ExpressBasics: How to save YouTube videos offline to watch later

YouTube has a neat feature that allows premium members to save a video to their phone’s storage to watch later. This is useful when you have access to data/Wi-Fi for a limited time before driving through an inconsistent network region or catching a flight.

Saving a YouTube video offline helps in such scenarios because even if there is no connection, you can still go back and watch the saved videos. This even works when your phone is in airplane mode. Users can also choose what image quality they want to save videos in, giving them finer control over how much space is occupied and how much data is being used.

How to save videos offline

To get started, you need an Android or iOS-based smartphone with an active YouTube Premium subscription. The feature to save videos offline is part of the subscription and does not work without it.

Go to the YouTube app and open a video that you want to save offline. Look for the menu button below the video where you will find a number of options. Here, look for the “Download Video” option. Alternatively, you can also find this option directly in YouTube’s search results by clicking on the three-dot menu next to the video title.

Once you click the Download Video option, you may come across some settings that ask you to choose a quality – typically from Low (144p) to Full HD (1080p). There will also be an option to save your settings so you don’t have to choose this every time. However, the resolution for downloads can be changed later in the settings.

Once you’ve selected your preferences, click the blue “Download” button below to proceed and begin downloading your video. This video is now saved offline in your phone’s storage.

How to access offline videos

The next time you open the YouTube app without a WiFi or mobile data connection, you will automatically be in the app’s offline mode, where you cannot search for new videos but can access any offline videos you have saved. You can then just click on any of the offline videos to watch.

Note that not all videos support offline saving. If you encounter a video that doesn’t show a download button despite a YouTube Premium subscription, the video may simply not support offline viewing. Also note that videos saved offline via the YouTube app are not encoded in common media formats such as MP4 and therefore can only be accessed and played via the YouTube app.

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