How to Download YouTube Videos on Android in 5 Easy Steps

YouTube and Spotify apps on a smartphone screen.

How to Download YouTube Videos on Android in 5 Easy Steps

Key Points

  • Downloading YouTube videos on Android can be done in five easy steps, including selecting the video, activating the drop-down menu, and choosing the resolution.
  • YouTube Premium subscription allows legal downloading of videos for personal viewing, costing $11.99 per month for individuals and $17.99 per month for groups.
  • Third-party tools like TubeMate and Y25s can be used to download videos, but they may violate copyright laws or YouTube’s terms of service.

You might find yourself in a situation that requires you to download YouTube videos if streaming them isn’t a viable option. Maybe you’re in a place where you have to wait, such as the dentist’s office, the mechanic, or the DMV. Maybe this location has a terrible Wi-Fi connection. Worse, maybe it has no Wi-Fi at all. If you have a phone plan with limited data, you could be stuck watching whatever random general interest program is left on the lobby TV or occupying yourself with a communal magazine.

Or, if you plan ahead, you can download YouTube videos and spend your time on entertainment that will actually pass the time. This tactic of preloading your Android phone or tablet with videos may also be a lifesaver when you’re flying. Now when you’re on a layover and stuck in a lobby with spotty Wi-Fi, or worse, connectivity blinks out when you’re flying at 20,000 feet, you’ll be prepared. Here’s how to download YouTube videos on Android in five easy steps.

Download YouTube Videos on Android in 5 Easy Steps

1. Open Your YouTube App

Tap on the red and white YouTube icon to open the app on your Android device.

Download YouTube videos Android
The YouTube app is represented by a white and red icon with a white arrow in the center.


2. Activate the Drop-Down Menu

Tap the three dots on the video you wish to download in order to make the drop-down menu appear.

YouTube Videos on Android
These three dots will open a menu that includes a download option.


3. Download Video

Tap “Download video” to begin the process of downloading.

Download YouTube on Android
Selecting “Download video” will initiate the download process.


4. Select the Resolution

A higher resolution will give you a better picture, but it will also take up more space on your storage drive. Choose the resolution that best suits your situation. If you’re downloading a lot of videos, it might be a good idea to go with the lower resolution.

Download YouTube Videos on Android
Selecting a higher resolution will produce a larger file size



5. Hit Download

Once you’ve pressed this final download button, your device will automatically complete the process.

Download YouTube Videos on Android
This final download button will save the video to your device.


After that, it will take a few minutes to download depending on the size of the video. However, once it has finished, you will be able to access the video offline. It should be noted that this is the way to download videos if you have a YouTube Premium subscription. It is the proper way to download YouTube videos and the way we highly recommend. There are other ways to download YouTube videos on Android, but those have drawbacks which we will discuss below.

As you can see, downloading YouTube to your Android device is easy. In fact, downloading YouTube videos to any device — Android, iPhone, laptop, or PC — is easy and legal if you have a YouTube Premium membership! YouTuber Kevin Stratvert explains why a YouTube Premium membership is worthwhile and walks you through downloading videos to your preferred device. Let’s see how!

Downloading YouTube Videos on Android: Copyrighted Content

YouTube’s Terms of Service do state that users are authorized to download a video through their YouTube Premium account for watching videos outside the official app. This comes with the condition that users will not have access to the file for purposes beyond personal viewing.

If you aren’t a Premium member and you are looking to download a couple of videos by using a third-party tool, be careful. According to YouTube, using a third-party downloader could potentially be a violation of copyright law. Whether or not copyright comes into play, you will be in breach of YouTube’s Terms of Service. This means that unfortunately, YouTube has the right to suspend or even terminate your account

Videos That Are Safe to Download

There are videos that you can legally download from YouTube via a third party, you just have to be careful. Pay attention to the type of video you are downloading to ensure you are not breaking any copyright laws. The types of videos that are typically safe for download include:

  • Public domain videos that are not covered by any additional copyright
  • Any videos that fall under a Creative Commons (CC) license
  • Personal videos shot by family or friends that have given you expressed permission

YouTube Premium

Legally downloading the majority of YouTube videos will typically require a YouTube Premium subscription. Premium will set you back $11.99 per month if you get the package for individuals. Groups will cost $17.99 per month but it covers up to five people in the same household. The group package will also get you a couple of added benefits, most notably a YouTube Music subscription.

The rules, as well as the process for downloads, will be the same whether you have a group or individual subscription. Using YouTube Premium is the safest and easiest way to download a video from YouTube. However, the price, or maybe the fact that users can’t access downloaded videos outside the app, may make turning to a third-party tool a necessity for some. If you find yourself in this situation, there are a few words of caution you should heed.

