The Best YouTube Downloader Software for MacOS in 2018
Entertainment • Updated on Aug 14, 2018
We have to admit that we watch tons of YouTube videos on a daily basis! But we were always chained to the Internet connection.
If our internet connection drops so does the fun, and there is also the danger that videos will be taken offline in the future and we won’t be able to access them at all.
Well, guess what? We are not anymore.
By saving your favorite YouTube videos for later, you’re ensuring you can watch YouTube videos start-to-finish anywhere without any pesky obstacles like wifi or restricted data plans.
If you’re a Mac user and stuck with downloading YouTube videos, then you must pay attention to what we’re going to say next.
Is it legal to download YouTube videos?
Before we dive into the specifics of what is the best Mac YouTube downloader, we first have to figure out whether it’s legal or not.
Taking video from YouTube is a big no-no. YouTube expressly forbids any downloading in its terms of service below:
“You shall not download any Content unless you see a “download” or similar link displayed by YouTube on the Service for that Content.You shall not copy, reproduce, make available online or electronically transmit, publish, adapt, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, or otherwise exploit any Content for any other purposes without the prior written consent of YouTube or the respective licensors of the Content. YouTube and its licensors reserve all rights not expressly granted in and to the Service and the Content.”
Technically, it’s illegal and you may say that it’s a ‘crime’. But really, it’s not. It’s like jaywalking.
Because the whole video watching eco-system benefits from this solution. What YouTube does is broadcast its content through the internet. And what YouTube Downloaders doing is simply allowing users to watch YouTube content later (a.k.a time-shifting) when broadcasting is not available.
So when it comes to copyright, as long as you’re downloading a video for your own personal offline use, and not for dissemination or make money from the download, you’re probably okay.
YouTube Red? Will you pay it?
Yeah, certainly first, Google’s own YouTube Red must be considered. It is a paid subscription plan that offers offline viewing and listening to videos with the screen off.
You can download YouTube videos(and pick the quality you want) to your phone or tablet and they are available for up to 30 days to watch without a connection.
YouTube Red also comes with free access to Google Play Music for high-quality music streaming and download. There are many original shows on YouTube Red as well.
In conclusion, YouTube Red’s features appear to be quite enticing. For those sick and tired of YouTube ads, the service presents as a quite an option.
However, the subscription is $10 per month, that’s $120 per year. It’s too damn expensive. And currently only available in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Korea and Mexico. If it’s not reached your country yet or it seems not worthy enough, you might want to get an alternative.
Get YouTube downloader without subscription to YouTube Red
YouTube downloader is an app or online service that performing the digital transfer of video and audio files from YouTube website to a device for further decoding and playback, such as a computer or a tablet.
Initially, we had good luck with the browser-based YouTube downloading products, which require no software download and work with about any operating system. Just copy the address of the page with the video in a box on the downloader’ page and voila!
In subsequent tests however, the browser-based downloader proved glitchy, we were able to download three different videos, then we got an error message, and the page hung up. Refreshing the page cleared the hang. Some web services are even unable to download the video they had previously grabbed.
The most successful YouTube downloads we had on the Mac came from using the paid desktop applications.
So, which one is best?
How we chose the best YouTube downloader
To find out what YouTube video grabber Mac owners could use for, we considered the following criteria:
- Does the app enable you to download, convert and save videos with a single click?
- Does the app provide ready-made profiles that will take the guesswork out of converting videos?
- Does the app convert the audio from YouTube music videos to MP3 format?
- Does it work with the speed of light?
- Does it send YouTube videos or audio straight to iPhone & iPad?
- Can you download playlists & songs from YouTube directly to your iPhone/iPad?
- Can you download videos/music to your Mac or iTunes library?
- Does the app help you select your best quality of download (4K or 1080p, 720p or 360p, etc)
- Is the app beautifully designed with an easy to understand interface?
- Does it help you keep up-to-date, allowing you to quickly get the latest version?
After downloading each program, setting up our test YouTube videos, and researching various options, here are the best picks for the best YouTube downloader software.
