Convert YouTube videos to MP3s – How to Download Music From YouTube
This article explains how to download music from YouTube to a computer and to an iPhone using several different tools including the Documents iOS app and YouTube downloader websites.
What to Know
- The easiest method is to use an online converter tool. We recommend Mp3Skull, Ytmp3.cc, and Y2mate.com.
- You can also use software like MediaHuman or Audacity.
- On iOS, open Documents, tap the browser icon and navigate to a YouTube audio downloader. We recommend Mp3Skull.
How To Download Music From YouTube To a Computer
A YouTube to MP3 converter lets you download a YouTube video as an MP3 file, a perfect solution if all you want out of a video is the audio. You can then make a ringtone out of the YouTube video, add the MP3 to your music collection, etc.
One alternative is to sign up for YouTube Music, which offers free and paid plans for streaming music.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of these free converters out there that you can pick from, but not all are created equal. Some YouTube converters are really slow at converting and downloading and others are full of ads or confusing to use.
The tools below include only the best YouTube to MP3 converters, each with their own set of unique features, plus a few other ways to get audio out of a YouTube video that you might not have seen before.
Once you get the MP3 from the YouTube video, you can then use a free audio file converter to save it to M4R for an iPhone ringtone, or any other audio format you want.
Most dedicated YouTube converters don’t include the audio from advertisement content. Ads are entirely separate from videos and so aren’t included when you convert a video to MP3 or any other audio/video format.
TRY A YOUTUBE DOWNLOADER WEBSITE
Depending on the tool, you might have more options than just MP3, including 3GP, WEBM, MP4, and M4A.
For most of you, this is simply the easiest way to extract audio from a YouTube video.
MEDIAHUMAN YOUTUBE TO MP3 CONVERTER SOFTWARE
If you want a full-fledged desktop program to extract and convert YouTube videos to MP3, MediaHuman YouTube to MP3 Converter is the very best option for Windows, Mac, and Ubuntu.
There are several exceptional features that no other program or service in this list has, and lots of really specific options you can fiddle with to personalize the program and make it work exactly how you like.
Batch downloads and multi-link importing are supported so that you can queue up and download more than one MP3 file at once. Pair that with the “Start download automatically” option and you’ll be downloading tons of YouTube MP3s in no time.
MediaHuman’s YouTube MP3 downloader also supports playlist downloads so that you can instantly grab all the videos from a playlist and convert each video to a separate MP3. It can even track a playlist for new videos and then automatically download the MP3s.
This YouTube to MP3 converter also lets you set up iTunes importing so that MP3s will automatically load in iTunes, which is perfect if you plan on keeping your downloaded MP3s in sync with your iPhone or iPad.
Here are some other notable features: bandwidth control, custom bitrate settings, M4A and OGG output, auto shutdown option once files are finished downloading, YouTube login for accessing private videos, renaming the title and other info before downloading, and support for downloading MP3s from other websites like SoundCloud, Facebook, and Vimeo.
If you’re looking for another desktop-based option, try MiniTool uTube Downloader.
You can play the MP3 file from whatever folder you chose in Step 5. Use the button on the bottom left-hand corner of the Documents app to return to your folders and open the MP3.
USE AUDACITY TO DOWNLOAD YOUTUBE MUSIC
Although it’s not quite as easy to use as MediaHuman’s tool mentioned above, Audacity is another popular option for downloading music from YouTube to a Computer. The software is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS.
Audacity is a free audio recording and editing program, so the way it works for YouTube conversions is pretty simple: record whatever sounds the computer is making and then save it to an MP3 file.
To do this, you have to change a few settings in Audacity and make sure no other sounds are playing on your computer since it will record anything sent to the speakers.
HOW TO USE AUDACITY ON WINDOWS
Using Audacity on Windows is a bit different from macOS. Be sure to download and install it first, then follow the directions below.
Go to Edit > Preferences to open the settings.
Select Devices on the left.
From the Interface section at the top, change the Host: option to Windows WASAPI.
- From the same window, in the Recording section at the bottom, change the Device: option to be the output device, like your speakers or headphones.
Choose OK to save and exit.
From a web browser (doesn’t matter which one), open the video you want to “convert” to MP3, and then be ready to hit the record button in Audacity as quickly as you can. That, or you can start recording in Audacity first and then start the video, but then you may have to do some editing in Audacity to remove any silence at the beginning.
Hit the stop button in Audacity to stop recording. To save the recording to MP3, go to File > Export > Export as MP3, and save the MP3 somewhere you can find later.
- To save the recording to MP3, go to File > Export > Export as MP3, and save the MP3 somewhere you can find later.
