How to download YouTube videos on iPhone

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When you have a reliable internet connection, you won't think about how to watch YouTube on iPhone. It just works. But many times you either need to go offline or pause your data plan. For these cases, downloading YouTube videos on iPhone for offline viewing or without using data is very easy, but not all methods are exactly the same.

Is it legal to download YouTube videos?

This one is a bit complicated. If you use the YouTube service (more on that below) to download videos to your iPhone, it's 100% successful. However, the platform does not allow downloading videos beyond that capacity from its servers. For app developers, making a YouTube downloader and putting it on the App Store is actually a violation of YouTube's terms of service.

That said, if you do download a video from a third-party solution, the company won't take any action. They will take action if you reupload these videos, especially copyrighted ones, online. Therefore, please proceed with caution: download these videos for your personal use only.

How to download videos using YouTube Premium

Of course, the preferred method of downloading YouTube videos on iPhone is the paid service. With YouTube Premium, you'll find a convenient "Download" button next to most videos on the platform, so you can quickly save your favorite videos for offline viewing at any time.

YouTube Premium has other perks, including avoiding ads before videos and a high-quality "1080p Premium" bitrate ($13.99 per month). This is an expensive way to download YouTube videos, but it's a YouTube-approved way.

Use shortcuts

If you don't have YouTube Premium, you can use the iPhone's Shortcuts app. Shortcuts is a treasure trove of powerful programs. Some of them happen to be YouTube downloaders.

The problem is, these shortcuts tend to break down quickly. It's not clear exactly why, but YouTube may be changing the content on its end frequently and preventing these shortcuts from working. That wouldn't be bad if the developers persevered and patched the problems that arise, but unfortunately these shortcuts are often abandoned. So, when something goes wrong, shortcuts are useless.

One of the shortcuts I've found that works is Sur. Sur is very simple: Once it's installed and running, you need to give it permission to connect to its host site, and then choose whether to paste the YouTube URL or extract it from your clipboard. Sur treats your URL as a "contact" sent to the website used to download the video, so you need to grant permission to send this "contact" to the website. Allow it to run and then allow Sur to connect to the Google Video URL. How long you wait from here will depend on the size of the video in question, but once done, click OK on the popup to choose what you want to do with the video. Since this pulls up the share sheet, you can do whatever you want with it: you can save it to your iPhone or the Files app, send it via Messages or a third-party app, AirDrop it, save it to Whatever you want to do in the note.

A previous version of this article recommended JAYD (Just Another YouTube Downloader), and if you search on the internet, you will also find old posts about this shortcut. Unfortunately, it seems to have met the same fate as other YouTube downloaders, so we can no longer recommend it.

Use YouTube downloader sites (but be careful)

Mobile browsing on iPhone has come a long way. In many ways, it functions just like browsing on a Mac or PC. For example, you can actually use YouTube Downloader in Safari and download YouTube videos just like you would on your desktop.

However, this method is not recommended. YouTube Online Downloader may spam you, send you sketchy ads, and give off an overall malicious vibe. Still, it works, so it's a noteworthy choice. But if I can, I'll stick with Sur, or another reputable YouTube downloader shortcut.