How to download YouTube videos

How to download YouTube videos. Download YouTube clips to iPhone, Android and more. 

We show you how to download any YouTube video to your iPhone, or Android phone. The methods aren’t straightforward, but that is the nature of the beast. Google doesn’t really want you to download someone else’s copyright material, and it isn’t going to make it easy for you to do so.

Fortunately, we are here to show you how to download YouTube videos. How to download YouTube clips to iPhone, and how to download YouTube clips to Android. (See also: How to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone.)

How to download YouTube videos to iPhone

This is much more involved than you might expect. But the process is basically install a media download app, find the URL of your preferred video, and then get the one to suck down the other. There are some clunky limitations here, so if you find a better way to do it please let us know.

On your iPhone, go to the App Store and search for ‘Documents 5’. Documents 5 is a free app that is useful for this exact purpose, although it isn’t straightforward – Apple doesn’t like to be seen to be promoting the downloading of copyright content. Install Documents 5, launch the app, and tap the bottom-right icon (it looks like the Safari compass).

This will display a web browser where you can search for ‘savefromnet’. Find ‘‘ in the search results, and tap it.

No you need to find the URL of the YouTube video you wish to download. Either find it via your iPhone web browser, or open the YouTube app. Then find the video you want, tap it to show the controls and hit the share icon (the bendy arrow pointing right). One of the options is ‘Copy Link’, and that is the one you want.

Once you have copied the link, return to the Documents 5 app. It is best to do this, the download stage, on Wi-Fi. Much data will be used here. Tap in the white box to select it, then tap again to bring up the Paste option. Paste in the video URL you copied from YouTube.

Download YouTube clips to iPhone
Download YouTube clips to iPhone

Now hit the green tick. You will see a list of resolutions. Choose the quality you want, remembering that higher quality means a bigger file on your phone. When you have chosen a quality that suits, hit the relevant green link, give your video file a name, and hit done. The video will now download to the Downloads section of the Documents 5 app.

Apple really isn’t going to make this easy for you, so you can’t then save the video file to your native Video app. But you can move it to the Camera Roll, by tapping holding the video file, and then dragging it to the Camera Roll. Head to that app to watch it any time you want. (Also see: How to stop running out of data on iPhone.)

How to download YouTube videos to Android

As with iPhone there are free apps available that help here. In this case they make it easier, because Android is more open than is iOS. However, it’s not all gravy. The app we are using isn’t on the Google Play store. Such is life. Follow our instructions and you will be okay.

The app is TubeMate: head to on your Android browser, and click to download a recent version from the provided list of verified sites. Your Android pone will want you that the file downloading can harm your device – this is only because it is software from outside the Play store. It’s cool. But you do have to open up your Android’s permissions.

Go to Settings, Security, and enable the option to allow installation from unknown sources. You will be warned again, but click through this. And remember to reverse this process when you have installed TubeMate.

Now install TubeMate. Use a File Manager to navigate to your phone’s Downloads folder, and find the relevant .apk file. Tap the file to begin the installation.

Samsung Galaxy S7
Samsung Galaxy S7

TubeMate will prompt you to agree to some permissions, so do so and click Install. Once it is installed, tap Open. Accept the Terms of Use. Once TubeMate launches, use the Search option to find the YouTube video you want to download and select it. At the top of the screen you’ll see a green arrow – tap this.

You will be offered a range of quality options for your download. Quality means big, remember. And also it makes sense to be on Wi-Fi at this stage. Make your choice and press the Download button.

Once your video has downloaded you’ll see a notification in the drop-down bar at the top of the screen. Tap it and TubeMate will open. Swipe in from the right to access your downloaded videos, or use the three dots icon at the top right and select Download List. Either way tap on any video to begin playing it.

The video files themselves are automatically saved into your smartphone’s Video folder. So you can move them from your device on to a PC and then another device. (See also: How to fix Android insufficient storage available error message.)

David Court
David is a professional journalist. He's been reviewing lifestyle and technology products since 2007. His CV boasts a series of high-profile websites that he's previously edited and managed. These sites include,,, and is his new project.


  1. safefrom used to be my favorite youtube downloader choice, but it can’t download HD youtube videos on my phone. For somesone who want to download 4k or 1080p videos, I’d recommend Acethinker Video Downloader, It is a free cloud based software to download videos without installing anything in your device.


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