I have the Galaxy S3, and I'd like to watch YouTube videos during my commutes. I like to watch long videos (around 1 hours), so I have no more than 1 video per commute.

However, youtube video takes a lot of bandwidth and I have a cap on data usage. Besides, connection outside during peak hours tend to be slow, which makes the video pause to download a lot of times.

Is it possible to pre-download a video at home (using my Wi-Fi, which is faster and has no data cap), and watch it on the way? I tried pausing it at home and let it download, but whenever the phone sleep (it sleeps often!), or the application switch from youtube to anything else, it seems all previous download will be lost.


6 Answers 6



YouTube has removed this feature. Source

YouTube's official app allows you to preload a video. You can either preload all your subscription or the videos you have added to watch later.

When your phone is connected to WiFi and charger, Youtube automatically pre-loads them.

Open Youtube -> Settings -> Preloading

One thing to note is that this still requires data connection to view the pre-loaded video. It won't download the videos but it does something (may be verification) before showing pre-loaded videos.

Read more at support doc

Source: "notesofgenius.com"

  • I disagree with this answer! You'll end up with a sure fire way of racking up a bill! Read this subreddit to find out why! The gist was the OP in the subreddit was subscribed to certain subscriptions, AT&T ended up charging the customer for going over the limit!
    – t0mm13b
    Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 1:49
  • That answer is assuming the OP has unlimited data plan in which the cap is limited and governed by the Fair Usage Policy hence -1 from me! :)
    – t0mm13b
    Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 1:58
  • @t0mm13b It uses Wi-Fi to preload the subscription which the OP has unlimited cap. So give my +1 back. If you are citing the reddit example it could be weird bug or some other misunderstanding. From Google support doc: "Conditions for preloading Once you turn on this feature, preloading will happen only when: The device’s battery is charging. The device is connected to a WiFi network. "
    – roxan
    Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 3:54
  • 2
    This feature is pretty bugged though, often times if you lose your wifi signal it will continue downloading over mobile data connection which can be pretty expensive.
    – Yalla T.
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 11:12
  • 1
    The setting seems gone in KitKat (Android 4.4)
    – offby1
    Commented Oct 25, 2014 at 3:56

There's a Python script floating around called youtube-dl (which is an open source project), an example invocation would be something like this:

youtube-dl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1MIVOTstF0

depending on the video format, either MP4 or flv, the file would be saved to disk as 'O1MIVOTstF0.mp4' or 'O1MIVOTstF0.flv'.

It is cross-platform friendly, and can run under any environment provided the Python run-time is installed.

Then push that across using a video player on the handset to play the youtube video - that is off-line, thereby minimizing data caps limit.

Addendum Am not 100% sure if Android has a video decoder for flv format... so that is an open ended question depending on what video player can support it.

  • how to run this?
    – Briyanti
    Commented Feb 7, 2013 at 15:04
  • @Briyanti that is a Linux shell script which does that, I have already supplied the typical invocation in the answer above ;)
    – t0mm13b
    Commented Feb 7, 2013 at 16:52
  • terminal emulator such as termux
    – qwr
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 0:38

Assuming you also have a PC at home, most modern browsers have extensions that will allow you to download a YouTube video, which you could then side load to your S3 and watch in airplane mode, if you liked. I know Opera has an extension that allows YouTube downloads and I assume other browser do too.

  • 1
    Would upvote if you specified an actual extension....
    – James B
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 14:18

Any chance that TubeMate might do the trick?

Just download them over wi-fi and watch 'em on the go. I find it too hard to view a video on a small screen for too long, but this might do the trick.


There are a couple on the Google Play Store. Search for youtube mp3 and you will find them.

Best one I found is MP3/Video Downloader - Grab It.

It's really simple to use. You can search YouTube and then download music in video or MP# format. Really nice app!

  • The question is specifically about watching pre-downloaded videos when commuting, not about a youtube-mp3 converter. Does GrabIt also download videos (without converting them to MP3s)?
    – ce4
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 13:22
  • 1
    Yes! Grab It grabit-mp3downloader.com allows you to download VIDEOS while you’re connected to WiFi and enjoy it later, when internet connection is not available. Videos are in MP4 and you have different qualities as well...
    – keithy991
    Commented Nov 1, 2013 at 8:33
  • Ah, ok. I was a bit confused by the title...
    – ce4
    Commented Nov 1, 2013 at 10:57

There is a new app called TubeDroid that will enable you to download videos to your device, rather than preloading them.

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