How to download YouTube videos on a Mac

 A hand holding a youtube logo glossy badge over dark red background
A hand holding a youtube logo glossy badge over dark red background

Whether you’re stocking up on videos for a long trip without Wi-Fi or hoping to download tutorials or essays for work or personal projects, knowing how to download YouTube videos onto your Macbook is a useful skill. Rather than having to constantly rely on an internet connection while you’re on the go, you can simply plop down wherever you are, boot up your Macbook, and start watching.

Often when I’m in for a long-haul flight or commute, I panic-download as many videos as possible because as much as I would like it, there’s no guaranteed Internet connection out there. Or, if I know I’ll be traveling with younger cousins, I understand how important it is to have all manner of fun, colorful videos to keep them occupied.

Now, YouTube does have a feature that will allow you to download videos straight onto your iPad or iPhone - but you'll need to be subscribed to YouTube Premium, and the same can be said about other streaming services like Disney, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.

If you’re like me and don’t want to commit to yet another subscription service, this is the place for you.

Steps for how to download YouTube videos on your MacBook

  • Find the YouTube video of your choice

  • Screen record your display

  • Save the video onto your device

Tools and requirements

  • A MacBook

  • Screen recording software

Step by step guide

1. How to control settings when sharing music


(Image: © Future)

It's quite easy to download your videos on a Mac since each device has internal screen recording software. So, no extra downloading or purchasing is required!

Ever since Mojave - remember that? - macOS has a built-in screen recording feature, which makes this all much easier.

Load up your YouTube video of choice on your Mac. Make sure the video quality is set to your desired resolution and that it’s full screen. As you can see in the image above, I've kept mine out of full-screen mode so you can see the options that pop up below once you input the commands.

Press Command + Shift + 5, press the record entire screen button, and then press the play button or space bar to start playing the video.

Your screen and therefore your Youtube video is now recording to be saved later! Once you’ve recorded what you want, hit the stop button at the top of the screen and your recording will stop.

Final thoughts

There you have it!

If you'd rather have an app do the downloading for you, there are always apps out there that will get the job done. Often they do require a subscription or one-time purchase, as most free YouTube video downloaders aren't of very high quality, carry the risk of viruses, or splash watermarks on everything.

Apps like EaseUS Video Downloader or Downie offer 14-day free trials and relatively cheap price plans, if you do want to try it out.