Stumbled upon an interesting video but you don’t have time to watch it now? You should know that it’s possible to download it for later/offline viewing, even if you found it on streaming platforms, which don’t natively allow you to do that unless you pay for a subscription. This article shows you how you can grab videos from any online platform using your device.
- 1. Get a Video Downloading Extension
- 2. Use an Online Video Download Service
- 3. Install a Third-Party Application (Windows)
- 4. Download Streaming Video with VLC
- 5. Use the Advanced Option
- 6. Try Windows' Game Bar to Screen Record
- 7. Take Advantage of Android's Native Screen Record Option
- 8. Use Video Downloader for Android
- 9. Use an Online Video Streaming Downloader on Android
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. Get a Video Downloading Extension
Video DownloadHelper (Firefox | Chrome) is a good example of an extension that helps you download videos directly from your browser. Here’s how it’s done:
- Once you install it on your PC, navigate to the video you wish to get on your device.
- Tap on the extension’s dedicated button shown next to the browser’s address bar.
- The extension should have automatically detected the video.
- Select the resolution you wish to download, click on the right-pointing arrow to bring up a panel of options, and select Download if you want to direct the download to a particular folder on your PC. Alternatively, choose “Quick download” to download the video in the default folder.
- Next, you’ll be required to quickly download the companion application to help get the job done.
Once you’ve installed it on your machine, the download(s) will start in the extension’s pop-up panel.
Note that some videos can be downloaded directly from the browser (for instance, videos from Reddit) without the help of the companion app.
2. Use an Online Video Download Service
If you don’t feel like installing an extension or another application on your PC, you can always download your videos using an online website. One of the best available is Savefrom, as it lets you grab videos from a truckload of websites.
- Navigate to the Savefrom website on your PC.
- Go to the website hosting your video and copy the link.
- Go back to Saveform and paste the link in the address bar in the middle of the page.
- Click on the green Download button.
- Select the resolution you wish to use for your download by pressing on the downward arrow on the white button to bring up all the options.
- Press Download to start grabbing the video.
3. Install a Third-Party Application (Windows)
A desktop-based download might offer a superior experience when it comes to video downloading for a number of reasons. These include being able to set up multiple downloads, no limitations on video length or resolution and better privacy controls, just to name a few. On the other hand, some of these services are paid or come with limited features when used for free.
One of the many options available is 4K Video Downloader. This is an easy-to-use software that lets you download videos by copy/pasting the link to a video (or a playlist). We also have a tutorial on how to use 4K Video Downloader.
For those who are looking to download videos in bulk, JDownloader may be the better choice. This is an open-source download manager with a large community of developers backing it up. Follow the steps below if you wish to grab all the videos from a page.
- Navigate to a page with multiple videos on it.
- Allow JDownloader to scan the page by going to the “File -> Analyze Text with Links” option.
- The link to the page should already be there. If it’s not, copy/paste it, then click Continue.
- Let JDownloader find all the links.
- Once the process finishes, click on the “Link grabber” tab to view a list of every downloadable item on that page — not just videos.
- Find the video you want to download and right-click to bring up a list of options, then press “Start Downloads” to get the process started. Alternatively choose “Start all Downloads” to download everything on that page.
4. Download Streaming Video with VLC
You may not be aware that VLC, the program many use to watch movies and TV shows, allows you to download videos off all kinds of streaming websites. The process is relatively simple:
- Open VLC on your PC.
- Go to “Media -> Open Network Stream” and paste the link to the video you want to download.
- Enter the link into the “Network Protocol URL” section.
- Click on the downward arrow next to the Play button and select the option to Stream.
- A new “Stream Output” window will open. Click the Next button.
- In the “Destination Setup” window, the option File should be enabled. Click Add to save your file with a name and a location of your choice. Press Next.
- In the “Transcoding Options” panel, check the “Activate Transcoding” option and press “Next.”
- Click Stream for the downloading process to start.
5. Use the Advanced Option
Youtube-dl is a solution for more advanced users. If you are comfortable using the command line, you should check it out, as it allows you to download videos from any platform. It’s perhaps the most comprehensive tool on this list, but there’s a pretty non-negligible learning curve to be considered here.
