How to download YouTube videos on iPhone + Mac & iPad [2024 Guide] 

Have you ever wanted to download YouTube videos on your iPhone but found the process frustrating at worst and finicky at best? You’re not alone. Still, this begs the question – why would someone want to download YouTube videos? 

Well, for one, there’s only so much YouTube content one can consume in one life. Secondly, YouTube videos have a tendency to disappear due to copyright reasons or the uploader simply deciding to delete it. Thirdly, even though we take the internet for granted these days, you might find yourself in a situation or place where mobile data is at a premium and looking up videos on your iPhone is not an option. 

As you can see, there is a strong case to be made about downloading videos and keeping them for later. This guide will show you how to download YouTube videos on your iPhone safely and reliably.

Is downloading YouTube videos on iPhone legal? 

This one’s kind of a gray area. Downloading videos to your iPhone via YouTube’s service is perfectly legal – it’s a paid feature, after all. Downloading YouTube videos using third-party apps – not so much. In fact, according to YouTube’s terms of service, app developers are strictly forbidden from making YouTube YouTube downloaders and listing them on app stores. 

Fortunately, there is a catch. Those restrictions apply strictly to developers. You, as a regular user, are free to download as many videos as you like using third-party apps as long as they’re for personal use. In other words, don’t upload and don’t monetize the videos you download. 

How to download YouTube videos on iPhone with YouTube Premium 

YouTube Premium, introduced in its current version in 2018, is the platform’s subscription based service. For $13.99 or your regional equivalent, subscribers get a series of convenient perks that ostensibly improve the viewing experience, such as:

  • Ad free viewing
  • YouTube Music (Google’s Spotify counterpart)
  • Offline viewing
  • Background play – you can watch videos while using other apps or with your screen locked
  • The ability to directly support your favorite creators – your monthly membership fee is shared with the creators. The more videos you watch from your favorite creators, the more money they make.

However, most relevantly to this article, YouTube Premium allows users to download videos. In other words, for $14/month, you can download YouTube videos to iPhone and watch them later. 

Here’s a step by step guide on how to download YouTube videos on iPhone:

  1. Sign into the YouTube account that you subscribed to Premium from.
  2. Open the YouTube video you want to download
  3. If the creators has marked the video as available to download, you should see a “Download” button underneath the video
  4. Pick the video’s quality – you can choose between Low (144), Medium (360p), High (720p) and Full HD (1080p), which is the maximum
  5. Now go to your profile and tap on “Downloads”
  6. Enjoy your video.

YouTube Premium also has a nifty feature called “Smart Download” that automatically adds recommended videos to your library to watch offline as long as you’re connected to Wi-Fi. Smart downloads will stop if you lose access to Wi-Fi or if your device runs out of storage.

If you’re looking for a quick way to download videos to your iPhone and support your favorite creators, YouTube Premium is worth the investment. However, if we were to judge it based solely on its video downloading capabilities, YouTube premium has a few glaring issues:

  • Hefty price for what it offers. While the option to support creators by distributing your subscription fee to support the channels you spend the most time watching is laudable – not to mention ad free viewing – $13.99/month for a max download quality of 1080p is not ideal. 
  • YouTube deletes your downloaded videos after 29 days. In other words, YouTube doesn’t so much “download” the videos as it temporarily stores them on your device.
  • Videos are locked into YouTube’s ecosystem. Even though downloaded videos take up space on your device, you can neither share them with your friends nor transfer them to other devices. Despite appearances, videos are not yours to keep. This makes planning for trips farther in advance than 29 days nigh on impossible.

In short, if you’re planning for a particularly long trip where constant internet access is not possible, or you’re just putting together a contingency plan in case of a prolonged Internet outage, YouTube Premium falls short in all departments. 

Which is why you might want to consider YTD Downloader.

How to download YouTube videos on iPhone with YTD Downloader (the best way)

Founded in 2007, YTD Downloader is a simple and easy to use video downloader compatible with over 50 platforms, both major and small-time. With YTD, you can download videos from TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Vimeo and, yes, YouTube.

So what makes YTD downloader better at downloading YouTube videos than literally the platform that hosts that content? And more specifically, why should you use YTD to download YouTube videos on your iPhone instead of any other third-party app?

Let’s start by listing a few features:

  • Download with only a link. All you need to do is paste the video’s URL in YTD and our app will take it from there. YTD will save the video on your device.
  • Download YouTube shorts. Yes, shorts are worthy of preservation too. With YTD, you can also include Shorts into your iPhone video collection.
  • Outstanding video & audio quality. Remember that part about YouTube only allowing a maximum of 1080p for video downloads? YTD supports 1080p, 4K, 8K and everything in between. Just because you’re watching videos on your iPhone doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to poor quality. 
  • Convert YouTube videos to any format. What if you just want the audio version of the video? With YTD, you can choose what format to save your video in and YTD does the work for you.
  • Batch downloads. Pretty much what it says – download videos in batches instead of one by one. 
  • Put videos into playlists. 
  • Import any video from your iPhone into the app to convert and trim the video.
  • Keep videos forever. You heard right – YTD doesn’t lock your downloaded videos into its ecosystem. Once you download a video on your iPhone, they are yours to keep and watch, at your leisure, forever. 

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, here’s how to download YouTube videos on your iPhone, step by step:

  1. Download and install the app – access and click on the free download button at the top of the website.
  2. After downloading and installing the software, open it.
  3. Simply copy and paste the URL of the video you want to download in the relevant field. You can also download entire playlists in bulk if you choose, just copy-paste the URL from the playlist instead of the one from a single video.
  4. Choose the download quality (we recommend sticking with the best available) and choose the folder where you want your file to be saved in.
  5. Transfer your newly acquired video onto your iPhone.
  6. As a bonus, you can actually cut the file if you’re interested in only a part of a song (if you want to get a ringtone, for example – remember ringtones?).

How to download YouTube videos on iPhone FAQ

How can I download YouTube videos to my iPhone for free?

To download YouTube videos on your iPhone, simply install YTD and followed the instructions listed on your website.

Can I download YouTube videos to watch offline on iPhone?

Yes, you can download YouTube videos to watch offline on your iPhone. You can use third party apps such as YTD (free) or subscribe to YouTube Premium. Keep in mind that videos downloaded through YouTube’s app are locked into the platform’s ecosystem. 

Can I download YouTube videos on my iPhone without an app?

No, you can’t download YouTube videos on your iPhone without an app. You need to use either a third party app such as YTD downloader or YouTube Premium. 

How to download youtube videos on iPhone wrapped up

And that’s pretty much it. Main takeaway: YouTube Premium is a good option if you’re willing to pay for something past and relatively reliable. But if you plan to keep the videos forever and at a reasonable quality, YTD is more than worth the investment.