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Watch & download high definition YouTube videos on your Mac

Watch & download high definition YouTube videos on your Mac

YouTube, the world’s most popular video-sharing website, has recently introduced the ability to upload 720p high definition videos. Here’s how you can view and — even better — download them to keep on your Mac.

Traditionally, the video quality on YouTube has been dismal at best. The tiny video dimensions and extremely low bit rates were disappointing, but the YouTube folks have taken a big step in the right direction. High quality 720p HD videos are now available on some of the site’s newer uploads! They’re not particularly common yet, but as time goes on you can expect to see more and more HD content on YouTube. 

To view high definition versions of videos (if they’re available), simply add &fmt=22 to the end of the video’s URL. For example, the trailer for Jim Carrey’s new comedy Yes Man (highly recommended, by the way) is available at This will give you the standard definition version, but going to will lead to the 720p version. The difference in video quality is truly stunning.

Now that you’re seeing that video in all its HD glory, wouldn’t it be great to download it to your Mac’s hard drive and keep it for your own future viewing? With Safari, it’s unbelievably easy!

Download YouTube videos with Safari

Once you’re viewing your video (whether it’s in standard definition or high definition), go to Window > Activity in the menu bar.

Download YouTube videos with Safari

You’ll see a list of items with file sizes next to them. Most will be very small — a few kilobytes or so.

Download YouTube videos with Safari

When you see one that’s relatively large (for example, the Yes Man trailer is 39.7MB), double-click it and the download will automatically start. Good to go!

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8 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

This doesn’t seem to work for me, it just keeps reloading the video over and over again


As I mentioned, the current collection of HD videos is unfortunately pretty small right now, but it will grow quickly in the coming months. Were you able to successfully watch the Yes Man trailer example?

If that code doesn’t do anything with the code &fmt=22 then it must definitely work with the code &fmt=18

Windows PCs that have Safari & Quicktime downloaded are able to execute the same procedure after adding the fmt string and clicking the active algorithm and you will note the vid comes out without the YouTube watermark. Cheers

I agree with the first post. It doesn’t work for me. It just keeps reloading again and again

I agree with magoo, and den :/

Didn’t work for me either. I tried a number of YouTube videos (educational) and watched the activity box. There were no files at any stage that mentioned “cache”, nor were there any files that were over 1MB. I used to use “Keep It” which now no longer works on most YouTube files and that is why I am looking at an alternative. I do have the cookies (from 3rd parties etc) blocked – if that helps. Hope you can help.

i used to get videos from youtube with a free tool called ifunia free YouTube downloader for Mac.

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