YouTube logo on a laptop sitting on a desk.

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So you want to download a YouTube video? While basic YouTube only offers downloads for a few selected videos in a few selected locations, there are ways to download any YouTube video you want at any time.

This article will cover ways you can download your favorite videos using two approaches: 1. Paying for YouTube Premium and 2. Using a free Mac, Windows, or Linux application.

Also: Visit ZDNet on YouTube!

Your paid option: YouTube Premium

I’m a big fan of YouTube Premium because it saves my wife and me from enduring most ads, but it is a luxury expense. You can subscribe to YouTube Premium for $11.99 a month (or $17.99 a month for a family plan). 

My favorite feature is a complete lack of Google-provided ads. There are no banners, no pre-roll, and no interstitial ads. However, if a YouTube channel wants to embed an ad in a video, YouTube Premium will not filter those YouTuber-embedded ads.

YouTube Premium also provides background play and picture-in-picture, YouTube Music, and access to YouTube Originals. 

Also: How local politics made me turn to YouTube Premium as a last-ditch sanity defense

YouTube Premium also includes the ability to download videos. Here’s how you’d go about it. 

How to download YouTube videos

Once you’ve subscribed to YouTube Premium, you’ll have a download button in your Web browser or your phone app to the right of the “share” (arrow) icon at the bottom of a video. 

Arrow pointing to download button on YouTube Premium.

See the download button marked by my arrows. 

David Gewirtz/ZDNET

Select the video(s) you want to download and once it comes up in the main screen display, click the download icon.