How to download YouTube playlist without installing an app

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Almost everyone who uses the internet uses YouTube, whether it’s to watch instructional videos on how to fix a bike tire, a favorite podcast, or just to watch funny cat videos. After the Google website itself, YouTube (owned by Google) is the second most visited website in the world. Internet users watch over 5 billion videos on YouTube every day.

We stream literally billions of videos every day from the YouTube service. Still, some people prefer to download YouTube playlist so that they can watch videos offline rather than stream the video. There are several reasons for wanting to do this.

Sometimes we have a fast connection in one place but a slow connection in others and we would like to retrieve our media while we can from where we have good broadband service. Sometimes we have places where we have no internet service.

Whatever the reason, many people are looking for a solution that would allow them to download music and video playlists without having to install a new app.

In this TechJunknie tutorial, I will show you how to download YouTube playlists for viewing later without an internet connection.

What are YouTube playlists?

A YouTube playlist is just a collection of individual videos linked together by any common factor that the playlist compiler deems to make sense. A playlist can be made up of videos by the same artist, TV shows from the same series, a mix of songs from the same genre, or something completely different. A playlist can be created by anyone who has posted the media online and can be arranged as they see fit. You can create a YouTube playlist based on any criteria you want!

In addition to users who watch YouTube playlists on YouTube itself, playlists are extremely popular on streaming services such as Spotify. You can create your own or access other people’s playlists, providing a way to listen to music for hours without having to interact with the program or search for new music.

Many playlists are created by users, but some services deploy bots to automate the creation of playlists.

Download a full YouTube playlist

Technically, downloading media from YouTube is against their terms of service (ToS) and possibly against the law.

As all kinds of media are published on the platform with all kinds of licenses, we will leave it up to you to make sure that you do not infringe on copyright by downloading from YouTube.

1. Download a playlist with VLC media player

Many people have already installed VLC media player because it is one of the best media player available. VLC is a cross-platform video utility toolkit that you can use on Windows, Mac, Linux, and other operating systems. VLC can play most media formats and even play your DVDs, CDs, etc. It is a versatile multimedia player with many advantages in its bag!

One of the tricks of VLC is being able to download media from streaming sites for offline viewing later. The downside is that you have to manually record each track, but nonetheless VLC will work on the whole playlist for you. Here’s how to download videos and other media from streaming sites like YouTube:

  1. Open the VLC media player then select Media from the top menu. VLC menu
  2. Now select Open the network flow … from the drop-down menu. VLC multimedia menu
  3. Copy the YouTube playlist URL, paste it in the Network Streams box and select To play. VLC network stream menu
  4. Then select Tools> Codec Info from the menu at the top. VLC Tools menu
  5. Then copy the data to the Location box at the bottom. VLC Codec Menu
  6. Paste this location data into a browser tab and press Enter. The video should now play in your browser.
  7. Right-click anywhere in the browser window and select Save as.

Through this process, VLC will download each video in the playlist to your computer in turn. You’ll need to complete steps 4-7 for each track, but that’s all you need to do, although you may need to be patient. Depending on the number of tracks in the playlist, the download process may take some time.

Using VLC Media Player is by far the most reliable way to download an entire YouTube playlist even if you cannot download the entire playlist at one time. Many of us already have VLC.

If you don’t want to use VLC, there is another way to download a playlist without having to record each track individually, although it is a bit cumbersome.

2. YouTube playlist

There is a website called YouTube Playlist that provides a service that does exactly what you’re looking to do: it will select an entire playlist, align it, and then download the playlist.

Downloading the entire playlist might take a while, especially at peak times, but otherwise it’s a nice little tool. This is how you use YouTube Playlist:

  1. Go to YouTube playlist and select Download YouTube title to bypass the ad. Do not download any software even if prompted, it is not necessary.
  2. Paste the YouTube playlist URL in the middle box and hit enter.
  3. Select the audio format you need.
  4. Let the site collect the playlist data. You should see it load under the blue box with the number of videos in the playlist.
  5. Select the green download button next to each track.

Originally, this site allowed you to download the entire playlist with just one click. You can’t do this anymore, but you can export the playlist to Spotify if you want. Otherwise, just tap Download MP3 / MP4 under each track.

3.youtube-dl

If you are comfortable with CLI programs for downloading YouTube videos and have Homebrew already installed on your machine, there is a very simple package that you can use to download YouTube playlists directly to your computer. Just keep in mind that it will take a bit of technical knowledge.

  1. Assuming Homebrew is already installed, open your computer’s terminal.
  2. In the terminal, type: ‘brew install youtube-dl‘. Homebrew may need an update first which is ok. The installation of the package should only take a minute or two.

3. You can now start using youtube-dl right away! To download a single video, just type ‘youtube-dl (video url)‘, replacing the (Video URL) with the actual URL. For example, if you were to download the song Baby Shark by Pink Fong, you would type ‘youtube-dl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqZsoesa55w‘in your terminal.

4. Downloading a playlist works almost exactly the same, except that you are going to copy and paste the URL of the video playlist instead of a specific video.

For more information about the commands in the youtube-dl package, you can check out the Git page here.

Conclusion

These are the two ways I know of how to download a full YouTube playlist. They won’t automatically download the full list for you, but they do provide a reliable means of downloading the list for yourself with minimal effort. Plus, you don’t have to download and install new third-party software, which is always a good thing!

If you are looking for ways to download videos from YouTube, check out this TechJunkie tutorial: YouTube Video Downloader – Easily download from your PC, Mac, iPhone or Android.

Do you have any tips or tricks on how to download YouTube playlists to listen to offline? If so, please tell us about it in the comments below!


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