What is a YouTube Downloader?
A YouTube downloader is a general term for any software which facilitates the downloading of videos from YouTube and possibly other video sharing websites. There are several types: How to download mp3.
This type of application requires an install and runs on Windows or Mac. Desktop software generally provides more functionality and power than web applications. For instance, they might allow you to download entire playlists, rather than individual videos one-at-a-time, and converting these to MP3 with a single click of a button. We don’t know of any web-based downloaders which currently allow you to do this.
Browser extensions a.k.a. add-ons for Google’s Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox, Opera, or Microsoft’s Edge are generally slightly more convenient than websites since they might add a button right below a YouTube video, but they’re still web-based and as such, they present the same issues: reduced video quality and other limitations, as well as obnoxious or shady (pop-up) advertisements.
Any mobile application for iOS or Android which allows downloads from YouTube will never be allowed into Google’s Play store. Why? Because its main purpose is a violation of YouTube’s Terms Of Service. Remember who owns YouTube? Yup, Google.
There are a few Android APKs available which you can install only after disabling security mechanisms on your phone. We cannot stress enough that this is a very bad idea. Even trustworthy developers such as Epic have introduced a vulnerability which allowed hackers to install malware on Android devices.
You should not trust that any YouTube APK (such as TubeMate, VidMate, and others) that you download outside of the Google Store will not steal your personal information and share your vast collection of dick-picks to your favorite social networks. Don’t do it. It’s not safe. Period.
A web-based YouTube downloader’s main advantage is that it does not require you to install anything. This might be very useful if you’re on a computer that’s not your own for instance. However, there are also some drawbacks. It generally offers the least ease-of-use since it can’t be integrated with your system, usually won’t allow you to set any preferences, nor do any of them support multiple downloads.
Furthermore, since these websites use server resources, which aren’t free, practically all of them will limit the length and/or quality of the videos that are being downloaded. We do not know of any that allow 1080p content to be downloaded in its original quality for example.
To top it off, most of these websites are also completely overloaded with shady or annoying advertisements. Of course, you could use an ad-blocker such as the well-known AdBlock for Google Chrome, but many of the websites are catching on and disabling their services for users who run ad-blockers.
A very prominent example of an online downloader was KeepVid, which we won’t link to since it was recently shut down, and has been replaced with an informational page, albeit a very bad one with broken English. Another popular online downloading and conversion service is OnlineVideoConverter, but it is barely usable due to the excessive ads and restrictions.
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Am I legally allowed to download videos from YouTube?
The short answer to this question is: “Yes”. However, there are some nuances as you may be in violation of the terms of service you agree to when using YouTube. Although it is technically a breach of contract, it’s not considered illegal or criminal. As far as we know, nobody has ever gotten into trouble for downloading videos from YouTube in the past, and it’s extremely unlikely to ever happen in the future.
Yet, despite the fact that you as a consumer are unlikely to face any consequences, we do not wish to encourage or condone the practice of breaching YouTube’s TOS. As such, we recommend that you only download videos to which YouTube has added a download-button, and/or to which you personally hold the copyrights.
The historical precedent for the legality of recording copies of copyrighted content for personal use was set by Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417 (1984), a.k.a the “Betamax case”. This was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States ruling that the making of individual copies of complete television shows for the purpose of time-shifting does not constitute copyright infringement.
The court stated: “When one considers the nature of a televised copyrighted audiovisual work and that time-shifting merely enables a viewer to see such a work which he had been invited to witness in its entirety free of charge, the fact that the entire work is reproduced does not have its ordinary effect of militating against a finding of fair use.”
Although there is no clear-cut way to apply the logic of this ruling from the VCR-era to today’s video downloading software, the general consensus seems to be that downloading content from YouTube and similar websites for the purpose of personal use only, f.i. watching it at another time or on a different device which may not be connected to the Internet, is not at all different from timeshifting and would in all likelihood be considered fair use.
What happened to SaveMedia’s website?
SaveMedia was a popular online video downloading website. It had a browser extension for Opera which could be run in Chrome as well using Chameleon.
The SaveMedia website offered the following functionality free of charge:
Download YouTube videos up to HD resolution
Convert videos to MP3/WebM audio with a single click
Unlimited free conversions and downloads
No additional software required
Compatible with mobile phones
The owners of SaveMedia shut down the service and sold the domain name because the service was not profitable on January 5th of 2018.
Someone has cloned the SaveMedia website and launched it with the.website extension, but this service does not seem to work. When attempting to download a video, some shady ads are displayed but no file is provided. We recommend switching to Viddly if you’re a Windows user.
What happened to KeepVid’s online video downloading service?
KeepVid went offline in March of 2018. They used to offer an Android app, a web-based downloader, browser extensions, and a paid software application called KeepVid Pro. Their homepage used to look like this:
Their new homepage lists some general statistics about legal ways to download videos using YouTube Go, and it lists some websites you might visit to watch streaming videos such as Netflix and Hulu.
From the looks of it, although they won’t admit it, they must have received a threatening letter either from the Recording Industry Association of America or directly from YouTube demanding that they shut down their service.
What is the best video downloader for YouTube?
The best YouTube downloader in our opinion is Viddly. It’s simple to use, requires only a single click to initiate an MP3 or MP4 download, and it’s one of the fastest products in terms of download speeds. It’s free of charge unless you want to download entire playlists or download streaming video in which case you’ll require a subscription.
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Our #2 pick for Windows is VDownloader because it’s very feature-complete and powerful. There is a free version, although a Plus version with additional functionality such as local conversions and automatic feed-based downloads is also available:
Another solution for Windows is Orbit Downloader, although it’s quite outdated, and there are some reports that since version 22.214.171.124, Orbit Downloader includes a botnet-like module which performs DDoS attacks without the user’s knowledge or permission. As such, we can no longer recommend it.
For Mac, our favorite is Airy although it’s unfortunately not free of charge. Rumor has it that a Mac version of VDownloader will become available in the near future.
How do I convert YouTube videos to MP3 format?
We recommend a product called Viddly for this purpose. With a few simple steps, you can download a video as MP3 without requiring a conversion. This means it’s much faster than most competing products.
What happened to the Free YouTube Downloader software?
We have decided not to disclose anything at this time.