Python script to download YouTube videos on Mac OS X

If you wish to download a YouTube video to store locally on your computer, you can do so on a Mac OS X system, and Linux systems, also, using youtuble-dl, a Python script. You can also download a Microsoft Windows exe file from the youtube-dl Download Page. With youtube-dl, you can download videos from YouTube and other sites from a command-line interface (CLI).

For a Mac OS X system, you can obtain the script using the curl utility that is provided with the operating system. You can also use curl on a Linux system, if you have it installed on that system. Alternatively, you can use wget, which isn't provided with the OS X system, but which you may have on a Linux system, if you don't have curl available. To obtain the youtube-dl script using curl on a Mac OS X system, you can open a Terminal window and issue the command sudo curl -L -o /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl. That will download the script and place it in the /usr/local/bin directory.

$ sudo curl -L -o /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl
  % Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                                 Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
  0     3    0     0    0     0      0      0 --:--:--  0:00:01 --:--:--     0
  0     3    0     0    0     0      0      0 --:--:--  0:00:01 --:--:--     0
100   582    0   582    0     0    276      0 --:--:--  0:00:02 --:--:--  3215
100 1369k  100 1369k    0     0   299k      0  0:00:04  0:00:04 --:--:-- 1443k

Once you've downloaded it, you can make it available for execution by all accounts on the system using the command sudo chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl to change the file permissions, since it won't by default be executable.

$ ls -l /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  1402826 Nov 26 20:53 /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl
$ sudo chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl
$ ls -l /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel  1402826 Nov 26 20:53 /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl

If you need to use Wget, instead, you can use the commands below:

sudo wget -O /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl
sudo chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl

Once you've downloaded the file and made it executable, you can get help on using the program by typing youtube-dl -h at a shell prompt, e.g., a Terminal window.

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$ youtube-dl -h
Usage: youtube-dl [OPTIONS] URL [URL...]

  General Options:
    -h, --help                       Print this help text and exit
    --version                        Print program version and exit
    -U, --update                     Update this program to latest version. Make
                                     sure that you have sufficient permissions
                                     (run with sudo if needed)
    -i, --ignore-errors              Continue on download errors, for example to
                                     skip unavailable videos in a playlist
    --abort-on-error                 Abort downloading of further videos (in the
                                     playlist or the command line) if an error
    --dump-user-agent                Display the current browser identification
    --list-extractors                List all supported extractors
    --extractor-descriptions         Output descriptions of all supported
    --force-generic-extractor        Force extraction to use the generic
    --default-search PREFIX          Use this prefix for unqualified URLs. For
                                     example "gvsearch2:" downloads two videos
                                     from google videos for youtube-dl "large
                                     apple". Use the value "auto" to let
                                     youtube-dl guess ("auto_warning" to emit a
                                     warning when guessing). "error" just throws
                                     an error. The default value "fixup_error"
                                     repairs broken URLs, but emits an error if
                                     this is not possible instead of searching.
    --ignore-config                  Do not read configuration files. When given
                                     in the global configuration file /etc
                                     /youtube-dl.conf: Do not read the user
                                     configuration in ~/.config/youtube-
                                     dl/config (%APPDATA%/youtube-dl/config.txt
                                     on Windows)
    --flat-playlist                  Do not extract the videos of a playlist,
                                     only list them.
    --mark-watched                   Mark videos watched (YouTube only)
    --no-mark-watched                Do not mark videos watched (YouTube only)
    --no-color                       Do not emit color codes in output
    --abort-on-unavailable-fragment  Abort downloading when some fragment is not

  Network Options:
    --proxy URL                      Use the specified HTTP/HTTPS/SOCKS proxy.
                                     To enable experimental SOCKS proxy, specify
                                     a proper scheme. For example
                                     socks5:// Pass in an empty
                                     string (--proxy "") for direct connection
    --socket-timeout SECONDS         Time to wait before giving up, in seconds
    --source-address IP              Client-side IP address to bind to
    -4, --force-ipv4                 Make all connections via IPv4
    -6, --force-ipv6                 Make all connections via IPv6
    --geo-verification-proxy URL     Use this proxy to verify the IP address for
                                     some geo-restricted sites. The default
                                     proxy specified by --proxy (or none, if the
                                     options is not present) is used for the
                                     actual downloading. (experimental)

