How to Download YouTube Videos

Can you download YouTube videos?

You can download videos from YouTube, but only if they're your own, and only under specific circumstances.

Why you can't download other people's YouTube videos

There are several websites and programs out there that allow you to download other people's YouTube videos, or at least the audio from them.  However, they are all more-or-less illegal, or at least in violation of YouTube's rules, for at least two reasons.

First of all, downloading someone else's YouTube video means that you're taking control of something that someone else made.  With that control, you could modify the video and/or pass it off as if you made it, all without the original author's permission.  That's stealing, or more specifically, copyright infringement.

Secondly, almost all of the content on YouTube is free because YouTube is supported by advertising revenue (see our How Does YouTube Make Money article).  By downloading music or videos off of YouTube, you're taking the advertisements out of them, which deprives YouTube of the money it needs to keep itself free to use for the majority of its users.

Therefore, it is our recommendation that you avoid using these third-party downloading services.  Otherwise, you run the risk of suffering consequences for breaking YouTube's rules, or infringing on someone else's copyright (which is a criminal offence).

When can I download my own videos from YouTube?

You can download MP4 file versions of your own YouTube videos, but only under the following circumstances:

  • Your video has not been removed from YouTube for breaking YouTube's rules.

  • Your video does not contain a copyrighted song that YouTube has made available for users to use in their videos.

  • Your video does not contain other copyrighted material that you are being allowed to use under "fair use" rules.

  • You have not downloaded more than one video in the last hour, or the same video more than four times in the last 24 hours.

Basically, these rules make sure that you're downloading YouTube videos only for legitimate purposes, such as replacing the original files on your computer if you accidentally deleted them.

How to download YouTube videos

  1. Go to in your web browser and log in.

  2. Click on My Channel in the left-hand menu (click the icon beside the YouTube logo if you can't see this menu).

  3. Click on Video Manager in the top-left corner.

  4. Click the small arrow beside the Edit button next to the video that you wish to download, and then select Download MP4 from the drop-down menu.

  5. A save prompt will appear.  Click the button beside "Save File", and then click OK.

  6. An explorer window will appear to let you choose where you want to save your file.  Navigate to the location and then click Save.

    (NOTE: Sometimes, if you haven't set your web browser up to manually choose where to save Internet files, they will automatically be sent to your "Downloads" folder.)

  7. Now, simply find the location where you downloaded your video to, and double click your video to play it!

That's pretty much all there is to downloading videos from YouTube!


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