Watching YouTube video online is one of the nation's favourite pastimes when it comes to their smartphone- and tablet viewing habits. But what about when you're offline - away from home, out of data and Wi-Fi down? We explain how to download YouTube to Android in just a few simple steps.

  1. Download and install TubeMate 3.0.13 (you'll need to enable Unknown sources first)
  2. Launch YouTube and browse to the video you want to download
  3. Tap Share, choose TubeMate, then select and resolution and hit Download 

We'll explain those steps in detail below, but before you begin you should know that Google doesn't exactly approve of you bypassing its platform for watching video (also see is it legal to download YouTube video?). For this reason you won't find TubeMate - or other YouTube downloaders - in Google Play.

We are not advocating the practise, and in our walkthrough are downloading only our own videos to make an offline backup.

Also note that Google has its own YouTube Go app that has become known as the company's official YouTube downloader, although it's really designed just for saving data in countries that have limited access to cellular networks.

How to use TubeMate to make YouTube video available offline

Step 1. TubeMate is not available via Google Play, so you need to enable the installation of apps from outside Google's app store first. Please remember to turn off this setting when you're done: it's there for your protection. 

To enable installation of other third-party apps head to Security, Unknown apps and toggle on the slider.

Step 2. Launch the browser and search for TubeMate. We clicked on the top result and downloaded it directly from the site. The latest version at the time of writing is 3.0.13, and when an update becomes available you can follow these same steps to apply it (Google Play will not automatically download updates for apps installed outside its store).

Step 3. When the TubeMate .apk has finished downloading, tap on the notification in the drop-down navigation bar at the top of the screen to begin installation. Follow the prompts, and when installation is complete tap Done.

Step 4. Launch YouTube and find a video you want to download. Tap Share, then choose TubeMate from the list of available apps. This will launch TubeMate in a new app window; select a resolution from the list provided and tap the green Download icon.

Download YouTube to Android

You can alternatively download YouTube video within TubeMate itself. Launch the app and use its search function to find what you're looking for, then tap the green Download button.

Here's how to enable Dark Mode in YouTube.

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