YouTube finally brings video downloads to the web in latest experiment

YouTube Axon 10 Pro
YouTube Axon 10 Pro (Image credit: Jason England / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • YouTube's latest experiment lets users download videos from the desktop site.
  • When enabled, a download button will appear underneath the video.
  • The feature is available only until October 19, after which Google may or may not choose to pursue it further.

One of the benefits of having YouTube Premium is the ability to "download" videos for offline viewing later. However, this feature has been surprisingly absent from the desktop version of YouTube. That is starting to change thanks to a new experimental feature that's available to test out.

When visiting YouTube's experiments page, a new item has appeared, as pointed out by Android Police, allowing users to add a "Download" button to the desktop site. Once enabled, the button will appear underneath a video of when clicking the three-dot menu when browsing. It will also show up in the side panel for easy access to the downloaded content, along with a new Downloads page in the settings menu to adjust the resolution.

Youtube Downloads Button Web

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Offline videos are saved within YouTube and come in handy when you're in an area with poor cellular reception, and they should also come in handy on the web. It's a feature that has been available on the best Android phones for quite some time, and while it's unclear why it's taken this long to bring the feature to the desktop site, it's nice to see it making its way.

YouTube TV also recently rolled out with a new add-on that enables content to be downloaded for offline viewing, although it appears to only be available for mobile devices.

The experiment will last only until October 19, so you should enable it as soon as possible if you want to take advantage of offline videos on your desktop. With any luck, Google will make this a permanent feature as it seemed to have done with comment translations, a feature that was previously featured on the experiments page.

The feature can also be enabled through a mobile device, although YouTube experiments are only available to Premium members. The "Download" button will appear on Chrome, Edge, and Opera browsers.

Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.