How to Download YouTube Videos on iPhone or iPad Without Jailbreaking

YouTube iPad

One of the biggest downsides to iOS, especially compared to Android, is that it is a heavily closed platform. Apple sets restrictions on its iPhone, iPad and iPod touch software that it expects you to adhere to, although those rules can often be quite ridiculous. For instance, all third-party apps on the App Store with YouTube video downloading functionality have been promptly removed. Apple claims that such a feature is a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service.

Fortunately, for those that prefer to run stock iOS software on their device, a new method of downloading YouTube videos on iPhone, iPad or iPod touch without jailbreaking has emerged. First, you’ll need to download Pythonista from the App Store ($6.99). Next, you’ll need to install iDownloads PLUS from the App Store (free). Then, save this script into the Pythonista interface manually or with the Gist downloader, and it should be named “YoutubeDL” once finished. 

Now, using Mobile Safari, create a bookmark for any page and name it something relevant. Then, in Bookmark Edit mode, change the URL to the following JavaScript:


Your script should now be prepared, meaning that downloading YouTube videos to your device should now be a relatively simple task. Here are the instructions:

Browse to in Mobile Safari, view a video that you like (press Stop if it starts playing, you need to be looking at the page – not the video actually playing), then click on “Bookmarks” and select the bookmarklet that you created.

This will launch my script, which will pull the URL of the page you were looking at as an argument, parse it, figure out the direct download URL for the .mp4 video file, then open iDownloads directly to that URL to start downloading it.

While this whole process may seem daunting, you should be able to flawlessly download YouTube videos to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch after successfully following the steps outlined above. If you have any problems along the way, be sure to read the source article for more information and comment within the forums for help. Let me know if you’re successful within the comments section.

[Pythonista Forums via MacStories]

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