My question is specific to YouTube app's new offline functionality.

I have saved some video from YouTube app on my Android phone. I restored my phone OS due to some problem. But I have files that were downloaded by YouTube app stored on SD Card. Now YouTube is not showing that videos in offline list.

Is there any way by which I can open those files in through YouTube app?


I am just wondering whether youtube uses some config files to store list of downloaded videos. If so can we modify such config files and add those videos to the offline list.

  • 2
    You haven't mentioned the time interval between saving the video and restoring it. According to an article on Engadget, "Anything you save will be accessible for 48 hours in the offline section on the left-hand sliding menu." You might need to redownload the video again.
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 9:21
  • @AndrewT. Actually it was definitely more than 48 hours. But google offline shows 1gb sdcard memory being used but contents not visible in the youtube offline list.
    – KB5
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 20:05
  • 1
    More-or-less, that's what I mean: YouTube controls access to the offline file. Even if the file is there, YouTube won't list it if it's already expired. I assume the permission is controlled on their server per account basis, so you have to delete the file manually and redownload it from YouTube. I believe it's like that for good reason.
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 1:08

2 Answers 2


No, currently there is NO way to recover those previously downloaded videos.


Offline feature rather counts as cache so it's not considered as "your data".

And since you restored phone (assuming it to be "factory-reset"), what it basically does is to wipe the content specially from the /cache (holding the application cache) and /data (user data and user-installed apps, dalvik cache) partitions.

Caution: You will loose all Downloaded Offline YouTube videos, when you "Uninstall Updates" of YouTube App.

I asked similar question HERE when I too found that my offline videos from YouTube Gone Missing!

  • This question seems to be answering a different question (though it may be the asker's intended question given the comments).
    – agweber
    Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 15:02
  • @agweber Yes, when i posted the answer, the OP had provided some comments and my answer post is based on that. But it seems those comments are now removed. Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 13:29
  • I disagree. I don't think it(youtube) saves the video in cache anymore. One can watch a one-week-old video too. Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 3:48

No there is no way to open the .exo file since it is encrypted and the video file is split into chunks of .exo files. Even if you have one offline video stored in your phone you can find more than one .exo file under Internal Storage/Android/data/com.youtube.com directory. They are nothing but the encrypted exo files that can only be opened through the Youtube App. From the xda-developers forum post,

1- Google is using EXO file format to save videos. This is apparently a file format used for system files and while we managed to copy these EXO files onto a computer, it can be apparently played only through the YouTube Android app.

2- When you request a download for an offline video in the YouTube app, the video is downloaded in chunks. For example, a 3-minute file we downloaded was saved in five parts. It is possible that only the YouTube app for Android can make sense of these chunks and join them together.

3- We also feel there is real-time encryption going on here. When the video is downloaded, not only it is broken into parts but is also converted to EXO format, compressed and encrypted in real time. This has several benefits, the one obvious benefit is that people can't copy-paste the video and share it indiscriminately. The compression, meanwhile, saves space on the disk. For example, the 3-minute long video that we downloaded actually consumed around 40MB data. But when stored on the phone, the video took only around 25mb space.

4- When a user plays the video, it is decrypted in real time. It is possible that only YouTube's app can do this decryption.

5- If you share the offline video using Bluetooth, instead of the actual file, a web link to the video is sent to the recipient.

However you may want to look into this Exoplayer Library on Github and see if that helps.

ExoPlayer is an application level media player for Android. It provides an alternative to Android’s MediaPlayer API for playing audio and video both locally and over the Internet.

  • If the YouTube app does it offline, it can most certainly be reverse engineered to extract the logic for decryption and the keys. But of course this isn't too useful as you can download unencrypted YouTube videos easily. Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 6:32

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