How to download Facebook videos: Download your friends Facebook videos to your PC

Facebook is a useful backup medium for our precious photos and videos, but only if we know how to retrieve them from the social network. And what if we want to download videos posted by others? Here's how to download Facebook videos. Also see: How to upload a video to Facebook

A reader wrote into PC Advisor to ask: How can I download Facebook videos on to my PC? I’ve stupidly deleted them off my hard drive, so Facebook is the only place when I have them stored. I would also like to be able to download videos posted by other people. Is there a way to do this?

Here's how we solved their problem:

How to download Facebook videos

There are a few ways to download Facebook videos to your PC, and there are free downloadable applications which can do it for you. However, many such applications also like to install various undesirable features at the same time, such as browser toolbars and other nonsense. Also see: 13 best Facebook tips and tricks. 

Here’s how to download any Facebook video to which you have access, using only your web browser.

How to download your own Facebook video

If you’re trying to download one of your own videos, the process is easy. Go to your timeline and click ‘Photos’. Next, click ‘Albums’ and then the album called ‘Videos’. If you hover the mouse over a video thumbnail, you’ll see a small pencil icon appear in the top right-hand corner. Click this icon to bring up a menu. From here you’ll be able to select ‘Download in SD’ or ‘Download in HD’. You may find that clicking on one of these links plays the video instead of downloading it. If this happens, you can right-click on the video as it plays and select ‘Save video as…’ to download it. Don't forget to Like PC Advisor on Facebook! 

Alternatively, you can right-click on ‘Download in SD’ or ‘Download in HD’ in the menu and select ‘Save link as…’ to save the video to your hard drive.

How to download a friend's Facebook video

If you want to download a Facebook video posted by someone else, the above method won’t work. You can, however, still download any video you can view on Facebook, by switching to the mobile site first.

Click on the video you want to download, then go to the address bar and change ‘www.facebook.com’ to ‘m.facebook.com’, leaving the rest of the URL as it is. This will take you to the mobile version of the page containing the video. Click the video to play it – don’t omit this step or the next step won’t work. Right-click on the video and select ‘Save video as…’ to download the video to your PC.

How to download a friend's Facebook video in HD

The above method will download only a standard definition version of the video. To download an HD version is more convoluted and requires use of your browser’s developer tools. There are many freeware tools and websites that offer to do this for free, but you should steer clear of these. Also see: How to block Candy Crush Saga and other app requests. 

In Google Chrome, navigate to the page containing the video you want to download. Be sure to click on the video to bring it up in its own window, don’t try this with a video embedded in your news feed.

Press Ctrl-Shift-I to bring up the Developer Tools pane. This should appear either at the bottom of the page you’re viewing or in its own pop-out window. Click on ‘Network’ in the top of the Developer Tools pane and play the video you want to download. Next, click the HD icon in the bottom-right corner of the video to play the HD version of the video.

The developer panel should start to fill up with information on all the elements of the page as they load. Click the funnel icon, three icons in from the top left of the developer panel. This allows you to filter the results to help you find what you want. Type video into the box and you should see at least one entry of the type ‘video/mp4’. If you see two of these, then one will be the standard definition video and the other will be the HD video.

You can follow a similar procedure in other browsers. First open up the Facebook video in its own page, then:

In Firefox, press Ctrl-Shift-Q to bring up the Network developer tab, then click ‘Media’ at the bottom to show only the videos on the page.

In Internet Explorer, press F12 to open developer tools. Then select the icon on the left which resembles a wireless router. Click the green triangle to enable network capturing and then play your video in HD. Scroll through the results until you find video/mp4 entries. Right-click on the video/mp4 entry and select ‘Open link in new tab’.

This will open the video in its own browser tab where you can right-click and select ‘Save video as…’ to save the video to your hard drive. These last steps are the same in all the major browsers, although the exact wording may vary a little.

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