How to Download YouTube Videos on Your Android Phone

Senior Writer
Updated

Plenty of folks want YouTube downloaders on Android devices, to save videos that might get taken down for some reason or another, but the video platform offers only one legit way. Fortunately, some less-than-reputable options exist.

Just note that those unofficial options are risky. We've got details regarding YouTube's rules below.

How can I download YouTube videos to watch offline on Android?

YouTube Premium is the best way to download YouTube videos for watching offline on an Android device. But unlike many popular, unofficial third-party YouTube downloaders, it's a paid service, at $11.99 per month. That's just one of the service's tricks (which also include an ad-free experience and offline listening), and unlike the other options, you'll never get in trouble.

For a while, if you wanted to save YouTube videos to your Android smartphone, you had to use third-party software that likely violated the YouTube terms of service. That's no longer the case, as YouTube now allows for videos to be saved locally, once you sign up for its $11.99 monthly service.

You can unlock the ability to save YouTube videos to your phone for offline viewing by becoming a YouTube Premium subscriber. This service includes many other perks, such as an ad-free YouTube experience, access to exclusive YouTube Originals videos, YouTube Music Premium and Google Play Music (the company's Spotify competitor).

MORE: How to Move Android Apps to an SD Card

Apps within the Google Play Store claim to let you download videos, but not only do they likely violate the YouTube Terms of Service, we cannot vouch for them. They may include malware or adware that slows down or ruins the Android experience.

Before you start, make sure your YouTube app is up to date by opening the Play Store app, tapping the Menu button, tapping My Apps & Games and selecting YouTube. Tap the Update button if it's there and tap Open if it's not.

After you subscribe to YouTube Premium, here's how to download YouTube Videos to your Android Phone:

1. Tap the Download icon while watching a YouTube video in portrait orientation, and the video will download.

2. Select a resolution quality and click OK.

3. To find the videos you've saved for offline, tap Library.

4. Tap Downloads.

5. Tap on a video to play it. 

6. To remove videos, tap the Downloaded icon.

7. Tap Delete.

Now you know how to save YouTube videos to your phone!

Which is the best app for downloading YouTube videos on Android?

Let's say you don't care about the risk or even downloading incredibly sketchy-looking apps. You're OK with YouTube downloaders from developers you've never heard of, and you're not worried about what else they'll drop onto your phone.

Download All Video Downloader from the Google Play Store. Your next steps are simple:

1. In All Video Downloader, find a video by tapping on the magnifying glass and entering a search. Yes, you'll get spammed with ads during this process — another reason to pony up for YouTube Premium.

2. Open the video.

3. Tap the resolution menu. Again, you'll need to tap through another ad. Sorry, but this is what happens when you don't pay.

4. Select a download quality.

5. Tap download.

6. Tap the three dots button.

7. Tap Downloads.

You're downloading videos! You know how you hit an ad after each step in this process? That's part of why I pay for YouTube Premium.

Breaking YouTube's Terms of Service

Any other option on Android other than YouTube Premium breaks the rules and is performed using questionable means. By taking a video from YouTube, stealing the file from its server and saving it to your device, you're violating YouTube's terms of service, as explained here:

"You may access Content for your information and personal use solely as intended through the provided functionality of the Service and as permitted under these Terms of Service. You shall not download any Content unless you see a "download" or similar link displayed by YouTube on the Service for that Content."

If you violate the YouTube TOS, the company may terminate your account, as noted here: "YouTube will terminate a user's access to the Service if, under appropriate circumstances, the user is determined to be a repeat infringer."

We've also got tips for downloading YouTube clips on other platforms, with our guides for the YouTube downloaders on iPhones and iPads, YouTube downloaders for PCs and YouTube downloaders on macOS.

Credit: Tom's Guide