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How to Download YouTube Videos on Mac Easily

Do videos lag when viewing them in HD quality? When you know how to save YouTube videos on Mac, many streaming issues become trivial. Downloading videos as MP4 files (and other formats) allows you to watch at your leisure. And there are plenty of other reasons to back up your favorite clips. Interested on how to download videos from YouTube on Mac? You’ll find the answer below.

Save a YouTube video to Mac with Airy

How to Download YouTube Videos on Mac Desktop

Out of all the ways to download a YouTube video on Mac, desktop apps are the most advantageous. Desktop development facilitates high security, feature richness and continuous support. Airy is a great example - a convenient, versatile YouTube video downloader which can handle playlists just as well as single videos. It’s especially great if you need subtitles - any available subtitles will be acquired and saved into separate .srt files.

Use Airy to download a YouTube video in 3 clicks

Airy Guide: How to Download a YouTube Video

1. After downloading Airy, install it.

2. Open a YouTube page, copy the address.

Step 1 on how to download from YouTube for free with Airy.

3. Paste it in Airy. The video will show up in the queue.

Step 2 on how to download videos from YouTube for free with Airy

4. Set the quality/format setting and start it up.

Step 3 on how to save YouTube videos for free

It’s quite clear that online streaming has its disadvantages. How to watch YouTube offline on Mac? Pre-downloaded playlists are the best, but not the only way. Various apps and extensions exist to deal with this daunting task.

Using a Video Player for YouTube Downloads

There are several players out there that can interact with YouTube - VLC is one of them. Generally, while it’s quite obtuse, the player can do many things, including conversion and streaming.

You’ll find VLC video downloads a bit easier with these tutorials:

Single Video Download in VLC

1. Copy a YouTube video address.

2. In VLC, choose "File - Open Network".

How to download YouTube video with VLC

3. Paste the URL in and click "Open".

4.Open "Window - Media Information".

Download YouTube videos from YouTube

5. Copy the text from the "Location" bar.

That’s the direct URL of the video itself. You can download it as a file in your browser or any download manager.

Adjusting Video Quality

  • Go to Tools - Preferences.
  • Toggle "Show settings" to "All".
  • Go to "Input / Codecs" and adjust the "Preferred video resolution".

Sadly, this can only be done from the Preferences menu.

VLC Playlist Downloads

Note: make sure that your VLC installation has an updated version of youtube.lua.

  • Copy a playlist URL.
  • Go to "Media - Open network stream".
  • Paste it in and click "Play".
  • The videos should open in the VLC playlist. Click "View - Playlist" to check.
  • Save the playlist as an M3U file.
  • Find some way to remove all lines starting with #. Usually, advanced text editors can do this.
  • As a result, you’ll get a text file with all direct URLs that you need.
  • To download these, use a download manager that can work with batch files.

Sometimes, downloaded videos need to be processed. Look for apps to download and cut YouTube videos if you intend to do more than viewing. You can cut clips without quality loss at the click of a button.

Online YouTube Download Service

There are two ways that you can start video downloads right in your browser. And one of them is web services. These webpages extract the video, convert it if necessary and then send it over to you. They tend to be slow, but they also don’t need to be installed - perfect if you’re in a hurry.

Keepvid - Video Downloader Online is a generic online downloader app. Like many others, it’s simple to use and it offers a wide choice of quality options. It can be operated in 4 simple steps:

  1. Copy a YouTube link.
  2. Go to the website.
  3. Paste your URL into the text box.
Download YouTube videos online

4. Choose a format option and press "Download".

Get video from YouTube

Browser YouTube Downloader Extension

A YouTube downloader button extension is a quick way to convert a YouTube video to MP4, MP3, etc. A discreet button meshes well with the YouTube interface, and with such an app, there is no need to interrupt your experience.


Add-ons on Firefox are a mixed bag: there are many, but the quality standards aren’t great. Still, once you manage to find a great extension, it’s definitely worth it. The “Easy YouTube Video Downloader Express” is a functional, well-supported app. To use it:

  1. Install the extension and restart your browser.
  2. Go to any YouTube video page.
  3. Locate the "Download as…" button next to "Subscribe".
  4. Choose the desired format and start the download.
How to save Youtube videos on Mac with Firefox


The Chrome Web Store doesn’t welcome YouTube downloaders. Which is understandable, since Google owns YouTube… Regardless, there’s a way to get YouTube videos in Chrome - a workaround. It involves Crosspilot and Addoncrop.

  1. Install Crosspilot from the Web Store.
  2. Go to You’ll be prompted to "Install via Crosspilot". Do it
  3. Find the necessary extension and add it to Chrome. Restart the browser.
  4. Find a YouTube video.
  5. Use the download button; it’s close to "Like/Dislike".
  6. Set the download options. Crop if necessary.
  7. Push "Download".
How to Download YouTube Videos on Mac with Chrome


  • Go to Download the first file (youtube-dl without a file extension).
  • Drag the file over to your Home (username) folder.
  • Open the terminal.
  • Type “chmod 755 youtube-dl” without.
  • Type ./youtube-dl “insert your video URL here” to start a download.

Get ffmpeg and put it in the same folder to enable conversions and format combinations. Read the youtube-dl manual to learn more.

When you download a YouTube video, the legality of it is determined by the way you use it. You should be fine, as long as you reserve the video for personal use.
QuickTime offers a screen recording option that can be found under "File - New Movie Recording". Set the boundary for your clip and press the red button. This is inconvenient for batch downloads, but useful for livestreams and demos/tutorials.
Use Airy’s browser integration feature. By creating an Airy bookmark in your browser, you can save a YouTube video to Mac in a single click. Upon clicking, it will send the current page’s address to the desktop app, thus removing the need to copy and paste.
Requirements: OS X 10.7+ , 23.29MB size
Version 3.23.333 (23 Mar, 2021) Release notes
Category: UtilitiesApplication