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How to download YouTube videos to iPhone or iPad: a beginner's guide to saving videos to watch offline

Download YouTube videos over Wi-Fi and watch later

How to download YouTube videos to your iPhone or iPad

YouTube has recently changed its terms and conditions to prevent apps from downloading videos to watch offline. However, it doesn't seem to have affected all apps, so here's how to download YouTube videos to your iPhone or iPad.

UPDATE: YouTube promised to introduce offline watching, but this hasn't yet happened. It may also be much more limited than you might like, and it might also be a subscription service called YouTube Music Key. When it launches, or when offline viewing is added to the YouTube app we'll update this article.

If the following guide doesn't work for you, you can download the video via your PC or Mac, and then copy it to your iPad or iPhone. Here's a step-by-step guide explaining how to download YouTube videos to your computer.

See also: Is it legal to download YouTube videos?

How to download YouTube videos to your iPhone and iPad

Here we'll show you how to save videos so you can watch them at any time, even when there's no internet connection. There are many similar apps which can download YouTube video and they all work in the same way as we'll describe here. The app we're using here no longer works, but the process is EXACTLY THE SAME.

These apps are basically web browsers with the ability to save videos from certain websites - not just YouTube - but they cannot save those files so you can watch them in the native iPhone or iPad Videos app. Nor can they save only the audio from a music video to your Music library on your device. Apple doesn't allow this.

Having used such apps for years, we know that they often disappear from the app store, so search for 'video downloader' or 'YouTube downloader' and you will see a list of what's currently available. Right now, an app called Video Downloader Lite Super - VDownload works - at least on the iPhone we tested with - and you can have more than one downloader installed on your device.

One other thing to watch is that some free apps limit how many videos you can download before you have to upgrade to the 'pro' version. (You can click the images below to see larger versions.)

How to download YouTube videos to an iPhone or iPad

Step 1. On your device, go to the App Store and search for "Video downloader Lite Super - VDownload ". Make sure to include the '-' so the app appears first in the list of results. Or just click on the link above.

Step 2. The app is free, so tap 'Get' and then your password if prompted.

Step 3. Launch the app and the built-in browser should open. If it doesn't default to m.youtube.com, then type that into the address bar. This is YouTube's mobile site. If you're using an iPad, type www.youtube.com to get the desktop site.

Step 4. Tap the magnifying glass on YouTube's website (circled, middle, below) and enter your search term. (We highly recommend watching the entire Project Binky series, by the way.)

How to download YouTube videos to your iPhone or iPad

Step 5. Pick a video from the list of results and it will start to buffer. If it doesn't automatically play, tap the play button (circled, below-left) and you should see a little disk icon bobbing up and down (circled, middle).

You should see a pop-up with the option to Download the video, as below, right. It may not look the same as this - you might see a disk icon, like in the middle screenshot.

How to download YouTube videos to your iPhone or iPad

Step 6. The video will continue to play, but you should see a little red circle with 1 inside it as a 'badge' over the Downloads link at the bottom. If you can't see it, tap on the video to bring up the interface, then tap Done.

You can tap on Downloads to see the current download progress (shown below, left), and once complete, you'll find the file in the Files section, circled below right.

How to download YouTube videos to your iPhone or iPad

Step 7. To play a saved video, simply tap on the Files icon at the bottom and tap the one you want - it will start playing. Rotate your device to landscape to watch it full screen.

See also: How to Download YouTube videos to an iPad

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