ViDL is a great free YouTube and video downloader for Mac

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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.

How to change your Safari downloads folder on iPhone and iPad

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books
Don't let your iCloud Drive end up looking like this.
Photo: lle dnuor/Unsplash

By default, Safari on iOS downloads all files to a folder in your iCloud. This means you can access those files from all your devices. But it also means those files fill up your iCloud Drive. Worse, every megabyte you download also gets uploaded back to iCloud, doubling your bandwidth usage.

Today we’ll see how to change the location of your Safari downloads folder in iOS 13.

Finally — a YouTube download shortcut for iOS that actually works

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download youtube shortcut
In the olden days, we had to download videos through our eyes, and we couldn't even save them.
Photo: Sven Scheuermeier/Unsplash

I’ve made several attempts at creating/repurposing iOS shortcuts that download YouTube videos and save them for offline viewing. The problem is, most of the shortcuts broke after a while, or proved so unreliable that I gave up on them. And, judging by the responses I get via Twitter, you folks are also very interested in downloading YouTube videos.

Well, this weekend I finally found a way to make it work reliably. And because it uses a third-party service to locate the downloadable video link, it means that someone else is making sure that it all keeps working. Hopefully. For now. Fingers crossed.

Get all the default Mac wallpapers, in gorgeous Retina 5K

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Mac wallpaper on iPad
Isn't it beautiful?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The best ever Mac default desktop background (aka Mac wallpaper) was the blue Aqua picture that came with OS X 10.4 Tiger. It’s classy, restful and classic without feeling dated. It has enough depth to make it interesting, but is simple enough not to distract. Other Aqua-themed Mac OS X wallpapers followed, but that one remains the best. And if you want it, you can download it in beautiful 5K resolution.

But that’s not all. Over at 512 Pixels, you can download every default macOS wallpaper ever, also in 5K.

How to stop Safari asking permission to download everything

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safari download
Imagine if real deliveries had to be given permission to arrive. What a second…
Photo: Kelli McClintock/Unsplash

Ever since Safari 13, the Mac browser now prompts you every time you try to download a file. In this way, it behaves much like Safari for iOS. It’s a security feature, clearly designed to stop websites sneaking files onto your computer. But perhaps you value the convenience of uncontrolled downloads more than this added security? If so, you’re in luck, because you can turn this feature off. Better still, you can still block Safari downloads from “bad” sites, even while allowing new ones automatically.

How to detach MacSafari’s download popover to make a proper window

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Some more confusing windows.
Some more confusing windows.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Did you ever wish that Safari on the Mac had a proper download manager? Or at least a proper download window,

instead of the popover that sticks to the browser window and gets in the way until you close it?

Well, today your wishes will come true. Or this one modest wish will come true at least.

Make your own iPhone Safari download manager with Shortcuts

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Who doesn’t enjoy a well-managed download?
Who doesn’t enjoy a well-managed download?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

One of the biggest shortcomings of mobile Safari is downloading files. It’ll do it just fine, but it loads everything as if it were a web page. PDFs, ZIPs, MP3s: They all get loaded right there into the current page, whereupon you have to use the Open In… feature to save the file.

Perhaps even worse — you don’t have any idea how long the download is going to take. All you have to go on is the loading progress bar up in the URL bar, which creeps along and really only offers two states: “not done yet” and “done.”

Today we will fix that by whipping up a download manager using the Shortcuts app. Let’s go.

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App Store
Apple apps no longer dominate App Store search results.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Download Instagram photos with this Siri shortcut

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Download Instagram
You can download any Instagram photo -- even this one.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you like a photo or video on Instagram, you can like it, or you can save it to your collection. But what about just saving it? You just can’t download Instagram photos.

This week, a friend of mine posted some awesome videos he shot on tape back in the 1980s. I don’t want to dig around in Instagram’s ever-more-convoluted app just to watch them. I want to save them to my iPhone’s Photo Library. Instagram doesn’t let you save an image. Even if you copy the Instagram link using the share feature, then open that image in iPhone Safari, you can’t get at the image.

So I made a shortcut to do it for me. Check it out.

How to rip and save audio from YouTube videos with your iPhone

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rip youtube audio
This screen represents YouTube, and the telephone represents audio. Or something.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Editor’s note: As of Feb. 10, 2010, the tip outlined below no longer works. However, we published a new post about an iOS shortcut that currently does work: “Finally — a YouTube download shortcut for iOS that actually works.” Enjoy.

YouTube isn’t just for video. Lots of folks use it to post audio files, only they gum up the songs with slideshows so they can upload them to the video-publishing service. There are all kinds of apps that let you convert a YouTube video back into an MP3, but today we’re going to see how to convert a video to an MP3 right in Safari, using Apple’a own Workflow/Shortcuts app.