Our pick: Airy (easiest to dive in)
Airy (priced at $19.95) is a neatly made YouTube downloader developed by Eltima Software. It is a straightforward and easy to use app that supports downloading YouTube videos in MP4, 3GP, FLV and MP3 formats.
All you need to do is copy a YouTube link from the browser into Airy, and it does the rest.
You may opt for an “Open in Airy” bookmarklet, to be installed by selecting “Integrate into Browser” from the application menu,it will integrate with most browsers to provide a quick bookmarklet to download video on any webpage.
Airy handles full HD videos – even 4K and 8K Ultra HD videos flawlessly and lets you resume paused or interrupted downloads. Airy can download YouTube playlist on Mac, downloading of YouTube channels is also fully supported. When downloading videos or playlists with Airy you get to choose required format (e.g. MP4, FLV, 3GP) and resolution.
You can also save only the soundtrack of YouTube in MP3 format, without saving the video. But there’s no way to select the desired bitrate. Everything downloads at 256Kbps.
From our test, it captured our YouTube videos with a single click. But only YouTube videos. The Airy app doesn’t work for other online video sites we tried.
Softorino YouTube Converter 2, or just SYC 2 (priced at $19.95) was made to become the best & most beautiful app to download Any YouTube As Video, Music or even Ringtones to your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or even old iPod Classics.
This quick promo from Softorino will showcase all its key points:
Sporting a sleek dark user interface, the SYC 2 program offers a clean environment you can interact with, striking a balance between utility and simplicity.
There are few macOS utilities we’ve tried that take a potentially complex, multi-step process and boil it down to a simple task as well as Softorino YouTube Converter 2 does. That’s because it’s a difficult technical and design challenge to hide complexity without creating an inflexible app with too many compromises. SYC does an excellent job avoiding the pitfalls.
One of the glaring features is that it has integrated YouTube in the app, so users don’t need to copy a link from YouTube and then paste it in the software. You can search for your favourite video or movie from the search field.
Download video from basically anywhere
While its name mentions strictly YouTube, we should point out that the program is much more capable than it lets see.
Besides YouTube, the application can download and convert videos and tracks from many other websites. This includes SoundCloud, Vimeo, BandCamp, VEVO, BREAK, CNN, DailyMotion, Facebook, Instagram, Audioboom, VK, LiveLeak, and many more.
Quick download and conversions
The SYC 2 download speed is significantly faster, the developer explained it boasted a 4x improvement over the original version. In a single click, you can get music and video downloads to any computer or Apple device ever created.
This is mostly noticeable when downloading larger 4K Ultra HD videos, and YouTube Converter 2 now supports VR 360 and high frame rate videos up to 60fps as well.
Using the 1080p download option on our Mac we were able to grab YouTube videos with no difficulty. And the playback quality was quite good at 1080p.
SYC2 provides three conversion choices: video, audio, and ringtone. If you opt for video, indicating the video quality that best suits your needs is possible, with 360p, 720p HD, 1080p HD, and 2160p 4K resolution being your alternatives. As for audio, you can choose from MP3, AAC, and “original” audio. Last but not least, regarding the possibility of making a ringtone, you can either opt for full length or only the 30 seconds recordings, but sadly there’s no way to trim a specific section.
From our test, converting an hour-long YouTube video into an MP3 took fewer than two minutes. We also tried to pull a 249-track playlist from a video game soundtrack. That took under 15 minutes to convert them all to MP3 files and add them to iTunes and my iPhone X.
Besides, no matter what device you have, you can still download iPhone X default ringtone to iPhone without iTunes! You can easily put it on your phone and even prank your friends saying you got the new iPhone X (even if just for a second).
In addition to these…
With the Wi-Fi connectivity feature built into SYC 2 you can free yourself from cords. When you launch the app, it will automatically find your iOS device ready to eat up any YouTube music, video or ringtone you feed it.
Softorino YouTube Converter 2 also automatically recognizes content you download. Thanks to Automatic Content Recognition technology it will fill in all the needed meta data, genre, and even proper artwork.
Besides, speaking of handy, the app provides the user with multiple options as regards the output location. You can thus save your media to a location on your computer or push it to your iOS device via WiFi. The transfer should be smooth and quick, so you don’t need to worry at all.
