How to Free Download YouTube Videos Using VLC Media Player on PC/Mac/Android/iOS

Home > HowTos > Troubleshooting Tips Updated by William on May 11, 2024 | Approved by Daryl Baxter

Today, YouTube is undoubtedly a hub of all kinds of videos ranging from music, lectures, and tutorials to funny clips. However, you can only watch them online. If you wish to watch our favorite videos without being connected to the Internet or save them for future reference, you must subscribe to YouTube Premium. Is there any other way to download videos from YouTube for free? For this, you can continue reading below. This article provides detailed steps to download YouTube videos using the VLC media player and other alternatives. The process is simple whether you are using a phone or a computer. With VLC, you can easily enjoy your favorite content offline.

Please note that downloading videos from YouTube may violate Google's terms of service. Always respect copyright laws and content creators' rights when downloading online videos.

Table of contents
Part 1. 3 Ways to Free Download YouTube Videos Using VLC on PC/Mac/iPhone/Android Phone
Part 2. Advantages and Disadvantages of Download YouTube Videos with VLC Media Player
Part 3. How to Fix VLC Not Download Videos from YouTube
Part 4. 5 Alternatives to Download YouTube Videos by VLC (2 Online Tool and 3 App)
Part 5. FAQs

3 Ways to Free Download YouTube Videos Using VLC on PC/Mac/Android/iOS

Here, we will provide three methods to VLC download YouTube videos on Windows 11/10, Mac, Android, and iPhone. You can choose the corresponding ways according to your device.

Ways 1. By VLC Media Player's Codec/Media Information

For Windows PC:

  1. Go to the VLC media player's official website to download and install the program.
  2. Open the video you wish to download in your browser and copy its URL.
  3. Open the VLC media player and hold down the "Ctrl + N" keys at the same time.
  4. Paste the URL from step 1 in the open pop-up Window and click the "Play" button.
  5. Click "Tools > Codec Information" on the top menu when the video starts playing.
  6. Copy the link in the "Location" item and paste it into the browser.
  7. Right-click any area of the video and select "Save Video As..." to save the YouTube video to your computer.

For Mac:

  1. Copy the YouTube video URL in your browser and open the VLC media player.
  2. Go to "File > Open Network," paste the URL and click "Open."
  3. Click "Window > Media Information" on the top menu of the VLC.
  4. Copy the URL of the "Location" item in the open Window and paste it into the browser.
  5. Right-click and select "Download Video" to save to Mac.

For Android/iOS:

VLC for Android and iOS does not directly display the codec information of the video. However, you can still use the steps below to download YouTube videos with VLC on iPhone/Android for free, but you will need the assistance of a computer.

  1. Use the VLC desktop version to obtain the Media Information of the YouTube video.
  2. Copy the URL in its "Location" item and transfer it to Phone.
  3. Open VLC for iOS or Android and click "Network in the bottom menu and select "Download Content."
  4. Paste this URL and click "Download" to start downloading the YouTube video.

Ways 2. Using VLC's Stream Option

For Windows 11/10/8/7:

  1. Open the VLC media player and hold down the "Ctrl + S" keys at the same time.
  2. Click the "Network" tab in the new window.
  3. Copy the YouTube video URL and paste it into the input box, then click the "Stream."
  4. In the next window, Click "Next."
  5. Click the "Add" button, enter the name you need to save the video, then click Browse to select a location to store it and click "Next."
  6. Click the drop-down box behind "Profile" to select your needed video format and click "Next."
  7. Click "Stream" to complete the YouTube video download.

For macOS:

  1. Open VLC and navigate to "File > Open Network."
  2. Type the YouTube video UR and click "Open RTP/UDP Stream."
  3. Follow steps 4-7 above for PC to download YouTube videos with VLC.

Ways 3. From VLC's Advance Controls Option

If the above methods to free download YouTube videos using VLC fails, you can try the following steps, but it will take longer.

On Windows:

  1. Open VLC and make sure the "Advanced Controls" option is selected.
  2. Go to the VLC program and click "Media > Open Network Stream" on the top menu.
  3. Paste the YouTube video's URL in the input box and click "Play."
  4. Click the "Pause" button at the bottom and slide the video playback progress to the starting position.
  5. Click the "Record" button and quickly click the "Play" button.
  6. Wait for the video to finish playing, open "File Explorer," and click "Videos" in the left panel.
  7. You will see the saved YouTube video after opening the folder.

On Mac:

Although VLC for macOS does not have an "Advanced Controls" option. But you use the "Record" option to accomplish the same task and just need to set up more items.

