How to Download YouTube Videos on an iPhone

How to Download YouTube Videos on an iPhone

When you have a reliable internet connection, you don’t think about how you watch YouTube on your iPhone. It just works. But there are plenty of times when you either need to go offline, or give your data plan a break. For these situations, it’s pretty easy to download YouTube videos on your iPhone to watch them offline or without using data—but not all the methods are exactly equal.

This one’s a bit complicated. If you download videos to your iPhone using YouTube’s service (more on that below), it’s 100% on the up-and-up. However, the platform does not approve of downloading videos from its servers outside of that capacity. It’s actually against YouTube’s terms of service for app developers to make YouTube downloaders and put them on app stores.

That said, the company won’t do a thing about it if you do download videos from third-party solutions. Where they will take action is if you upload those videos, especially copyrighted videos, back online. So, play it safe: Download these videos only for your own personal use.

How to download videos using YouTube Premium

YouTube’s preferred method for downloading videos on your iPhone is, of course, by paying for the service. With YouTube Premium, you’ll find a convenient “Download” button next to most videos on the platform, so you can quickly save your favorite videos for offline viewing anytime.

There are other perks to YouTube Premium, including avoiding ads before videos and the high-quality “1080p Premium” bitrate, for $US13.99 per month. It’s an expensive way to download your YouTube videos, but it is the way YouTube approves of.

Use a shortcut

If you don’t have YouTube Premium, you can turn to your iPhone’s Shortcuts app. Shortcuts is a treasure-trove of powerful programs. Some of those just happen to be YouTube downloaders.

The problem is, these shortcuts tend to break fast. It’s not clear exactly why, but it’s possible YouTube frequently changes things on its end and stops these shortcuts from working. That wouldn’t be so bad if developers stuck around and patched the issues are they pop up, but, unfortunately, these shortcuts are often abandoned. So, when something goes wrong, the shortcut is useless.

One shortcut that I have found works is Sur. Sur is pretty straightforward: Once installed and run, you need to give it permission to connect to its host sites, then choose whether to paste a YouTube URL, or pull from your clipboard. Sur treats your URL as a “contact” to send to the site it uses to download the video, so you’ll need to give permission to send this “contact” to the site. Allow it to run, then allow Sur to connect to the Google Video URL. How long you wait from here depends on the size of the video in question, but once it’s done, tap “OK” on the pop-up to choose what you want to do with the video. Since this pulls up the share sheet, you can kind of do anything you want with it: You can save it to your iPhone or your Files app, send it through Messages or a third-party app, AirDrop it, save it to a Note, whatever you want to do.

A previous version of this article recommended JAYD (Just Another YouTube Downloader), and if you searching around the internet, you’ll find older posts about the shortcut as well. Unfortunately, it seems to have met the same fate as other YouTube downloaders, so we can’t recommend it anymore.

Use a YouTube downloader site (but be cautious)

Mobile browsing on iPhone has come a long way. In many respects, it’s just as capable as browsing on a Mac or PC. For example, you can actually use a YouTube downloader in Safari and download a YouTube video just as you would on desktop.

This method isn’t recommended, however. The YouTube downloaders online can be spammy, blasting you with sketchy ads and giving off an overall malicious vibe. Still, it does work, so it’s a notable option. But I’d stick with Sur, or another reputable YouTube downloader shortcut if you can.

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