Almost everyone who uses the internet uses YouTube, whether it's to watch instructional videos on how to fix a bike tire, a favorite podcast, or just to watch funny cat videos. YouTube (owned by Google) is the second most visited website in the world. Internet users watch more than 5 billion videos on YouTube every day.
We stream billions of videos every day from the YouTube service. Still, some people prefer to download YouTube playlist for watching videos offline rather than streaming the video. There are a number of reasons users can benefit from downloading a playlist.
Sometimes we have a fast connection in one place but a slow connection in others and would like to grab our media while we can from where we have good broadband service. Sometimes we have places where we have no internet service.
Whatever the reason, many people are looking for a solution that would allow them to download music and video playlists without having to install a new app.
In this tutorial, we are going to show you how to download YouTube playlists for later viewing without an internet connection.
What are YouTube Playlists?
A YouTube playlist is just a collection of individual videos linked together by whatever common factor the playlist compiler deems logical. A playlist can be made up of videos from the same artist, TV shows from the same series, a mix of tracks from the same genre, or something completely different. A playlist can be created by whoever published the media online and can be arranged as they see fit. You can create a YouTube playlist based on any criteria you want!
In addition to users watching YouTube playlists on YouTube, playlists are extremely popular on streaming services such as Spotify. You can create your own or access other people's playlists, allowing you to listen to music for hours without having to interact with the program or search for new music.
Many playlists are created by users, but some services deploy bots to automate playlist creation.
Download a complete YouTube playlist
Technically, downloading media from YouTube is against their Terms of Service (ToS) and possibly against the law.
As all kinds of media are released on the platform with all kinds of licenses, we'll leave it up to you to make sure you don't infringe copyright by downloading from YouTube.
1. Download a playlist with VLC media player
Many people have already installed VLC media player because it is one of the best media players available. VLC is a cross-platform video utility toolkit that you can use on Windows, Mac, Linux and other operating systems. VLC can play most media formats and even play your DVDs, CDs, etc. It's a versatile media player with many assets in its bag!
One of the tricks of VLC is being able to download media from streaming sites to view them offline later. The downside is that you have to manually record each track, but still, VLC will work through the entire playlist for you. Here's how to download videos and other media from streaming sites like YouTube:
- Open VLC media player then select Media from the top menu.
- Now select Open Network Stream… in the drop-down menu.
- Copy the Playlist URL from YouTube, paste it into the Network Stream box and select Play.
- Then select Tools > Codec Info from the top menu.
- Then copy the data to the Location box at the bottom.
- Paste this location data into a browser tab and press Enter. The video should now play in your browser.
- Right-click anywhere in the browser window and select Save as.
Through this process, VLC will download each video in the playlist to your computer in turn. You'll need to complete steps 4-7 for each track, but that's all you need to do, although you may need to be patient. Depending on the number of tracks in the playlist, the download process may take some time.
Using VLC Media Player is by far the most reliable way to download an entire YouTube playlist, although you cannot download the entire playlist at once. Many of us already have VLC.
If you don't want to use VLC, there's another way to download a playlist without having to save each track individually, although it's a bit cumbersome.
If you are comfortable with CLI programs for downloading YouTube videos and have Homebrew already installed on your machine, there is a very simple package you can use to download YouTube playlists directly to your computer. Just keep in mind that it will take a bit of technical knowledge.
- Assuming Homebrew is already installed, open your computer's terminal.
- In the terminal, type: 'brew install youtube-dl'. Homebrew may need an update first, which is ok. Installing the package should only take a minute or two.
3. Now you can start using youtube-dl right away! To download a single video, just type 'youtube-dl (video URL)', replacing the (video URL) with the actual URL. For example, if you were to download the song Baby Shark by Pink Fong, you would type 'youtube-dl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqZsoesa55w' into your terminal.
4. Downloading a playlist works almost exactly the same way, except you will copy and paste the URL of the video playlist instead of a specific video.
For more information on the youtube-dl package commands, you can check out the Git page here.
3. 4K Video Downloader
The 4K Downloader is another great option that will safely and efficiently download YouTube playlists. Available for download on Mac, Windows, and Ubuntu, users can join the free trial or pay for a premium service.
These are the two ways I know to download a complete YouTube playlist. They won't automatically download the full list for you, but they do provide reliable ways to download the list for yourself with minimal effort. Plus, you don't need to download and install new third-party software, which is always a good thing!
Do you have any tips or tricks for downloading YouTube playlists to listen to offline? If so, please tell us about it in the comments below!