To sum things up…
Softorino YouTube Converter 2 is a powerful and at the same time approachable app you could turn to in order to grab audio and video from up to 60 Internet sources. Being oriented towards ease of use, the program manages to offer a competitive set of features, so it is definitely worth your attention.
Softorino YouTube Converter 2 (SYC2) is absolutely free to test for 14 days. The full, unlimited version retails for US$19.95.
Other YouTube video grabbers we considered
Personally, we prefer the SYC 2 app the most – use it to grab YouTube videos Mac owners! However since your needs and requirements might be different from ours, here are a couple of other options.
iTube Studio($29) isn’t just a video downloader for Mac, the app is multifunctional.
It lets you to download any YouTube videos, including YouTube 4K UHD videos and YouTube VEVO. Besides YouTube, it supports downloading videos from over 10,000 video sharing sites, including Dailymotion, Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, Vine, Soudcloud, Animeultima.io, BBC, TED, CBS, NY Times, FC2, Bilibili, etc.
iTube Studio is also a great video and audio converter that you can choose between various output formats, as well as converting the clips to preset formats compatible with mobile devices.
Plus, if any of the videos couldn’t be downloaded due to any restrictions or errors, you can record the live sessions and download them in any format you want.
Another convenient tool found in iTube Studio is the ability to directly transfer downloaded and recorded videos and music to iPhone, iPad, iPod and Android devices.
Probably the most feature complete option we considered, iTube Studio is the best choice for those who value function over form. It certainly gives you all the features you could want. You may download a free trial here.
Downie($19.99) is a simple app to help you downloads videos from YouTube and saves them on your Mac. But not just YouTube. The app supports video downloads for over 1,000 different sites(including YouTube, Youku, Bilibili, Vimeo, etc.,) and the list keeps growing.
Working with Downie is extremely straightforward, drop on a URL and Downie does the download. The app downloads MP4 files or extract audio only. And a nice feature is that you can get the best version of a video, e.g. Downie can grab the 4K version from YouTube if one is available.
What Downie is missing is a converter and a way to transport videos to iTunes or idevice.
If you’re looking to rip some music from YouTube, but leave the video behind, then 4K YouTube to MP3 will get the job done. The app was specifically created for audio extraction from YouTube, VEVO, SoundCloud and Facebook in MP3, M4A, OGG format.
Simply drag and drop links to your favorite songs and get MP3 files to your computer, easy like that.
A feature that you are definitely going to find useful is the fact that Transfer songs directly to your iPhone and iPad even iPod everywhere you go. You can also share on Facebook or Twitter all the items converted with 4K YouTube to MP3, directly from the main window.
There were no bugs or crashes registered during our tests. Free basic functions, $9.95 for lifetime license on 3 computers.
ClipGrab is a free, fast and easy to use video downloader. It can download videos in HD, and supports most major video websites including YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion,etc. What we like is that ClipGrab automatically detects when you paste a link to your clipboard via Growl alerts and can auto download it if you want.
ClipGrab can convert(although conversion is limited to Intel Macs) downloaded videos to MPEG4, WMV, OGG Theora, MP3 and OGG Vorbis or simply store the videos in their original format.
However, when we downloaded a video in FLV format from Vimeo, we couldn’t select any other formats from the drop-down menu so it may be that conversion doesn’t work for all sites.
Our YouTube downloading software review: summed up
As you can see from this article — there are a lot of different YouTube video downloaders for Mac out there.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to have a dedicated piece of software for downloading YouTube videos, then Airy is the great choice.
If you want to download YouTube videos to iPhone, iPad and Mac, then SYC 2 is totally universal.
So if we have to choose what works best for us – it’s certainly Softorino YouTube Converter 2(SYC 2).
At $19.95, SYC2 is the same price to Airy. But SYC 2 provides compelling advantages like the ability to transfer files directly to iOS devices, Vimeo support, and higher-quality M4A encoded audio.
You may also get the Softorino Entertainment Kit 2 (saving 10 USD) to boost your iPhone’s entertainment potential.