Can you download music from YouTube directly to phone?

With over 1.3 billion monthly users in 2020, YouTube has become one of the most popular platforms for listening to music online (Zipdo). While YouTube was not originally designed as a music streaming service, many people now use it to find and listen to their favorite songs and albums. A common question that arises is whether it’s possible to download music directly from YouTube onto your mobile phone for offline listening. This article will examine the legality, methods, apps, and steps for downloading YouTube music to an iPhone or Android device.

Is It Legal?

Although downloading videos from YouTube for personal use is generally allowed, specifically downloading just the audio of music videos or songs to convert them into MP3s can be illegal or violate YouTube’s terms of service. According to YouTube’s terms of service, users are prohibited from illegally downloading videos or converting videos into MP3 formats.

As stated in YouTube’s terms of service, “You agree not to access Content through any technology or means other than the video playback pages of the Service itself, the Embeddable Player, or other explicitly authorized means YouTube may designate.” This means that using third party apps, converters or downloader tools to strip the audio into MP3 format is discouraged and against YouTube’s policies. The Terms of Service also prohibit downloading videos for reasons that include converting videos into downloadable formats.

However, there has been ongoing debate about whether downloading just the audio from YouTube for personal use qualifies as copyright infringement. While major record labels aggressively protect their copyrights, some legal experts argue that downloading a song just for personal use could potentially qualify as fair use and is extremely unlikely to be prosecuted as copyright infringement. But YouTube cautions users against downloading for the purpose of creating reformatted, derivative versions of their content.

Methods to Download

One of the most popular methods for downloading YouTube videos is by using a YouTube downloader website. These sites allow you to simply enter the URL of the YouTube video you want to download and will then convert the video into a downloadable file format like MP3 for audio or MP4 for video. Some of the most well-known YouTube downloader sites include OnlineVideoConverter, ClipConverter, and aTubeCatcher.

These sites offer a quick and easy way to download YouTube videos without any specialized software or technical knowledge required. Most work by identifying the source video file on YouTube’s servers, downloading it, and then converting it into a format you can save to your computer or device. The advantage of using these sites over a dedicated app is that you can access them from any web browser on any device.

However, there are some downsides to keep in mind. Many free YouTube downloaders will attach their brand name as a watermark on the downloaded videos. There may also be limits on the length or quality of videos you can download unless you upgrade to a premium account. And as with any third-party site, you’ll want to be wary of potential spam or malware being bundled into the downloads.

Using a YouTube to MP3 Converter

One method for downloading YouTube videos as MP3 files is to use a dedicated YouTube to MP3 converter. These are websites or software programs designed specifically for converting YouTube videos into audio files. Some popular YouTube to MP3 converters include 4kFinder, Filmora Video Editor, and DVDVideoSoft.

YouTube to MP3 converters allow you to simply copy and paste a YouTube video URL into the converter. It will then analyze the video and extract just the audio in MP3 format. Most converters offer options like selecting audio quality and downloading meta data like artist name, song title, etc. Many work quickly to convert even hour-long videos in just a few minutes.

The main benefit of using a dedicated YouTube to MP3 converter is simplicity and speed. You don’t have to install any software or apps. The converters are also optimized specifically for grabbing audio from YouTube, so they can parse out just the audio track and save it as a high quality MP3 with proper tags.

Downloading with a YouTube App

Using a dedicated YouTube app is another convenient way to download videos and audio from YouTube directly to your phone. Apps like TubeMate allow downloading videos in different resolutions and formats, converting and saving just the audio, and more. TubeMate is one of the most popular and full-featured options, with over 500 million downloads on Android devices.

TubeMate lets you search for and download videos, select the format (MP4, 3GP, etc.), quality, and location to save files. It can extract and save just the audio as an MP3. The app also allows downloading multiple videos in batches. Other handy features include a built-in player, ability to resume broken downloads, and downloading age-restricted videos. While completely free, TubeMate does show ads.