  Video Selection:
    --playlist-start NUMBER          Playlist video to start at (default is 1)
    --playlist-end NUMBER            Playlist video to end at (default is last)
    --playlist-items ITEM_SPEC       Playlist video items to download. Specify
                                     indices of the videos in the playlist
                                     separated by commas like: "--playlist-items
                                     1,2,5,8" if you want to download videos
                                     indexed 1, 2, 5, 8 in the playlist. You can
                                     specify range: "--playlist-items
                                     1-3,7,10-13", it will download the videos
                                     at index 1, 2, 3, 7, 10, 11, 12 and 13.
    --match-title REGEX              Download only matching titles (regex or
                                     caseless sub-string)
    --reject-title REGEX             Skip download for matching titles (regex or
                                     caseless sub-string)
    --max-downloads NUMBER           Abort after downloading NUMBER files
    --min-filesize SIZE              Do not download any videos smaller than
                                     SIZE (e.g. 50k or 44.6m)
    --max-filesize SIZE              Do not download any videos larger than SIZE
                                     (e.g. 50k or 44.6m)
    --date DATE                      Download only videos uploaded in this date
    --datebefore DATE                Download only videos uploaded on or before
                                     this date (i.e. inclusive)
    --dateafter DATE                 Download only videos uploaded on or after
                                     this date (i.e. inclusive)
    --min-views COUNT                Do not download any videos with less than
                                     COUNT views
    --max-views COUNT                Do not download any videos with more than
                                     COUNT views
    --match-filter FILTER            Generic video filter (experimental).
                                     Specify any key (see help for -o for a list
                                     of available keys) to match if the key is
                                     present, !key to check if the key is not
                                     present,key > NUMBER (like "comment_count > 
                                     12", also works with >=, <, <=, !=, =) to
                                     compare against a number, and & to require
                                     multiple matches. Values which are not
                                     known are excluded unless you put a
                                     question mark (?) after the operator.For
                                     example, to only match videos that have
                                     been liked more than 100 times and disliked
                                     less than 50 times (or the dislike
                                     functionality is not available at the given
                                     service), but who also have a description,
                                     use --match-filter "like_count > 100 &
                                     dislike_count <? 50 & description" .
    --no-playlist                    Download only the video, if the URL refers
                                     to a video and a playlist.
    --yes-playlist                   Download the playlist, if the URL refers to
                                     a video and a playlist.
    --age-limit YEARS                Download only videos suitable for the given
    --download-archive FILE          Download only videos not listed in the
                                     archive file. Record the IDs of all
                                     downloaded videos in it.
    --include-ads                    Download advertisements as well

  Download Options:
    -r, --limit-rate RATE            Maximum download rate in bytes per second
                                     (e.g. 50K or 4.2M)
    -R, --retries RETRIES            Number of retries (default is 10), or
    --fragment-retries RETRIES       Number of retries for a fragment (default
                                     is 10), or "infinite" (DASH and hlsnative
    --skip-unavailable-fragments     Skip unavailable fragments (DASH and
                                     hlsnative only)
    --buffer-size SIZE               Size of download buffer (e.g. 1024 or 16K)
                                     (default is 1024)
    --no-resize-buffer               Do not automatically adjust the buffer
                                     size. By default, the buffer size is
                                     automatically resized from an initial value
                                     of SIZE.
    --playlist-reverse               Download playlist videos in reverse order
    --xattr-set-filesize             Set file xattribute ytdl.filesize with
                                     expected filesize (experimental)
    --hls-prefer-native              Use the native HLS downloader instead of
    --hls-prefer-ffmpeg              Use ffmpeg instead of the native HLS
    --hls-use-mpegts                 Use the mpegts container for HLS videos,
                                     allowing to play the video while
                                     downloading (some players may not be able
                                     to play it)
    --external-downloader COMMAND    Use the specified external downloader.
                                     Currently supports
    --external-downloader-args ARGS  Give these arguments to the external

  Filesystem Options:
    -a, --batch-file FILE            File containing URLs to download ('-' for
    --id                             Use only video ID in file name
    -o, --output TEMPLATE            Output filename template, see the "OUTPUT
                                     TEMPLATE" for all the info
    --autonumber-size NUMBER         Specify the number of digits in
                                     %(autonumber)s when it is present in output
                                     filename template or --auto-number option
                                     is given
    --restrict-filenames             Restrict filenames to only ASCII
                                     characters, and avoid "&" and spaces in
    -A, --auto-number                [deprecated; use -o
                                     "%(autonumber)s-%(title)s.%(ext)s" ] Number
                                     downloaded files starting from 00000
    -t, --title                      [deprecated] Use title in file name
    -l, --literal                    [deprecated] Alias of --title
    -w, --no-overwrites              Do not overwrite files
    -c, --continue                   Force resume of partially downloaded files.
                                     By default, youtube-dl will resume
                                     downloads if possible.
    --no-continue                    Do not resume partially downloaded files
                                     (restart from beginning)
    --no-part                        Do not use .part files - write directly
                                     into output file
    --no-mtime                       Do not use the Last-modified header to set
                                     the file modification time
    --write-description              Write video description to a .description
    --write-info-json                Write video metadata to a .info.json file
    --write-annotations              Write video annotations to a
                                     .annotations.xml file
    --load-info-json FILE            JSON file containing the video information
                                     (created with the "--write-info-json"
    --cookies FILE                   File to read cookies from and dump cookie
                                     jar in
    --cache-dir DIR                  Location in the filesystem where youtube-dl
                                     can store some downloaded information
                                     permanently. By default $XDG_CACHE_HOME
                                     /youtube-dl or ~/.cache/youtube-dl . At the
                                     moment, only YouTube player files (for
                                     videos with obfuscated signatures) are
                                     cached, but that may change.
    --no-cache-dir                   Disable filesystem caching
    --rm-cache-dir                   Delete all filesystem cache files

