Downloading YouTube videos and audios is a fundamental chore for netizens. Sure, there are external tools out there to help you download youtube videos but if you are bothered by the incessant ads, and have concerns about malware, perhaps it’s time to start downloading YouTube media unaided.
The catch is you’ll need a browser with a “Network” developer tool like modern IE or Chrome or Firefox, and an Internet connection setup where YouTube isn’t blocked (get some ideas on how to circumvent this block in this post).
My personal preference is Firefox, for reasons which will be clear at the end of this post but this works even if you prefer one of the other two browsers. Let’s check out the steps.
How to Download Youtube Media
1. Open Developer Tools in the browser and go to Network tool, or if you’re on Firefox press
2. Click Media in the Network tool so that you’ll see only the HTTP requests made to media files, like audio and video files.
3. Browse to a YouTube video you want to download. You’ll start seeing the requests made by the YouTube page to the audio & video files in the Network tool.
4. Hover the cursor over the Type column of each request in the tool and look at the media type:
- If you want the audio, look for “audio/mp4”.
- If you want the video, then look for “video/mp4”.
Note: If you’re using a browser that doesn’t segeregate requests (like IE) or doesn’t list the requests made to the audio & video files in YouTube under “Media” (like Chrome), just search the term “audio” or “video” in the search bar in the Network tool.
5. Once you found a request with the wanted media type (it’ll be of the googlevideo.com domain), click on it, and copy the full URL from where it appears.
6. Paste the URL in the address bar, remove the
range parameter in the query string and press
7. The video or audio will open, right-click on the page and select “Save As” to save the file.
8. If you want both the video and the audio, look for both with the steps above and put them together using any default media editor you have in your computer. It’s actually pretty easy and quick to do so (even with programs like the outmoded Windows Movie Maker).
Bonus Hack for Firefox
If you’re getting WEBM audio files instead of MP4 from YouTube (webm can only be played in a browser) , disable your browser’s WEBM audio support, then YouTube will send the audio in MPEG4 format.
Type “about:config” in the address bar, press
Enter, click through any warning message and search for “webm”.
Find and double-click
media.mediasource.webm.audio.enabled. Its value will change to
false and you’re set.