Video- Downloading From Web Sites

From Mac Guides

Jump to: navigation, search



Just because the file exists in the cloud today, means it will be there tomorrow. Why would you want to download videos instead of accessing then online? For myself, I have been viewing music instructional videos and download is much better than streaming which can be jerky and slow. There are multiple solutions for downloading video from You Tube and other sites. Thank you MaxOSX Hints and for MacRumor members for getting me going! As a Mac user, due to Apple moving away from Flash in the spectrum of Apple products there is more utility using MP4.

This guide may need work so feel free to make additions or send me a Private Message for improvements. For more Mac Tips see the MacOSX Tips and Troubleshooting Guide- Huntn (MacRumors Member)


Summary First

  1. KeepVid- A site which allows you to download video. For simplicity working with You Tube, this site is a winner, but it may not see video on other sites. See the KeepVid Section below to setup.
  2. ClipConverter- Web based solution is easy and works well.
  3. The Safari Method- When this Guide was written, Safari was the easiest method to download video, however somewhere in 2011, Apple changed the functionality of Safari's Activity Window, it's changed, reduced or removed. If you are dealing with You Tube and other sites, the Safari method as far as I can tell is no longer functional, because the Activity Window, no longer does what it used to do, in the same manner as it used to. It may be a matter of figuring out how to use the info in the Activity Window, but to date, I don't know how. If you manage to download FLV (flash) file formats with Safari, Handbrake is an easy way to convert them into MP4. There is also a PPC Handbrake version. -Huntn (23Sep13)

Helper Programs and Web Sites

  • ClipConverter- (added 24Sept13) also has a Firefox addon. On the web site, plug in the desired video's url, hit "Continue" and site will pick the recommended format. In my conversions, the site picked "mp4" format which is Quicktime compatible. A new window pops open offering the recommended and a choice of other formats. Hit start and let the site work it's magic. A new "save" window pops open asking for permission to save the converted file.
  • Six Ways to Download You Tube Video. Note, for the Number Two method, Apple has changed the way Safari works and this no longer works using Safari.
  • Adlesse Lite addon for Safari.*[1]Net Video Hunter Firefox Addon. (13Mar11)
  • Online Download Guide for Video Downloader. This link shows step by step how to configure Firefox Video Downloader. (Thanks to "Consultant")
  • KeepVid- Site which allows you to download video. Works well for You Tube, but on 3rd party sites it may not see the video.
  • Handbrake(Intel Macs) does a an outstanding job of converting FLV to MP4. For PPC Macs get the PPC Handbrake version.
  • QTAmateur, universal binary, runs in 10.3.9 to at least 10.5.8 and will convert FLV to MP4, however it reduces the size of some higher quality videos. When I start with a 6.6MB FLV file and convert it to MP4. I end up with a 2.6MB file with a noticeably smaller display. Under settings, I don't see a way to preserve the larger format.
  • Fastest Free You Tube Downloader. You Tube only?
  • Click To Flash Safari extension that I've found hard to figure out.


  1. 19Aug2011- Tried this today and it did not work. New Safari page opened, but file did not download. Is some change a foot? Will post update once I figure out if Safari is still a viable method for downloading You Tube videos- Huntn.
  2. Find the Video url with Safari.
  3. Select Command/Option/A- which opens the Activity Window.
  4. Start the video. (For the applicable file to appear in the next step. You'll see the video progress bar.)
  5. In the Activity Window there will be a long list of files. When you start the video, you should see a new large file load in this window. While many of the files will be in the KB range. The video most likely is 1+MB and can easily be 50MB or more. That's the video file. It maybe located under sub categories that need to be clicked to open.
  6. Double Click the video file in the Activity Window. This will open another page in Safari and in the Safari download window (if you have opened it) you'll see a file being downloaded. It may download as a .FLV (Flash) file or labeled as a "videoplayback" file. After it is done downloading, right-click the file name in the Safari Download Window and tell it to reveal in Finder. Move the file to it's final resting place and give it a better name if you desire.
  7. If you intend to play this file as Flash, and it does not have the .flv suffix, add that. But Quick Time (QT) won't play this file until you install Perian on your Mac. Perian adds video formats that QT can use, among them .flv (flash) files. Do a "Get Info" (Command I) on the file and tell it to open with Quick Time. If you are happy with a FLV (Flash) file, you are done.
  8. If you prefer MP4 file format, skip step 5 and use Handbrake to convert these files to MP4 using the appropriate version: Intel Handbrake. For PPC Macs see PPC Handbrake. Enjoy!


  • In Firefox, download Video Download Helper and install it. Three little balloons show up in you menu. This guide is short on instructions on how to use Download Helper. With a video playing you can right click on the ballon icon to make download choices. Remember QT will play MP4 files. QT needs Perian to run Flash.
  • Use it to download .flv files from You Tube.
  • Use to download .mp4 files from You Tube.
  • Some sites clearly have video, but Download Helper may not recognize it. The Download helper icon will be grayed out. Then use Safari as described above.
  • There may be conversion issues with Download Helper. It may have to do with this note on the Video Downloader site:

//For Linux and Mac, we do not have a specific FFMPEG distribution to connect to DownloadHelper. Instead, the conversion relies on the distribution that has been installed separately on the computer. Of course, this can lead to conversion failures as the version of FFMPEG may not have been compiled with the features required by the chosen conversion parameters.// I'm not sure what FFMPEG conversion program they are referring to? (-Huntn)

KeepVid- Setting Up

"Thanks to Niko Girl"

  1. Go to the author' page and download the ZIP and extract the .safariextz file in the KeepVid directory inside the ZIP.
  2. Double-clicking on .safariextz file will install it as a Safari extension.
  3. If you don't see the a V icon, select View > Customize in Safari's menu bar and drag the icon into your toolbar.
  4. Go to YouTube and select a video you like.
    1. Once you are on the page with the video, the button will light up (will be clickable). Otherwise the button will be grayed out.
    2. Clicking on the button will take you to a new page. KeepVid's java will ask you permission. You can always give it permission, or give it permission just this once (your choice).
    3. Now you should be presented with buttons to download flv, mp4, etc.
    4. Choose .mp4 to be able to play the file directly on QuickTime.