How to download videos from YouTube

In most of my online courses there are videos which accompany our lessons which I need to download. Yes I could just try to watch the videos online, but that doesn’t realistically translate when being somewhere with unreliable Internet like a cafe using public wifi or somewhere where there’s no connection. Also I like to have the videos saved for reference purposes. They constitute part of the course materials which I consider it a priority to maintain in an organized fashion across my information appliances.

However downloading videos from YouTube is not that easy. But there is a way to do it that works well on Firefox, Chrome, Chrome-based browsers, or any other browsers which support user scripts. The project is on Github and is called YouTubeCenter. For YouTubeCenter to work you have to go to the main landing page on click the settings icon in the upper right and choose legacy mode.

On the YouTubeCenter Github page there’s a link to the wiki page with installation instructions. The wiki page then says that they highly recommend using the dev builds. Finally on that page there are links to the user script and pre-packaged pluins for various browsers. Because of security many browsers will not let you install these plugins very easily, so the easiest thing to do is install a user script manager and then install the user script version of YouTubeCenter.

On Firefox you want to install either Greasemonkey or Tampermonkey user script managers. On Chrome or Chrome-based browsers such as Vivaldi you want to install the Tampermonkey extension.

When you have these installed and you simply click on the YouTubeCenter.user.js link on the YouTubeCenter developer version page you should be automatically prompted by the script manager to install the script.

The very first time you try to play a video in YouTube YouTubeCenter will display a settings dialog where you can tweak some preferences such as the default video resolution, player size, default video download resolution, and more.

After that you will notice an option below videos to download them.

Maybe technically this isn’t exactly supposed to be allowed or something but 95% of the time I only need this for educational videos. The other 5% of the time are videos which I want to save in case they get taken down which sometimes happens.