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How to Download YouTube Videos as MP4 files on iPhone, iPad

The iPhone and iPad may have the fewest ways to convert and download YouTube videos as MP4 files, but they're also the best. While only one method is YouTube-approved, there's a free tool that subverts the entire market of YouTube downloader apps and sites that's safer to use than any free third-party option you'll find anywhere else.

So, whether you need to keep a video that you're worried will disappear, or want to watch clips when you're away from cellular and Wi-Fi, here's how to download YouTube videos on an iPhone or iPad. If you're concerned about breaking YouTube's rules, we've got full details on that below.

How can I convert and download YouTube videos as MP4 files on the iPhone and iPad?

I didn't expect the iPhone to have the easiest, safest YouTube downloader on any platform, but that's the world we live in. This method even converts footage to MP4 files, one of the best formats for usability. It's all thanks to Reddit user Varoeldurr, who created a number of handy Siri Shortcuts, including the one we'll use here.

1. Update your iPhone or iPad to iOS 12.

2. Download the Shortcuts app (it may already be there if you've used Workflows).

3. Open this page on your iPhone or iPad and tap Get Shortcut.

4. Tap the Share button in any app.

5. Swiping left on the bottom row of icons until you get to the More button, and tap the More button. In the YouTube app, you'll do this twice.

6. Then, turn on the switch next to Shortcuts.

7. While watching a YouTube video, tap Share.

8. Select Shortcuts.

9. Tap Download YouTube.

10. Your file will download.

11. Tap Save to photo album.

12. Your video is now in the Photos app!

After you share that movie file to another system, one that recognizes files, you'll see that it's an MP4!

(Image credit: Apple)

How can I legally download YouTube videos on iPhone or iPad?

The only completely safe and legal way to download YouTube videos on an iPhone is with a YouTube Premium subscription. Then, you'll see a Download button under videos in the YouTube, a one-click to save way.

Of course, some might not want to hear this answer, because YouTube Premium costs $11.99 per month (or $9.99 if you started your membership back in the YouTube Red days). But I pay for the service because, among other features, it strips the ads out of the streaming service.

A bit of good news about this option: the YouTube app on iOS (and Android) is starting to allow for downloads at 1080p, an upgrade from 720p.

1. Tap Download while watching a video in the YouTube app.

2. Tap Library to find your downloads.

3. Tap Downloads. From here, you can tap the More button (the three dots) to delete videos from your device.

Which is the best app for downloading YouTube videos on iPhone or iPad?

Apple does a surprisingly good job of removing YouTube downloader apps from the iOS App Store, so your best option is to use the Shortcuts trick or just pay for YouTube Premium. I myself do the latter, giving my money to YouTube on a monthly basis, but that's also rooted in how I value an ad-free experience.

MORE: YouTube Music vs. YouTube Premium vs. YouTube Red

Breaking YouTube's Terms of Service

And for everyone who wants to download YouTube videos without YouTube Premium, I've got a warning for you.

If you follow any other method of downloading YouTube videos, 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.

But what about when you're on another device? Check out our guides for YouTube downloaders on Macs, YouTube downloaders for PCs and YouTube downloaders on Androids.

Credit: Tom's Guide