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How to download YouTube videos in Chrome

how to download YouTube videos in Chrome
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Knowing how to download YouTube videos in Chrome saves you from having to install a separate desktop program to grab copyright-free videos and those you have permission to download for personal use. 

For example, if you're a content creator, there's a YouTube channel called "Video library - No copyright Footage" that offers copyright-free videos, for free. To check a video's license type, click the "Show More" button in its description and look for License to see if reuse is allowed.

The problem is that Google doesn’t allow YouTube downloaders in the Chrome Web Store. There are lots of Chrome extensions for downloading videos from other sites, such as Vimeo, but they don’t work on YouTube.

You can download videos on your mobile device by subscribing to YouTube Premium. But in Chrome and other browsers, you’re restricted to watching them on the website, even if they're licensed for reuse. Or are you?

There is a workaround that lets you download copyright-free YouTube videos in Chrome, using the popular script manager Tampermonkey. This extension lets you install thousands of user-created scripts that perform lots of useful web tasks.

One of these scripts, called Local YouTube Downloader, can (as its name suggests) download YouTube videos in Chrome, without redirecting you to another site. It also works in Edge and Firefox, if you install Tampermonkey in those browsers.

Here we’ll explain how to use Tampermonkey to download YouTube videos in Chrome. But first, we'll look at the legal side of downloading to ensure you don't land yourself in trouble.

YouTube states in its Terms of Service that you’re not allowed to download any content, unless “specifically permitted by the Service,” or have prior written permission from YouTube or the respective rights holder. 

You can download videos through the YouTube app for Android and iOS by paying $11.99 per month for YouTube Premium, but to prevent piracy and copyright infringement, this option isn’t offered on the YouTube website.

Video downloaders aren’t illegal, but making copies of copyrighted content is. At the very least, your YouTube account could be terminated if you repeatedly violate the site's terms of service, and you may even face legal action. 

However, there’s lots of content on YouTube that is permissible to download, such as public domain videos that aren't copyrighted, clips covered by a Creative Commons license, and homemade videos that friends and family have shared with you (and have permitted you to download). 

Make sure you’re sensible about what you download, and definitely don’t redistribute videos from YouTube without permission.

How to download YouTube videos in Chrome: Install Local YouTube Downloader 

Although you won’t find YouTube video downloaders in the Chrome Web Store, you will find the Tampermonkey extension, which lets you install Local YouTube Downloader. Here’s how to set it up. 

1. Open the Chrome Web Store and search for “TamperMonkey” or go straight to the Tampermonkey Chrome extension page. Click "Add to Chrome" in the top-right corner.

how to download YouTube videos in Chrome - chrome webstore

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

2. Click "Add extension" to install Tampermonkey. For easy access, you can pin the add-on to Chrome’s toolbar. Click the Extensions button (the one that looks like a jigsaw piece) and select the ‘“Pin” option next to Tampermonkey.

how to download YouTube videos in Chrome - pin extension

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

3. The Tampermonkey website will open in a new tab and tell you the extension has been successfully installed.  

You should now head to a userscripts site called Greasy Fork, where you’ll find the Local YouTube Downloader script. Click the “Install this script” button

how to download YouTube videos in Chrome - greasyfork

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

4. This will take you to Local YouTube Downloader’s page on the Tampermonkey website. Click the Install button here to add the script to Tampermonkey

how to download YouTube videos in Chrome - install script

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

5. To check that the script installed correctly, click the Tampermonkey extension button and choose Dashboard. Here you should see Local YouTube Downloader listed as “Enabled." 

how to download YouTube videos in Chrome - dashboard

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

How to download YouTube videos in Chrome: Download a YouTube video 

Now that you’ve installed Local YouTube Downloader, it’s time to put it to the test with an uncopyrighted video, or one you have permission to download. 

Here’s how to use the script to download videos from YouTube directly in Chrome, or by using Tampermonkey in another browser.  

1. Visit the YouTube website in Chrome and find a video that's free of copyright or which you have permission to download. 

You can filter your search results to show only videos with a Creative Commons license. Click the Filters button at the top of the page and choose Creative Commons.

Click to play the video as usual. 

how to download YouTube videos in Chrome - creative commons

(Image credit: Google)

2. If you have an ad blocker installed, you’ll be prompted to copy a new “rule” to it, so the Local YouTube Downloader script can work. If you don’t know how to do this - or can’t be bothered - just disable your ad blocker instead. 

how to download YouTube videos in Chrome - copy rule

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

3. Once your ad blocker, or lack of ad blocker, allows the script to run, you should see a new option below the YouTube video player labelled “Download high resolution MP4 in one click.”

Click this and Local YouTube Downloader will convert the video to a hi-res MP4 file, and let you download it to your PC or Mac. Note that the script may not work on videos of more than 1080p resolution. 

how to download YouTube videos in Chrome - download mp4

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

4. To save the video at a different resolution and in a different format, click Show/Hide Links. This will open a range of download options, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. 

how to download YouTube videos in Chrome - show links

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

5. Click one of the Stream options on the left (we found those on the right didn’t capture audio) and the adjusted video player will open in a new Chrome tab. 

Right-click the video and choose "Save video as" to download it to your computer. 

how to download YouTube videos in Chrome - save video

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Robert Irvine

Robert Irvine is How-To Editor at Tom's Guide. He has been writing tutorials about software, hardware, websites and other tech topics since the days of dial-up modems, and was previously the editor of Web User magazine. Robert enjoys cooking, and makes a mean sausage casserole, but is definitely not the celebrity chef of the same name.

  • blackbear1
    Hi, I followed your instructions to the letter. The Greasy Fork script opened after I hit play on the video, but the Video and Audio don't seem to be downloading. (see image - now stuck like this for 10 minutes). (p.s. I have two different browsers open at the same time - the screen on the right is the Firefox browser (your instructions), and the screen on the left is the Chrome browser that I used to download TamperMonkey and Greasy Fork. Thanks for any help with this. (Windows 10 computer - should have plenty of hard disk space).
    Reply
  • blackbear1
    Updated: After 10 minutes, it started downloading, but the download rate says 17.43kB/s and it appears to be stuck again. Tested my internet download speed and it's currently over 200MB/s. Video is about 1% downloaded, Audio is about 15% downloaded...but not moving.
    Reply
  • blackbear1
    Okay. Seems to have downloaded after crashing Windows, restarting, restoring Chrome tabs, and now waiting a really long time for "Merging video, please wait..."
    Reply
  • blackbear1
    Oh great. I googled "Merging Video, please wait"...found a link to a Greasy Fork user forum in Chinese and when I clicked on translate, seems that 95% of YouTube videos using Greasy Fork get stuck at this stage. What a waste of time. Please check the details and test widely.
    Reply
  • blackbear1
    I deleted the image because it had personal information on it....trying YTD Video Downloader now.
    Reply