With cellular data available in massive buckets with various plans, not to mention some that offer unlimited, most people don’t worry so much about going over their data caps anymore. You can often watch movies, stream music, surf the web, and game to your heart’s content while on the go. But sometimes, you want (or need) to be able to access content offline. This could be while the device is in airplane mode on a flight, where Wi-Fi or even cellular coverage is spotty (like at a campsite), or while traveling to avoid roaming charges. Whatever the reason, many streaming services offer offline downloads as an option, including YouTube, as long as you have a Premium subscription.
How to download YouTube videos to watch offline
1. Open the YouTube app on your device.
2. Find and open the video you want to download.
3. Tap Download in the menu that appears below the video.
4. If you don’t have YouTube Premium, you’ll see a prompt to get YouTube Premium, which is required to download videos. You can start the trial or select Not now if you wish not to proceed, OR;
5. If you have YouTube Premium, you’ll be given options for what resolution you can download the video in. Naturally, the higher the resolution, the more space the download will take up on your device and the potentially longer the video will take to download (though with good Wi-Fi or a solid cellular connection, this likely won’t be an issue). Choose the desired resolution and select Download.
6. Once selected, the video will automatically begin downloading and you’ll see Downloading along with the progress.
7. Once downloaded, the Download button will now show Downloaded with a white checkmark beside it.
As noted, to download YouTube videos for offline viewing, like the top trending videos to watch during your commutes, you need a YouTube Premium subscription, which is $11.99 a month, but you get a three-month free trial to check it out before committing.
Once downloaded, you have up to 48 hours to watch the downloaded video. If you haven’t gotten around to watching yet after the timeframe expires, you can reconnect to a mobile or Wi-Fi network and download the video again (if it’s still available for offline viewing). If it is no longer available, it will automatically be removed from your device the next time you sync it.
Once a YouTube video is downloaded, it resides locally on your device. That means it’s taking up valuable space so it’s a good idea to delete it once you are done watching and no longer need it. Deleting the video is simple: go to the Library tab, select Downloads, select Downloaded beside the video you want to remove and select Delete.
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Christine Persaud has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's working on her latest fitness program, binging a new TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets she's reviewing, or spending time with family and friends. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.