You may hate funny cat videos or game reviews, but the chances are you still use YouTube. A mammoth of video content, YouTube is a go-to spot for many. In fact, the platform has over 1 billion users which is one-third of all internet users. Huge.
Or, maybe your daily companions are Vimeo and Twitch. One way or another, video content is a part of your digital life. The question is how to utilize it.
In this article, we explain how you can legally save video to Mac to watch it anytime and anywhere.
Download streaming video
Streaming content is a huge chunk of your internet traffic. Think Vimeo, Twitch, YouTube, Dailymotion, and other platforms where you can watch video displayed in real time.
Relying on online streaming stymies your watching experience in many ways – from limited data usage to network issues. Plus Wi-Fi often fails you at the most crucial moments.
If you ask YouTube, it will probably suggest you use YouTube Premium, a native paid subscription service to save content. For the monthly cost of $11.99, it allows you to download videos on iPhone and Android devices. Yes, you got it right – no Mac. To fill the gap and bring streaming content to a computer, you’ll have to consider third-party software.
How to legally download YouTube videos
Whether to capture a few movies for an upcoming flight or save favorite clips to rewatch, Mac owners love downloaders. And it’s a piece of cake to find one. The problem with the majority of such tools is there are too many of them. Not to mention they could be used for copyright infringement.
To legally download content from YouTube and video streaming services to Mac, you can use third-party apps as long as you’re not earning money from downloads or breach copyright. Decide on the functionality – maybe you want the tool to convert videos, batch-download, or save audio only – the options are very diverse, but definitely worth looking into.
Disclaimer: You may download from YouTube using third-party software if you represent a copyright holder or own the permission of a copyright holder. The YouTube content should be copied for personal use only. For a more thorough understanding, check out YouTube’s Terms of Service.
Top YouTube video downloaders compared
It’s not easy to step into the jungle of video downloaders and instantly pick the right fit – impossible if you’re new to Mac. There’s help, though.
Below you’ll find a small collection of tools that we recommend you look into. Use the apps to play, manage, and automatically save videos. Best of all, you can use the full toolkit of apps reviewed in this article for a flat fee.
Downie: Save YouTube videos within seconds
The easiest version of a video downloader you can imagine. Grab a link, drag it onto the app icon, wait a few seconds for the content to travel to your Mac. While you don’t really do much, you can do even less with the browser extension. Downie already has it, so you don’t have to install the extension separately – check the box in your browser preferences and you’re good to go. Magically, Downie can also scan text files for links and download video content from there.
In other words, Downie is a video downloader that commits to cherishing your time. Here are the key ways to align the app with your workflow:
- Enable Simple mode to get rid of distractions in Preferences > General. Perfect for those who are annoyed by a progress bar showing up each time a download takes place.
- Downie is also a search machine. You can find videos for download by searching right in the app, without opening a browser.
- If you love YouTube concerts and music videos, you can download audio only. To set Downie to the MP3 mode, open Preferences > Postprocessing > Enforce MP3.
Downie automatically converts all videos to MP4, but if you need more options there’s Permute to help. It covers virtually all media formats and works both for video and audio. The app is basically Downie’s cousin, created by the same team of developers, Charlie Monroe Software. So you get a discount if you buy the two. Also, Downie and Permute are both available on Setapp.
- Simple and clean interface
- Customizable functionality
- 4K support
- Integrates with YouTube video converter
- Limited file conversion options
$19.99 if purchased separately
$26.99 Downie + Permute
$9.99 per month Downie, Permute and 130+ apps on Setapp
Play and download video content with Elmedia Player
Elmedia Player is one of the best tools to entrust your movie watching experience to. Not only does it tell you how to save videos from YouTube, it also enables viewing content ad-free, right from the app. Download audio, convert to different media formats, or stream via AirPlay – it solves tons of problems.
Not limitless, but the functionality is pretty impressive. It’s a good idea to work with Elmedia Player if you want to:
- Organize downloads and bring them into curated playlists.
- Play Vimeo, Dailymotion, and YouTube videos in the app, without downloading.
- Open and convert files to different formats – from MP3 TO MKV.
- Extract audio tracks from videos.
- Stream media content to all Apple devices that support AirPlay.
Compared to Apple’s native QuickTime, Elmedia Player supports a bigger number of formats and is generally a decent alternative to the default program.
- Intuitive interface
- Covers virtually all video and audio formats
- Streaming capabilities
- Lots of features confusing for a beginner
$19.95 Elmedia Player Pro license
$9.99 per month Elmedia Player Pro and 130+ apps on Setapp
Swiftly download large videos with Folx app
There’s no better option than Folx if you’re big on big downloads. Combining the functionality of a download manager and torrent client, the app brings large videos to your Mac in a matter of minutes.
With your browser and Folx open, you can download any video from YouTube by URL. Once you have the URL, paste it directly into the search bar or click on the plus button > YouTube > paste the link. Give the app a few seconds to prepare a download, and click OK. Before you know it, the video is on your Mac.
The in-built torrent client that is available to Pro plan users works in a similar way – simple and lightning fast. Navigate to the Torrent tab via the plus button. In the top search field, click on the three dots to select a torrent file, customize default preferences if needed, and click OK.
To accelerate the process, Folx splits downloads in up to 20 streams. The app also cleverly adjusts download speed to your online activities, so that not to hamper important programs and processes running on your Mac. To tweak the default speed settings in Folx, access Preferences > Smart Speed.
- Torrent search right in the app
- Speed optimization
- Download scheduling and auto-resume
- No free trial for Pro features
$19.95 Folx Pro license
$9.99 per month Folx and 130+ apps on Setapp
AnyTrans to download and transfer content
Many think of AnyTrans as an alternative to iTunes, but it’s much more than that. The app is an all-mighty file manager that works with all your devices. So whether you want to copy images from iPhone to Mac, or transfer from Android to iOS, AnyTrans has you covered.
Apart from cleverly managing your content, the app also helps you grab some new. Using an in-built Media Downloader, you can save video from 900+ websites, including Vimeo, Dailymotion, and YouTube.
Capturing and instantly sharing media is why you should pick AnyTrans over the other options. It has limited functionality in terms of download preferences, but is pretty good for capturing short videos.
- Clean and understandable interface
- Excellent file control
- Media transferring options
- Limitations in terms of integration with iTunes library.
$39.99 AnyTrans Single license
$9.99 per month AnyTrans and 130+ apps on Setapp
It’s ok if you have a hard time choosing your favorite. Some of the apps complement each other – like you could use Folx to capture large videos and transfer with AnyTrans. With Setapp subscription, you can try every mentioned video downloader for free and choose what suits your flow. Or, don’t choose. Your Mac deserves all of them.