To download YouTube videos for free, you need a free YouTube video downloader. Sometimes even two, since the first one either has a network problem or is stuffed with strange and intrusive ads.
Generally, the YouTube video downloaders available online are the first stop for people who want to download YouTube videos for free. But in some cases, these “free” YouTube downloaders charge more than we could ever imagine.
Problems with free YouTube video downloaders on the Internet
One of the golden rules of the Internet is: always be careful what you download. The same rule applies to downloading videos with online YouTube downloaders.
1. High risk of malware
If you google “download YouTube video”, you will see hundreds of self-proclaimed best video downloading websites on the Internet trying to lure you with their online video downloader. However, not all of them are supposedly reputable. Considering the huge competition, some of them might turn to other unethical activities to get money from users.
One of these methods is malvertising, where online ads are tagged with malicious code that redirects the user to a malicious website. Once you are forced to visit the malicious website, the perpetrators can install some kind of adware or mining botnet into your system to earn money even if you have closed the website. And it is not just malware. Visiting insecure websites makes you vulnerable to all kinds of viruses and Trojans that can cause even more damage, for example, stealing private data.
Copying videos from websites is not only dangerous but also illegal according to YouTube’s terms and conditions. In almost all countries where copyright laws apply, it is not allowed to download YouTube or make copies of copyrighted content. If caught, you can theoretically face a lawsuit or a fine.
Although YouTube has never taken action against a user who downloaded copyrighted content using a video downloader, this activity is still illegal. It is highly unlikely that the YouTube video you want to save is exempt from copyright laws. However, some YouTube videos are not covered by copyright laws, such as videos listed as Creative Commons (CC) and videos whose copyrights have expired. All in all, downloading YouTube videos is illegal.
How can I download YouTube videos for free and legally?
We have found that using YouTube video downloaders is not only unsafe but mostly illegal. Here I’ll show you how to download YouTube videos without software – by using the official YouTube app.
1. YouTube app
To legally download a video from YouTube, here is what you need to do:
- Use the official YouTube mobile app (Android/iOS).
- Tap on the video you want to download
- Tap the Download button just below the thumbnail of the video.
- Choose the video quality
- Tap OK to save the YouTube video.
The video is now saved in Downloads. You can watch or listen to the video even if you are offline. If you only want to download songs from YouTube, try the YouTube Music app, which lets you access millions of songs on YouTube and provides offline playback.
2. YouTube Go App
YouTube Go is one of Google’s lightweight Android apps designed for low-powered smartphones. However, users who want to download YouTube videos for free can use them to their advantage.
- To download YouTube videos on the Go version, follow these steps:
- Download the YouTube Go app (Android).
- Select the video
- Select the quality in the next menu
- Click the Download button
Why should you use the YouTube app to download videos?
Millions of people use YouTube to stream music. One of the main arguments for using a third-party YouTube downloader is that you can listen to the video while the screen is off.
However, this is an adage. With YouTube Premium, you can play videos while using other applications or when your screen is off. A YouTube Premium subscription for just $12/month offers background playback, an ad-free experience, and unlimited access to YouTube Music and YouTube Originals.
The biggest catch with downloading a video without a YouTube downloader software is that you can only play it in the YouTube app. All other problems with free YouTube downloads can be solved by buying a YouTube Premium subscription.