Download YouTube Videos Using youtube-dl

There have been times when I have wanted to be able to add videos to my laptop or other portable device from YouTube to watch when I don’t have access to an Internet connection. For example, nothing makes a flight go by quicker than watching Rick Wolf and the bots play through Fallout 4. There are many applications that will download YouTube videos for offline viewing but I found a simple free (though donations are accepted) program called youtube-dl that does a great job.

If you use Windows, there is an executable available which includes the required Python. I used the popular package manager Homebrew on the Macintosh to get started. Once Homebrew is installed on your machine (done through copying and running a line in the Terminal), you’ll be able to install youtube-dl with the following simple command:

brew install youtube-dl

youtube-dl has a ton of options and they are described well in youtube-dl’s comprehensive documentation. It can be a little overwhelming. But, downloading a video can be as simple as running the youtube-dl command followed by the YouTube video’s URL. Here is an example:

youtube-dl ''

Just go to watch your video through your browser as usual and get the address of the YouTube video’s page. Go the the folder you want to save the video in the Terminal and run the command. In my experience, the video will be pulled down as an MP4 file.

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