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 compare top YouTube downloaders for Mac and explain how you can legally save video to Mac to watch it anytime and anywhere.
Let us warn you in advance, all YouTube tools reviewed in this article are worth a try. To help you narrow down the choice, check the nice-to-have assets every safe YouTube downloader should have:
- Works with all major video streaming platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion.
- Allows to save mp4 content and, optionally, convert to different formats.
- Has support for audio output — allowing you to save music from videos.
- Downloads entire playlists or channels in batch.
- Caters for both professional and everyday use.
- Guarantees data security, not collecting any of your personal information.
For sure, these are not one-size-fits-all qualities. You may need to batch download playlists, or this might be a totally useless feature for you. We made sure the reviewed tools satisfy the key needs — like security and integration with video streaming platforms. The rest is up to you and your priorities.
- How to download from YouTube
- Download streaming videos
- Download and save video from YouTube in mp4
- What’s the best Mac YouTube downloader?
- Downie: Save YouTube videos within seconds
- Play and download video content with Elmedia Player
- Swiftly download large videos with Folx
- Download and transfer content between macOS/iOS/Android
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.
How to download from YouTube
Whether to capture a few movies for an upcoming flight or save favorite clips to rewatch, Mac owners love to save content. The most basic tool should teach you how to download YouTube videos directly from URL. The problem is that it’s complicated to find an efficient free YouTube downloader. Not to mention they could be used for copyright infringement. To legally save content from YouTube and video streaming services to Mac, as well as download music from videos, you can use third-party apps. As long as you’re not earning money from downloads or breach copyright, they are safe to use.
Download streaming video from any website
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. Therefore, you need a reliable tool that helps you capture YouTube video.
If you’re wondering how to watch YouTube videos offline without breaking any laws, let us help you.
Grab YouTube video with YouTube Premium
Since recently, you can’t download YouTube video anymore. That’s because the service created a native tool for the job. So if you ask YouTube for the best YouTube downloader, 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 keep YouTube videos on iPhone and Android devices. Here’s how it works:
- Open the video in your YouTube mobile app.
- Click on the download button below the video player.
- Customize the quality of the output.
- Once the video is downloaded, you’ll see the “download complete” icon below the player.
The app will automatically save YouTube videos you download to the Library or Account tab.
Download streaming video from any website
Yes, you got it right. You can’t capture online videos to watch offline on Mac if you’re using YouTube Premium. To fill the gap and bring streaming content to a computer, you’ll have to consider third-party software. Most of video downloaders differ only in terms of customization capabilities. The flow of capturing a video will be pretty much the same — no matter what platform you take it from. It's easy to use AnyTrans to download youtube videos or convert youtube to mp3 in just 3 simple steps: copy-paste-save.
- Choose the video and copy the URL (the app has in-build video search on YouTube/Vimeo/Dailymotion).
- Paste the link into the app and wait for the app to finish the download.
- Choose/customize the output format and storage location.
When using third-party tools, be careful about YouTube blocking downloads. If you comply with YouTube’s Terms of Service, you should be fine.
Download and save video from YouTube in mp4
Whether it’s native YouTube Premium or a third-party application, the tools you use to download mp4 from YouTube will by default save files in mp4. There are different options on tweaking formats, though:
- Retrieve only audio from your video file — tools like Downie and Folx will work for it.
- Download video in mp4 with Elmedia Player.
- Use Downie + Permute to download and convert to different formats — from FLV to MKV to AVI. The two work well together and are both available with Setapp subscription.
- Customize the output before downloading and convert a poor-quality YouTube video to mp4 HD.
Top YouTube downloaders compared
Below you’ll find a small collection of media downloaders 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 YouTube 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 media 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 YouTube videos on 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.
This downloader 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 150+ 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 YouTube 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 150+ 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 150+ 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 150+ 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 YouTube downloader for free and choose what suits your flow. Or, don’t choose. Your Mac deserves all of them.