YouTube Finally Adds ‘Download’ Button On PCs (For Some)

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Ever felt the need to download a YouTube video on your desktop/laptop computer? Of course you did. So now, YouTube is testing a new feature that would let some of its users download videos for offline viewing on a desktop browser.

The catch? The feature is only available for YouTube Premium users (for now), and – since it’s an experimental test – it’s only available for a limited time.

We’re hoping, however, that it will become a permanent feature in the future (See ahead for how to turn this on).

YouTube on a telly

Normally, YouTube only lets you stream videos in real-time. But then, if you don’t have an internet connection, or it’s too slow – you won’t be able to watch the video.

So for most people, downloading YouTube videos usually involves using questionable (sometimes) websites that let you download videos via a link, often while bombarding you with dubious adverts.

On mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), users can already download videos “officially” on the YouTube app – but only if you’re a YouTube Premium subscriber.

YouTube Premium is Google’s subscription service for YouTube, which normally costs £11.99/month in the UK.

The Premium tier gives users a few benefits, such as watching everything without adverts, getting the full library of YouTube Music, and – being able to download videos and watch them offline – but only on mobile devices, until now.

Recently (as discovered by Android Police) YouTube started experimenting with letting users download videos on desktop computers as well. 

If you’re a YouTube Premium subscriber and you want to try this feature, you need to go to YouTube’s experiments page and turn “Download Videos from Your Browser” on.

YouTube Download experiment

Do note that as of this writing, the feature is only available until October 19, and is supported on the most recent versions of Chrome, Edge or Opera browsers.

Once the feature is turned on, any YouTube video you watch on your computer’s browser, will include a “Download” button –

Note that this feature doesn’t actually let you download files and keep them on your computer (as a file) or move them from place to place.

Instead, this caches an offline version of the video on your computer, so you will now be able to watch it when you’re not connected to the internet.

For you to be able to keep that offline version, Google says you need to connect to the internet at least once every 30 days – otherwise, the offline video will be automatically deleted.

The Downloads Settings page lets you control the video quality of the download – from Low (144p) to Full HD (1080p) – there’s no 4K download option, for now.

If you want to see all the videos you’ve downloaded, you can go to YouTube’s Downloads section – and they’ll all be waiting for you there:

YouTube downloads screen
YouTube’s Downloads Screen

At the moment, this feature is quite limited – as mentioned, it’s only for YouTube Premium users, AND it will stop working after October 19.

However, if the experiment works well, there’s a good chance Google will bring it back permanently – though it’s quite possible it will remain as a Premium-only feature.

(Featured Image: Deposit Photos / Alexey Boldin)

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