ViDL is a great free YouTube and video downloader for Mac


movie theater seats vidl
Download almost any video with ViDL.
Photo: Denise Jans/Unsplash

ViDL is a YouTube download app for Mac. It comes from Ole Moritz, developer of the amazing Pythonista and Editorial iOS apps. ViDL is a simple wrapper for the youtube-dl command-line tool, so if you already use that, you don’t need this. But the app is far easier to use than a command-line tools. Plus, it offers a built-in browser, in case you need to log in to a site to get access to the target videos. There’s even a ViDL Safari extension.

ViDL on Mac

I download YouTube videos all the time. Specifically, I grab live versions of songs so I can see the guitarist play, and get an idea of how they played the song while I transcribe it. A download is essential for me, because I run the clips back and forth, and slow them down in a dedicated app (AudioStretch). Or I do the same, only with tutorial videos.

ViDL YouTube video downloader for Mac is just fantastic.
ViDL is just fantastic.
Photo: omz:software

On iOS, I’ve experienced limited success using shortcuts to do this. On Mac, the process should work more reliably, as youtube-dl isn’t subject to Apple’s App Store rules and regulations.

To use ViDL, just download it and put it in your Applications folder like any other app. The app contains youtube-dl, and the ffmpeg video-processing binaries it requires to run, so you don’t need to install anything else. If you want to use ViDL’s built-in Safari extension, you must enable it inside Safari’s preferences. If you can’t use the Safari extension, a bookmarklet does the same thing.

Click and play

Then, when you’re on a webpage with the video you want to download, just click on the bookmarklet or the extension button in the Safari window. Youtube-dl, and therefore ViDL, supports a huge number of sites, so you should be good wherever you go. ViDL also supports playlists.

You also can grab only the audio from a video, if that’s what you prefer. Finally, you can specify a download location on your Mac.

I can’t see a way to specify the quality of the downloads. Some default to 720p, others to 360p. I have asked the developer if it’s possible to choose.

ViDL is great. It’s simple, it works, and it comes from a developer I trust. Oh, and it’s completely free.

Price: Free

Download: ViDL from omz:software (macOS)


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