There are tons of tutorials online that teach you the steps, and of course you can go through the documentation as well. However, this may not be something for everyone. For this reason we recommend that you use youtube-dl-gui, which is an unofficial front-end user interface available for Windows and Linux. See the steps below.
- Once in the program’s interface, copy/paste a link to a video in the “Enter URLs below” field. You can input links to playlists or multiple links to single videos as well.
- Click the Add button.
- Select the format you want for the downloaded video.
- Tap on the Start button in the bottom-right corner of the display.
6. Try Windows’ Game Bar to Screen Record
If you’re a Windows 10/11 user, you can use the operating system’s built-in Xbox Game Bar to record the screen while the video you want to save for later use on your computer is playing. It works in non-gaming apps too!
- To activate Game Bar simply press Win + G.
- Click on the Record button in the upper-left corner or simply press Win + Alt + R. A mini “capture stats” window called “Broadcast & capture” appears, showing you for how long you’ve been capturing.
- Once you’re done recording click on the Pause button. The video has been saved.
- To access all your recordings click the “Show all captures” option on the left within the “Broadcast & capture” panel.
7. Take Advantage of Android’s Native Screen Record Option
Those who have an Android device running Android 10 and above have a native option that allows them to grab videos for their private offline use. It’s called Screen Recorder, and as the name suggests, it allows you to record the screen while a video is playing.
- Swipe from the top of the screen to bring up the “Quick Settings” menu on your Android device.
- Find the “Screen Recorder” quick tile and tap on it to activate it. (You may have to swipe to the second page to locate the quick tile.)
Once you’ve activated the option, a small floating bar with a red button will show up on your display.
- Open the video streaming app or go to the website that features the video you wish to download.
- Start playing the video and switch to full screen, then quickly tap on the red button to begin the recording.
- When it’s time to stop the recording, simply press the Pause button or the square white button to finish up the recording.
The video will automatically be saved to your device’s gallery. You can check it out from there.
For those on older versions of Android, install one of these third-party screen recording apps or see below.
8. Use Video Downloader for Android
You can also use Video Downloader, an app that allows you to grab videos off your favorite sites while on your Android device. Here’s how to do so:
- Navigate to the page where the video(s) are available using the app. Alternatively, copy/paste the video URL to the address bar. You may have to log in with your account on certain websites.
- Tap on the red download button which appears on the video page.
- Select the desired quality.
- Your video should start downloading.
- Navigate to the Finished tab.
- Tap on the three dots next to the downloaded video to select an additional action. You can “Move it to a Private Folder” or Share. If you wish to find the video on your device, select “Download location.”
Alternatively, you can use a similar app which is called All Video Downloader. It works in similar fashion by allowing you to paste the link to the video or navigate straight to it from within the app.
9. Use an Online Video Streaming Downloader on Android
On Android, you can also quickly download a video by accessing one of the websites that offers this service in your mobile browser. For instance, Savefrom, which is also available as an mobile app. You will, however, have to download it as an APK. If you don’t want to do that, you can always download via your mobile browser.
- Navigate to Savefrom in your Chrome app (or preferred browser).
- Paste a link to a video you wish to download in the address bar, then press the right-facing arrow button to start the download.
- Select the desired quality for the download.
- Press the Download button.
- Your video should start downloading.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it legal to download videos from sites such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube?
Technically, no. YouTube’s Term of Service (ToS), for instance, states that users are not allowed to “access, reproduce, download, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, license, alter, modify, or otherwise use any part of the Service or any Content except: a) as expressly authorized by the Service or b) with prior written permission from YouTube and, if applicable, the respective rights holders.”
However, it’s not illegal to download videos for personal use – just remember you hold no rights over the videos you’ve not created. Therefore, you should abstain from sharing them as your own with the intent to profit or distributing them in any other way.
How can I transfer the downloaded videos to my phone?
You have multiple options. For example, you can:
- use Nearby Share to share files between Android devices.
- install a cloud hosting service such as Google Drive or Dropbox on both your computer and phone.
- share files between Android and Windows on the same network.
- use AirDrop to transfer the video from your Mac desktop to your iPhone.
Do I need one of these tools for any video I wish to download?
No, but to grab content from major streaming websites and others you’ll need to use one of the tools on our list. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, TikTok allows you to easily download videos off the platform.
Image credit: Freepik
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