How to download and view YouTube videos offline on Android, iOS, Windows, and OS X

Google has announced that users of its YouTube mobile app from India, Indonesia, and the Philippines can download videos to watch them offline when a high-speed data link is not available – but what about the rest of us?

Downloading or “ripping” YouTube videos has always been a relatively simple task on the desktop, with various tools and web services available to help you do just that, whether saving YouTube to MP3 or to video. Both Savefrom and Keepvid have long offered a simple web interface where users can paste in the YouTube, Vimeo, or other video streaming site URL and then download the video file in bitrates of up to 1080P in formats including MP4, WEBM, 3GP, or FLV, or even just the audio as an MP3 file.

If you’d prefer to download YouTube videos without using a 3rd party website, then the ever reliable JDownloader is free and cross-platform (Java) and will make downloading from nearly any site easier, including YouTube – offering you the same quality and format choices as the web services above. It’s just about the only reason to have Java installed on a home PC.

On mobile, if you’re using android then you can still use Savefrom and Keepvid, but there are also apps dedicated to the task like the open source YouTube Downloader. It works elegantly with the official Android YouTube app and adds an option to download with YouTube Downloader from the share link on each video. Videos can then be downloaded in the same formats and bitrates as above.

Another option on Android is TubeMate, which lets users simply browse YouTube from within the TubeMate app, and then download the videos with a single click.

For iOS users, Video Downloader Lite Super – VDownloader lets users browse the YouTube website from within the app, and then press on the video screen for a couple of seconds for a menu to pop up with the download option.

Photograph by Rego Korosi

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