YouTube is testing an official download feature for desktop browsers

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Youtube is testing out a feature that allows users to download videos, but it’s not available to all users and it doesn’t work how you’d think. So don’t be too quick to get your hopes up.

A few things to get out of the way first. First off, this is just a trial run of the feature and it’s only available to Premium subscribers. Does anyone actually pay for that? The other disappointment is that, at least for now, you can’t watch the videos outside of your browser. So while you’re still technically downloading the videos, it might be better to think of it as an offline watch later list.

C’mon YouTube, you’re better than this

This seems like a small step backwards for YouTube. This exact feature has been available on mobile devices for a long time where it isn’t hidden behind a paywall. Maybe we’re being too harsh on the video platform and it only wants to expose its paying customers to the apparently buggy mess that is the beta of the download feature on a PC or Mac. Maybe when the feature releases in full it’ll be available for everyone. Maybe, but we highly doubt it.

If you’re in the small group of people that subscribe to YouTube Premium and want to try it out you’ll need the latest version of Chrome, Edge or Opera. Those are the browsers that YouTube mentions explicitly, no telling yet if it’s locked to just those. Then you’ll need to head over to the experimental features page to see if you’re eligible to test it out. But another heads up, expect bugs. 

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I've been interested in tech for as long as I can remember. A few facts about me; I learnt how to code when I was 5, I helped Mark Shuttleworth develop Ubuntu when I was 9 and now I write for a tech publication. Only one of those facts is true. I also have a drama degree, hence the writing.

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