HOW TO USE AUDACITY ON MACOS
Mac users need to download and install Soundflower along with Audacity. It lets them route the audio from YouTube to Audacity.
Once you’ve downloaded and opened Soundflower, launch the Soundflower.pkg file to actually use the installer. If it won’t install, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy and choose to Allow next to the “blocked from loading” message.
From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences and then Sound.
- In the Output tab of the Sound screen, select Soundflower (2ch) as the output device.
In Audacity’s Preferences screen, via Audacity > Preferences, open the Devices tab on the left.
Under the Recording section, choose Soundflower (2ch) as the Device: option.
- Open the Recording tab on the left and enable Software Playthrough of input so that you can hear the video as it’s playing.
Choose OK to save the changes.
Open a web browser to the YouTube video that you want to ultimately save to MP3. Be ready to press play on that video but also be prepared to hit the record button in Audacity.
You can do either one first (i.e., play the video and then hit the record button or vice versa) but you might miss a little of the beginning of the video if you start it before you begin recording.
Use the stop button in Audacity to quit recording.
Go to File > Export > Export as MP3 to save the recording to an MP3 file.
- To make sure your computer will play sounds normally again, repeat Step 3 but choose Internal Speakers this time.
If the MP3 has some other noises like an ad that played at the beginning of the video, some silence, or some talking at the end, it’s easy to clip those out with Audacity.
Other noises like email alerts or error sounds that are mixed in with the audio are a bit harder to fix. If that happens, close down whatever made the noise and try the recording again for a cleaner MP3.
If Audacity won’t save to MP3 and instead shows a message about a missing lame_enc.dll file or libmp3lame.dylib file, see this troubleshooting guide for help. It’s a common problem that’s easy to fix.
USE THE VLC MEDIA PLAYER
VLC is a free, incredibly versatile video and audio file player, and it works great for downloading YouTube videos to the MP4 format in Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Once the video is in the MP4 format, you can convert it to MP3 in the same way that you can when using the web browser method you just read about above.
Here’s how to get the MP4 with VLC:
Open the network options:
- Windows: Go to Media > Open Network Stream.
- macOS: Use the File > Open Network option.
Paste the YouTube video’s URL in the text box located in that Network tab.
Choose Play in Windows or Open in macOS to start playing the video within the program.
After it starts (you can pause it if you like), copy the real URL that VLC is streaming:
- Windows: Go to Tools > Codec Information. From the Codec tab, copy the long URL located at the very bottom next to Location:.
- macOS: Find the Window > Media Information menu option. Open the General tab and copy the URL from the Location text box.
Paste that URL into your web browser, be it Chrome, Edge, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.
Once it starts to load, right-click or tap-and-hold the video and choose the save option from that menu. You can also hit the Ctrl+S or Command+S shortcut to save the MP4, or select the Download button if you see one.
Now convert that MP4 to an MP3 file to effectively extract the audio from the YouTube video.
How To Download Music From YouTube To iPhone
Downloading music and other audio files directly to an iPhone isn’t quite as easy as it is on Android because iPhones aren’t built in a way to allow this kind of thing.
Instead, you have to do two things: use a specific app that supports downloading files and then download the MP3 to your phone with an online YouTube to MP3 converter. We recommend Documents by Readdle.
There are other apps like Documents that can download files but we’ve found that this one works the best, especially if you want to be able to lock your phone and still listen to music (you can’t do that with the iOS YouTube app).
- Open Documents and tap the small browser icon on the bottom corner.
Visit Mp3Skull (or any other YouTube audio downloader) and find the video you want to download as an MP3. You can also paste the link to the video if you already copied a direct link from an email, a text message, the YouTube app, your web browser, etc.
Use the download option to save the MP3 to your device.
When asked, enter a name for the MP3 and then choose a folder to save it in, or use the default one.
If you’re not asked for a file name when you tap to download the MP3, hold the button down instead, and then choose the download option.
Select Done to download the MP3 to your iPhone.
Is It Legal to Convert YouTube Videos to MP3?
Frankly: yes and no. Downloading videos from YouTube or extracting audio from YouTube videos is 100 percent safe and legal only if it’s your original content that you’re downloading (you’re the original creator and uploader of the video) or you have written permission from the person or group that owns the right to the video.
Another way you can get free content from YouTube is if the uploader includes an official download link or if the content is in the public domain.
What this means, of course, is that you cannot legally use YouTube as your own personal music collection source, freely downloading songs without permission from videos uploaded by others, even if they’re for your own personal use and you don’t plan on sharing them with friends.