YouTube is letting Premium subscribers experiment with downloading videos on desktop

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,576   +174
Staff member
In brief: YouTube is testing an experimental feature allowing Premium subscribers to download videos on their desktop using a web browser. To try it out, simply click on the “Download” button while watching a video or click the triple dot menu when browsing. YouTube notes that the feature is only available on computers running the latest versions of Chrome, Edge or Opera browsers.

In testing, The Verge’s Jay Peters was able to opt in but a colleague wasn’t. Nevertheless, with it enabled, he saw the option to download videos under the standard YouTube player. Clicking to do so would indeed download the video, allowing him to watch it from the downloads section via the hamburger menu on the left side of the screen.

Notably, Peters couldn’t find a way to watch downloaded videos outside of the browser, but that’s not to say it isn’t possible with a bit more tinkering. But for now, Peters concluded that this is simply a way to watch YouTube videos offline.

Engadget elaborated a bit more, noting that they were able to get the feature working as advertised on Safari and Chrome. Furthermore, they were able to download videos in resolutions from 144p up to 1080p. It doesn’t seem as if 4K is supported right now, but that could change in the future. There also doesn’t appear to be a size limit outside of your available local storage.

If you are a YouTube Premium subscriber and want to give it a whirl, head over to YouTube’s experimental features page to learn more. The test window will be open until October 19, we're told.

Image credit Alexey Boldin, The Verge

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Posts: 2,257   +4,397
Remember a few months ago when they DMCA'd Github to get youtube downloader (youtube-dl) off the site?

I'm getting really tired of giants saying they're concerned about copyright issues or other excuses when in reality they just want to introduce a competing service of feature that's unchallenged. Google is doing it, Apple routinely does it and this needs to be denounced far more widely.


Posts: 556   +1,021
TechSpot Elite
Funny, I've been able to (and still can) do this via FireFox on desktop for...I lost count of how many years now.

Yes, the Video DownloadHelper extension still works on YT videos.


Posts: 1,399   +1,040
I haven't downloaded a video for 7 years - maybe if you think it will be taken down - or your greatest hits videos .
The reason I downloaded - was I had capped data - so I downloaded all the videos my young son enjoyed watching to save data

Mark Fuller

Posts: 423   +24
I have the pro version of the ytd downloader and a subscriber of youtube premium.. I am now unable to download videos, I only get the audio portion. I tried using another email address with a youtube account that is not premium and got the same result. I sent them an email with the description of the problem but have not heard back and I am unable to chat or obtain a tech support phone number. it seems that they don't even want you to be able to download which begs the question why they set it up to be able to with a premium account or why they even have a premium account and sell software to download. I just noticed the test window is closed also.