How to get YouTube Premium for free

We've already raved about YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red) and why it's worth $11.99, from the lack of ads and ability to play videos offline to great original content. But if you're wary of plunking down money -- and would rather try before you buy -- there are some options.

So here, we're going to keep track of the ways you can get free access to YouTube Premium. These instructions may change as Google shifts from Red to Premium, and we'll update this article if that's the case.

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Free trial options

First time subscribers to YouTube Premium don't need to pay before they hit play. The first time you sign up for YouTube Premium, you get 30 days before the company will charge you the first $11.99 per month fee. You can save a little money by signing up for YouTube Red before the switch to Premium on May 22, and keep the original $9.99 pricing.

A new offer for students started on Aug. 8, 2019, allowing students making new accounts to get a three-month trial of YouTube Music Premium (or YouTube Premium) — as opposed to the standard one-month trial, by visiting this site.

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You can get YouTube Red for free in two easy ways. Image: Yeamake / Shutterstock, Inc.

You can get YouTube Red for free in two easy ways. Image: Yeamake / Shutterstock, Inc.

There's just one big thing to note: do not sign up for YouTube Premium via the YouTube iOS app. If you do that, the discount won't apply and you'll never get the chance to get it, since it only applies to new subscribers.

Confused about how YouTube's paid services differ? Check out our YouTube Premium vs YouTube TV guide to learn how one is ad-free and the other has live programming.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.

  • espressonator
    Maybe I misunderstood? It seems to me that the title of this article is misleading. It says "How to Get YouTube Red For Free"; however, as I began to read the article, I noticed that it mentions a Google 30-day free trial. I don't know about other people, but It seems to me that there is a huge Huge HUGE HUGE difference between"Free" and "Free Trial".

    Someone please explain to me why the title says "Free", rather than "Free Trial".
  • thekrautdog
    Totally agree with first comment. The other angle, youtube red being included with a google play subscription, still costs 10 bones a month. That is not free. I never thought of tom's guide as being this kind of sight. I mean this is the cheesiest kind of missleading clickbait crap. Very disappointed.
  • Eric D
    To the first two commenters, YouTube Red is included free with a subscription to Google Play Music, that's "free", not a trial.
  • TheObserver0
    Technically Eric is correct, but I agree that the article's title is clearly misleading. 1st option is time limited. 2nd option is simply not free.
  • henrytcasey
    As the writer of this post, I understand that the article may not deliver the full solution you want, but I stand behind its headline and introduction.

    The headline gives a brief synopsis of the service I mean to offer: providing ways to use the service without paying for it.

    And as the intro says, this is a piece that will collect ways to try before you buy.

    I look forward to adding to this story as more opportunities pop up in the future. I hope we can find even better deals for this story, such as Google Home offered last year. I had hoped this article would lead with that deal, but it no longer exists.