-quality video downloader without a hefty price tag.
MacX YouTube Downloader is available for Mac and is free of cost.
- An affordable option
- Reasonable compatibility
- Impressive speeds
ClipGrab for Mac is a rare, free tool for downloading YouTube videos on Mac computers. It’s simple and has a few small downsides, but they’re not a big deal.
We should note that the application consumes a considerable amount of storage space on the Mac. We have seen paid apps that take up only a fraction of the specified storage space.
With ClipGrab, you can download high-quality videos, up to full HD. It’s easy to find and download videos because of its search feature. Just type what you’re looking for, and you’ll see YouTube results right away.
ClipGrab doesn’t have many fancy options, but it lets you control how you download and change videos. You can even organize the video details, like the title and artist. For a free video downloader, ClipGrab has some pretty cool features and is worth trying.
ClipGrab for Mac is completely free to use. It’s available for Windows and Linux as well.
- Completely free to use
- Simple UI throughout the app
- Integrated search option
Can I download YouTube videos to my Mac computer with YouTube Premium?
No, YouTube Premium does not allow you to download YouTube videos to your Mac computer in the traditional sense. The downloaded videos are limited to 1080p quality or lower, and they function more like temporary downloads for offline viewing within the YouTube app’s interface. You can’t use third-party media players to access these videos.
How do I download YouTube videos on my Mac for free?
You can use a dedicated YouTube downloader to download YouTube videos on your Mac for free. You can choose between free and paid YouTube video downloaders based on the features you need. Then, you can paste the YouTube video link and download it in a few seconds.
How do I download audio from YouTube to my Mac?
YouTube downloaders come with an option to download audio from YouTube to a Mac. You will have to pick one of the suitable audio formats from the available options. In most cases, you can download content in MP3 or AAC format.
Is it safe to download from online download sites?
Downloading video from online sites is risky. Despite their aim to simplify downloads without software installations, many of these sites can become suspicious, especially when popular, leading to issues like explicit ads or ceasing functionality. Some sites have been removed due to such issues. Exercise caution, and if your browser or antivirus signals red flags, avoid them and look for safer alternatives.
Bend YouTube to your will
While choosing the best YouTube downloader, you should always focus on your priorities.
If you are looking for something that offers the best speed and video trimming features, PullTube seems to be the right shot on any given day. Nevertheless, there are times when you need something like VideoProc, especially if you want to do more than simply download the video. On the other hand, if you need a free solution, ClipGrab is a reliable option.
As you can see, every YouTube downloader we have listed here packs some additional features. And, these programs in this guide are all free of spam and virus problems as of this writing.