Contrary to popular belief, it’s easy to download videos on iPhone and iPad using Safari. In this tutorial, we will show you how to save video files locally to your iPhone Camera Roll and the Files app for offline viewing.
What videos can you download on iPhone?
In almost all chat apps like Messages, WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, etc., you can download the videos people send you and view them inside that messaging app or export them to your iPhone’s Photos app.
Most social media apps like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook don’t allow easy saving of video clips to the Camera Roll. However, some free video downloader apps from the App Store, iOS shortcuts, and third-party websites let you save videos from these social platforms to your iPhone. Have a look:
- 6 ways to download Twitter videos on your iPhone
- How to download Instagram Reels without watermark for free
- How to download Facebook videos and photos
The YouTube app has a video downloader option, and the only legal way to download YouTube videos is by tapping the download button inside the official app. The saved video stays sandboxed in the YouTube app from where you can watch it without an internet connection, but you can’t transfer it to the iPhone Camera Roll.
In about 125 countries and regions like India, Israel, Egypt, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, and Vietnam, you can download most YouTube videos in the app for offline viewing – no YouTube Premium is required.
However, in countries like the USA, the UK, Australia, France, Italy, and more, you must have a Premium subscription to download YouTube videos.
You can browse websites using Apple’s Safari and search for the video you want to download. Some sites may offer an easy way to download the video, while others may have no such option, and when you tap the video, it starts playing in Safari with no visible button to save the video file. But worry not, as we will show you how to address this. These tips won’t work for all websites but should cover most of them.
How to download videos on iPhone and iPad
1) Open Safari and find the video on the concerned website. For this tutorial, I’m using Pixabay, which is a library of royalty-free stock footage.
2) Once you’re on the video page, tap the download button or link. If you don’t see a download button, jump to the next section.
3) After you tap the video download icon on a website in Safari, you should see an iOS pop-up menu with two options – View and Download. Tap Download, and it will save the file. You’ll notice that the Safari address bar now has a tiny arrow icon with a circular blue progress bar signifying the download status.
4) Tap Safari’s arrow icon and pick Downloads to get to the download manager, which lists the downloaded files. These files are saved in a folder inside the Files app.
But you can easily add them to your iPhone’s Camera Roll using one of these two ways:
Save video: Tap the video file > share button > Save Video.
Drag & drop: Tap and hold the video file, and its tile will slightly lift. Drag it a bit from its original position to detach it, but don’t lift your finger yet. Now, swipe up (or press the Home button) using your other hand to get to your iPhone Home Screen. From here, open the Photos app and make sure you’re inside Recents or an album. Finally, drop the video file by lifting your finger. You’ll see that the video is now added to the Photos app.
Another method to save a video file using Safari on iOS
As mentioned earlier, not all websites offer a download button. But for a video, you will see a play button, and tapping it starts playing the video inside Safari. So, if you find yourself on such a website, play the video and then follow these steps:
1) On the Safari video player, tap the Picture in Picture button, which will detach the video and put it inside a small floating window. It won’t work if you tap the Picture in Picture button directly on the web page video player, like that on Vimeo.
2) Tap the share button from the video player screen.
3) Pick Save to Files > select iCloud or On My iPhone > Save.
Don’t see the share button in step 2?
In the left screenshot, you see a video playing/streaming on a web page. And in the right image, you see a video file starting to play inside the default Safari media player.
If a video is embedded on the website, it generally plays on that same web page (left image above) and doesn’t launch the video player inside Safari. If this is the case, you won’t be able to download the video unless you look for third-party sites that can save such videos. For example, tapping a video on Twitter starts playing it in the browser and you can’t download it directly from Safari, but you can use a site like Twitter Video Downloader in Safari, which will grab the Twitter video, play it in Safari video player (right image above) and let you save the file.
On some sites, tapping the triangle play button over the video may start playing it on the webpage, making it impossible to download. Hopefully, you can address this by looking for a View, Download, or Play button, which loads the actual video file and starts playing it inside the Safari video player. Once the file is in the Safari video player, enter Picture in Picture, and tap the share button > Save to Files.
Find downloaded files on an iPhone or iPad
You will find the downloaded video in the following places:
Inside Safari: Tap the downloads button in the URL bar, hit Downloads, and you’ll see the video file.
In the Camera Roll: Open the Photos app and tap Recents from the Albums tab.
In the Files app: Open the Files app and tap Recents to see the video. You can also tap Browse and look for the video in the downloads folder. From the Files app, tap & hold a video thumbnail and then choose Share > Save Video to add it to the Photos app.
This is how you can download video files on your iOS or iPadOS device. Not all websites allow video downloads. But in many situations, you can use the above methods to save it locally and watch it offline without a Wi-Fi or cellular connection.