Third-Party Tools

Just to reiterate, Youtube Premium is our preferred and recommended way to download YouTube videos on Android. If, however, this isn’t an option for you, there are other download methods out there for you. Be warned though, these may violate copyright laws, or even YouTube’s terms of service, which could result in fines or the suspension of your Google account. Furthermore, using third-party software comes with the risk of viruses, spyware, and malware. Be cautious when using these third-party tools and definitely consider some anti-virus software.

Downloading YouTube Videos on Android: TubeMate

If you are in a situation where you have to use a third-party tool, TubeMate YouTube Downloader might be your best bet. This app allows users to watch, search for, and, of course, download YouTube videos. The downloading process is a background function, which is useful in case you want to do other tasks while you wait for your videos to download.

Unfortunately, it isn’t available on the Google Play Store. To get TubeMate, you’ll have to download it as an APK file. However, once you have it, you can use it to download videos from other streaming sites like Vimeo and Dailymotion. You’re not just limited to YouTube. 

TubeMate is a crowd-pleaser, mostly because it is intuitive. Just about anyone can figure out how to use it. If you’re struggling though, we can walk you through it. 

  1. Download TubeMate.
  2. Using the app, locate the Youtube video you want to download.
  3. Hit the Download icon.
  4. Select your desired video quality.
  5. Hit the Download icon again (it’ll be red this time). 

Downloading YouTube Videos on Android: Y25s

The nice thing about Y25s is that you don’t have to download an app the way you do with TubeMate. This is advantageous if your device is running low on storage space, and even if it isn’t, it’s nice to be able to have as much free space as possible if you are downloading videos. Videos tend to be rather large files, so if you can download them without an additional app dedicated to the process, even better. You can access the Y25s site from the browser of your choice such as Chrome, Firefox, or Opera. 

It should be noted that sites such as Y25s may violate Google and YouTube’s policies depending on how they are used. As such, they are often blocked, or dismantled following a cease and desist. They can also be difficult to locate, for fairly obvious reasons. Google owns YouTube, so if you try to use the ubiquitous search engine to locate a website that may help you violate its policies, you could be out of luck.

Once a site like this hits the top of Google’s results, it’s often not long for this world. Once Google knows about it, odds are they are going to do all they can to kill the site. Y25s is functional at the time of writing, just understand that your mileage may vary. 

Here is the process for using Y25s:

  1. Visit the Y25s site by going here.
  2. In a separate tab, copy the URL of the YouTube video you wish to download.
  3. Return to the Y25s tab, paste the YouTube URL, and hit “Start.”
  4. Select your desired resolution and hit “Get Link.”

Wrap Up

Downloading a few videos you may want to watch offline is a good idea. Especially if you know you might be in a situation where you may need to kill time. This goes double if there’s a good chance you may not have access to reliable Wi-Fi and your data plan is limited. While we recommend using YouTube Premium for this operation, there are many other options available to those who can’t use Premium for one reason or another. We mentioned TubeMate and Y25s, as those are a couple of the more reputable options, but there are plenty of other tools out there if you know where to look. 

Summary Table

1Open Your YouTube App
2Activate the Drop-Down Menu
3Download Video
4Select the Resolution
5Hit Download

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to download YouTube videos in order to watch them?

Absolutely not. In most everyday situations you can enjoy YouTube videos by streaming them. Downloading is a good option for those with limited data who may not have access to Wi-Fi. It could be someone on a bus, a plane, or at a convention, but your average Andriod user on any given day won’t need to utilize this feature.

There are a lot of video downloaders out there. Why bother with YouTube Premium?

We recommend YouTube Premium as it is the only way to be sure that you are not infringing on copyright laws or violating your YouTube user agreement. If that’s not enough of a reason for you, YouTube Premium is also the safest option in terms of avoiding viruses and other malware. It may cost a bit of money, but really you are buying peace of mind.

Can I legally download videos that my family and friends made?

You still have to be careful here. Even if they’ve never filed for copyright protection, they are still the technical owner of that video. Copyright law extends even to those who don’t register, it’s just that registration gives an extra layer of legal protection which is why most large companies with valuable intellectual property pursue it. If you have the express permission of your friend or family member to download it, then you’re most likely okay. Of course, you could still be in violation of YouTube’s terms of service, so double-check that.

What about public-domain videos?

These are probably the safest bet, legally speaking. These are videos that are technically owned by all of us, so you are legally free to download and use them in whatever way you see fit. However, and I can’t stress this enough, double-check those YouTube terms of service if you aren’t using Premium. It really can be a headache.

Can I download music from YouTube?

A lot of the same rules apply here. YouTube Premium subscribers can download music from YouTube Music. Technically you could download music by using a third-party tool and a YouTube video that contains the song (like a music video). Some of these outsider tools come with the option to download the video as an MP3 file, rather than MP4. Again, using these services can be risky, so that is why we generally advise against it.

Do I need to copy and paste the URL if I’m using TubeMate?

You do not. This is another advantage TubeMate has over something like Y25s. TubeMate actually comes with its own search feature. You can access YouTube videos right from the TubeMate app, which can save you extra steps in the download process.

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