There are many other good YouTube downloader apps like Snaptube, NewPipe, and more. The main benefit of using a specialized app is it avoids having to copy links and use an online converter. Everything happens right within the app. Just search, tap download, and the video or audio will save directly to your device.

Using Streaming Apps

Streaming apps provide a convenient way to listen to music from YouTube videos without downloading them. Many popular music streaming services like Spotify and Pandora allow you to search for and play songs directly from YouTube. This means you can find your favorite music videos on YouTube and listen to them through the streaming app without downloading the videos to your device.

Streaming apps offer ad-free listening, offline downloads, and the ability to save songs to playlists. So while you can’t directly download from YouTube to your phone, streaming apps provide a seamless experience for enjoying YouTube music on the go without downloading anything.

Downloading YouTube Videos

While many users prefer to download just the audio from YouTube videos in MP3 format, some may want to download the full video file. There are some advantages and disadvantages to consider when downloading the full YouTube videos instead of just the audio.

One advantage of downloading the full video is that you can watch the visual content offline at any time, which can be useful if you want to access videos while traveling or don’t have a stable internet connection (according to The full video may also contain additional content not found in the audio alone.

However, there are some downsides to downloading full YouTube videos. The video files take up significantly more storage space on your device compared to audio-only files. Watching videos can also drain your phone’s battery faster than just listening to audio. There are also potential copyright issues with downloading full videos, while downloading just the audio for personal use is generally more accepted (according to

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and storage capacity whether downloading full YouTube videos makes sense versus sticking to the audio. But it’s helpful to weigh the pros and cons before deciding.

Steps to Download on iPhone

Downloading YouTube music directly on your iPhone is easy with just a few steps. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Open the YouTube app on your iPhone and find the music video or song you want to download.
  2. Tap on the three dots next to the title of the video. This will open a menu.
  3. In the menu, tap on “Download.” This will save the YouTube video to your device.
  4. Open the Files app on your iPhone and go to On My iPhone > Downloads > YouTube.
  5. Find the video you downloaded and tap on the three dots next to it. Select “Share” from the menu.
  6. Choose “Add to Apple Music.” This will add just the audio from the YouTube video to your Apple Music library.
  7. You can now find and listen to the downloaded song in your Apple Music app even when offline.

The key is using the YouTube app to download the video first, then extracting just the audio to save to your Apple Music library. This provides an easy way to get free music from YouTube videos right on your iPhone. Just make sure to only download content you have the rights to use.

Steps to Download on Android

Downloading YouTube music directly on your Android device is easy and convenient. Here are the steps:

1. Open the YouTube app on your Android phone or tablet.

2. Search for the song or music video you want to download.

3. Tap on the video to start playing it.

4. Tap on the three vertical dots in the top right corner to open the menu.

5. Select “Download” from the menu options.

6. The video will start downloading onto your device’s storage. You can view download progress by pulling down the notification shade.

7. Once the download is complete, you can find the video in the “Downloads” section of the YouTube app.

And that’s it! The downloaded YouTube video will be saved locally on your device. You can then extract just the audio portion if you only want the music track. Some music download apps like NewPipe make it easy to download only audio.

So downloading YouTube music on Android is quick and hassle-free without needing any extra apps or software.


In summary, there are a few different methods to download music from YouTube directly to your phone. Using a YouTube to MP3 converter is the most straightforward option, allowing you to download audio files that you can then save to your device. There are also several YouTube apps like Tubemate that let you download videos or extract the audio. Streaming apps like Spotify allow you to listen to YouTube music offline by adding songs to playlists. And Android users can download YouTube videos directly through the share menu.

When downloading or streaming music from YouTube, it’s important to keep copyright laws in mind. While methods like MP3 converters are commonly used, strictly speaking this type of downloading is illegal without permission from the rights holders. There are legal gray areas, but ultimately the safest option is to use paid streaming platforms that have agreements with record labels and artists.

In the end, while it takes a few extra steps, you can download music from YouTube to your phone through both authorized and unauthorized means. Just be thoughtful about copyright and support the artists you love when you can.

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