  1. Open VLC Media Player on your Mac.
  2. Click "View > Open Capture Device" on the top menu bar.
  3. Switch to the "Capture" tab in the open window and select "Screen."
  4. Go to "File > Open Network."
  5. Paste the YouTube video URL and click "Open" to play the video.
  6. Click "Playback > Record" to start recording.

The above is all the methods and detailed steps to using VLC download videos from YouTube. However, you can also look at the pros and cons of the solution to make an informed choice. However, it's important to note that no solution is perfect, and there are pros and cons to using any method.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Download YouTube Videos with VLC Media Player

Wide Platform Availability: You can free download YouTube with VLC on Mac, Windows PC, Android, iOS, Linux, etc.
No Need for External Tools: VLC allows you to download video and audio streams from online sites like YouTube without needing an external fully-fledged video downloader.
Limited Compatibility: It may not work for some YouTube videos due to various restrictions.
Complexity: Downloading videos from YouTube by VLC involves multiple steps, which may be complex for some users.
No Batch Downloading: Unlike dedicated video downloaders, VLC does not support batch downloading, which means you can only download one video at a time.

Overall, downloading YouTube videos via VLC is an effective method. But you may encounter problems along the way. For this, you can check the following troubleshooting tips.

How to Fix VLC Not Download Videos from YouTube

If you're having trouble downloading YouTube videos with VLC Media Player, there are several potential solutions that you can try:

If these methods still don't help you solve the problem, consider using a different approach to download YouTube videos. There are many online Web and applications available that can do this.

5 Alternatives to Download YouTube Videos by VLC (2 Online Tool and 3 App)

1. 10downloader

It is a online tool that allows users to download videos from platforms like YouTube. It provides an easy-to-use GUI where users can paste the video URL they wish to download, and the tool will do the rest.

User-friendly Interface: The tool offers an easy-to-use platform that requires only a few clicks to convert and download YouTube videos.
No Need for Software Installation: It operates online, eliminating the need for any software installation.
No download queue: Users cannot add multiple videos to the download queue.


It allowing users to convert and download YouTube videos into formats such as MP3 and MP4. It also supports downloading YouTube Shorts.

No Download Limitations: There are no restrictions on the number of downloads, giving users the freedom to download as much content as they want.
All Platform Supported: It supports all platforms, making it accessible for users irrespective of their device.
Limited resources: The source of YouTube videos it provides is not rich enough, and it cannot directly download target videos. You can only save it by right-clicking.

3. 4K Video Downloader

It is a popular tool that allows users to download high-quality videos, playlists, channels, and subtitles from sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and other video hosting sites. The software is known for its ability to download videos in various resolutions, including 4K and 8K quality.

High-Quality Downloads: As the name implies, 4K Video Downloader enables high-resolution downloads, providing excellent video quality.
Versatile Format Support: The software supports various formats, including MP4, MKV, M4A, MP3, FLV, and 3G, and it can also generate .m3u files for playlists.
3D and 360° Video Downloads: One of the few downloaders allows 3D and 360° video downloads.
Free Version Limitations: The free version of the software has limitations, such as the inability to download playlists containing more than 24 videos.

4. SnapDownloader

It lets users download and save videos from YouTube and other video-sharing platforms. SnapDownloader can come in handy when you want to watch a video offline, save a live stream, or create a personal archive of your favorite videos.

Broad Compatibility: SnapDownloader supports video downloads from more than 900 websites.
User-Friendly Interface: Simple interface, easy to use even for beginners.
Slow Download Speeds: Some users have reported slow download speeds, particularly for larger files.

5. Freemake Video Downloader

It is a desktop application designed to download videos from over 1000 websites, including popular platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Vimeo. It's available for both Windows and macOS

High-Quality Downloads: The software allows users to download videos from YouTube in up to 8K resolution.
Batch Downloads: Users can download multiple YouTube videos simultaneously, saving time.
Limited Platform Availability: The software is only available for Windows and macOS, with no support for mobile devices.


Downloading videos from YouTube with VLC Media Player is a popular method among users, but it can also raise some questions. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding this process:


VLC media player is a versatile tool that can be used for more than just media playback. In fact, you can also download YouTube videos using VLC for free and save them to your computer for offline viewing. With the steps outlined in this blog, you can easily download and save your favorite videos from YouTube. Moreover, if it fails, you can also use the alternatives we provided. Finally, when you get your favorite videos, keep them safe to avoid the hassle of retrieval using data recovery software.