YouTube can be a real time sink. One minute you’re watching a simple cooking tutorial and suddenly it’s two hours later and you’re watching a mini documentary on the most radioactive places on Earth. I get it, happens to the best of us.
The only surefire way you can balance watching the videos that interest and actually getting stuff done is to either save all the YouTube links you want to explore or perhaps download them for a more convenient time. Strictly speaking, the latter of those two is technically against YouTube’s terms of service, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to do it.
Here's how you watch Youtube offline, by downloading videos to watch them later when you're offline.
Websites for downloading Youtube videos
There are plenty of websites that let you download Youtube videos and watch them offline. All you really have to do is add a prefix to the “YouTube” in your video’s URL. To that end, there’s GenYoutube (just add gen right before “youtube” in the URL) for example. Conversely, you could instead visit the website you’ve chosen, and then from there navigate to the video you want to download. Either way, it’ll have a menu where you can pick the video resolution and quality that best suits your purposes.
The only problem here is that these websites require applets to be run, that request permission from your browser. In the rare event you’ve encountered one of these websites that happens to have malicious aims, you could compromise your system.
Browser plugins to download Youtube offline
The same goes for browser plugins like ‘Video Downloader professional’ for Chrome or ‘1-Click YouTube Video Download’ for Firefox. Just search for “youtube downloader” with your browsers name and you should find plenty. These will simply put a button into the menu bar of your browser. The problem with that is they can’t always be trusted, as well the fact that, because there’s a button sitting right there, it’s possible to download videos by mistake.
Smartphone apps to download Youtube videos
Smartphone apps are perhaps one of the safest ways to do this. Most apps that offer this won’t be available on the App store (Apple generally frowns upon this kind of behaviour and Google does own YouTube after all. Instead, you’re going to have to download an APK from a third-party site and install. That being said, if you do a quick search based on the names you find, that’ll give a good idea of which are the safe ones to use.
And no, that’s not as complex as you think.
All you need to do is go to your ‘Security’ tab in your smartphone settings menu and tap the checkbox that allows you to install app from “unknown sources”. After that, download the APK you want from a reliable website. Try TubeMate for instance, or Vid Mate. After that, you can use the app to browse youtube like you normally would in the official app. Just hit the download button on the video you want and select the quality.
That being said, if you're paying for a YouTube Red subscription, it offers video downloads. The same with YouTube Go, the company's low-bandwidth version of the base app. The only difference here is that not all videos are available for offline download.
PC software for downloading Youtube offline videos
However, your safest bet by far when it comes to downloading YouTube videos is through software for your computer. Any Video Converter is a great options here. While it does have a paid component, you can get the free version of the software. It’s also really handy when you need to edit videos of your own and they’re not in the right format
However, the best option by far is that of VLC Media player. This is a veritable Swiss knife of a playback tool, and one I’ve almost never seen stumped by a video format. The only thing is, the process to download itself can be a bit complex, though the software itself is fairly common among even basic users these days. Just click ‘Open Media’ in VLC, select ‘Network’ and paste the YouTube URl in the box. Now, select ‘Tools’, then ‘Codec Information’. Find the URL in the text bar marked ‘Location’ and paste it into your browser’s address bar. Now just right click and hit ‘Save As’ to get the video.
Again, we’re not suggesting you violate YouTube’s terms of service by downloading videos. But perhaps one of these methods might fix the black hole that sucks in all your time everytime you open up YouTube.