Saving MP4 versions of YouTube videos onto a PC is possible, even though YouTube would rather you not do it. While you may want to watch clips when you're without a signal, or download them in case the clips are taken down, you'll need to circumvent the service to get it done, which is often done with an app or website commonly referred to as a YouTube downloader (or MP4 converter).
Oh, and since you're taking a risk by going against YouTube's rules, we've got an explanation on your risk at the bottom of the page.
How can I download .MP4 files of YouTube videos to watch offline on a PC?
OnlineVideoConverter is the best YouTube downloader for easily pulling videos on a PC. The catch? This site often runs nauseating ads, and sites like these — that offer a free service that people often pay for — often spam users with notifications, as documented here.
1. Copy the URL of a YouTube video.
2. Open Online Video Converter and paste (Ctrl+V) the URL into the address field. Decline the site's offer to send notifications.
3. You may need to close a pop-up window. That's the price you pay for breaking the rules.
4. Select a file format. As you'll see here, OVC defaults to .MP4, the file preference of choice for many.
5. Click More Settings to find resolution options.
6. Select a preferred resolution (for highest quality, skip automatic and pick the highest resolution).
7. Uncheck the Convert From and Convert To boxes and add times if you don't want the whole video.
8. Click Start.
9. Click Download.
Which is the best app for downloading YouTube videos on a PC?
The best Windows 10 YouTube Downloader is Parallels Toolbox, which offers reliability and smooth process. The one downside? It's $19.99 per year, though that’s $123.89 cheaper than a year of YouTube Premium.
Here's how to use Parallels Toolbox on a PC:
1. Copy the URL of the YouTube video you want to grab (click in URL bar, click Ctrl+A and then Ctrl+C).
2. Open Parallels Toolbox from the taskbar, which you may need to expand to show.
3. Click Download Video.
4. For options, click the settings icon.
5. Here you'll get options for Video Quality and file destination. Click the downloads icon to return.
6. Next, click Paste (or drag and drop) to insert the YouTube URL into the utility and start the download.
7. Your download progress will display.
8. Right-click on a finished download and select Show in File Explorer.
You've saved a video for offline!
What is the best free app for downloading YouTube videos on a PC?
Looking to get away with spending zero dollars? The best free YouTube downloader is 4K Video Downloader. That said, its free version is a tremendously flawed app.
When I tested it out, I discovered that you need to pay at least $19 per year to unlock its premium version, and without the premium version, you're stuck at glacial download speeds, where it took 47 minutes to download a 5-minute-and-45-second clip.
Further, I wouldn't put it on my own computer, because I don't trust any free app that allows you to violate terms of service. You never know what other apps from that company are coming with that app, and what user-tracking those apps are doing.
4K Video Downloader works just like the other options, where you copy and paste a YouTube address into it, and watch as the video lands on your computer.
Breaking YouTube's Terms of Service
While YouTube Premium allows iOS and Android users to save clips to watch later, that's not available on the PC. 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.
I'm guessing that your PC isn't your only computer, so you'll probably want tips for downloading YouTube clips on other platforms. Check out our guides for YouTube downloaders for Androids, YouTube downloaders on iPhones and iPads and YouTube downloaders on macOS.
Credit: Tom's Guide