  Thumbnail images:
    --write-thumbnail                Write thumbnail image to disk
    --write-all-thumbnails           Write all thumbnail image formats to disk
    --list-thumbnails                Simulate and list all available thumbnail

  Verbosity / Simulation Options:
    -q, --quiet                      Activate quiet mode
    --no-warnings                    Ignore warnings
    -s, --simulate                   Do not download the video and do not write
                                     anything to disk
    --skip-download                  Do not download the video
    -g, --get-url                    Simulate, quiet but print URL
    -e, --get-title                  Simulate, quiet but print title
    --get-id                         Simulate, quiet but print id
    --get-thumbnail                  Simulate, quiet but print thumbnail URL
    --get-description                Simulate, quiet but print video description
    --get-duration                   Simulate, quiet but print video length
    --get-filename                   Simulate, quiet but print output filename
    --get-format                     Simulate, quiet but print output format
    -j, --dump-json                  Simulate, quiet but print JSON information.
                                     See --output for a description of available
    -J, --dump-single-json           Simulate, quiet but print JSON information
                                     for each command-line argument. If the URL
                                     refers to a playlist, dump the whole
                                     playlist information in a single line.
    --print-json                     Be quiet and print the video information as
                                     JSON (video is still being downloaded).
    --newline                        Output progress bar as new lines
    --no-progress                    Do not print progress bar
    --console-title                  Display progress in console titlebar
    -v, --verbose                    Print various debugging information
    --dump-pages                     Print downloaded pages encoded using base64
                                     to debug problems (very verbose)
    --write-pages                    Write downloaded intermediary pages to
                                     files in the current directory to debug
    --print-traffic                  Display sent and read HTTP traffic
    -C, --call-home                  Contact the youtube-dl server for debugging
    --no-call-home                   Do NOT contact the youtube-dl server for

    --encoding ENCODING              Force the specified encoding (experimental)
    --no-check-certificate           Suppress HTTPS certificate validation
    --prefer-insecure                Use an unencrypted connection to retrieve
                                     information about the video. (Currently
                                     supported only for YouTube)
    --user-agent UA                  Specify a custom user agent
    --referer URL                    Specify a custom referer, use if the video
                                     access is restricted to one domain
    --add-header FIELD:VALUE         Specify a custom HTTP header and its value,
                                     separated by a colon ':'. You can use this
                                     option multiple times
    --bidi-workaround                Work around terminals that lack
                                     bidirectional text support. Requires bidiv
                                     or fribidi executable in PATH
    --sleep-interval SECONDS         Number of seconds to sleep before each
                                     download when used alone or a lower bound
                                     of a range for randomized sleep before each
                                     download (minimum possible number of
                                     seconds to sleep) when used along with
    --max-sleep-interval SECONDS     Upper bound of a range for randomized sleep
                                     before each download (maximum possible
                                     number of seconds to sleep). Must only be
                                     used along with --min-sleep-interval.

  Video Format Options:
    -f, --format FORMAT              Video format code, see the "FORMAT
                                     SELECTION" for all the info
    --all-formats                    Download all available video formats
    --prefer-free-formats            Prefer free video formats unless a specific
                                     one is requested
    -F, --list-formats               List all available formats of requested
    --youtube-skip-dash-manifest     Do not download the DASH manifests and
                                     related data on YouTube videos
    --merge-output-format FORMAT     If a merge is required (e.g.
                                     bestvideo+bestaudio), output to given
                                     container format. One of mkv, mp4, ogg,
                                     webm, flv. Ignored if no merge is required

  Subtitle Options:
    --write-sub                      Write subtitle file
    --write-auto-sub                 Write automatically generated subtitle file
                                     (YouTube only)
    --all-subs                       Download all the available subtitles of the
    --list-subs                      List all available subtitles for the video
    --sub-format FORMAT              Subtitle format, accepts formats
                                     preference, for example: "srt" or
    --sub-lang LANGS                 Languages of the subtitles to download
                                     (optional) separated by commas, use --list-
                                     subs for available language tags

  Authentication Options:
    -u, --username USERNAME          Login with this account ID
    -p, --password PASSWORD          Account password. If this option is left
                                     out, youtube-dl will ask interactively.
    -2, --twofactor TWOFACTOR        Two-factor auth code
    -n, --netrc                      Use .netrc authentication data
    --video-password PASSWORD        Video password (vimeo, smotri, youku)

  Adobe Pass Options:
    --ap-mso MSO                     Adobe Pass multiple-system operator (TV
                                     provider) identifier, use --ap-list-mso for
                                     a list of available MSOs
    --ap-username USERNAME           Multiple-system operator account login
    --ap-password PASSWORD           Multiple-system operator account password.
                                     If this option is left out, youtube-dl will
                                     ask interactively.
    --ap-list-mso                    List all supported multiple-system

  Post-processing Options:
    -x, --extract-audio              Convert video files to audio-only files
                                     (requires ffmpeg or avconv and ffprobe or
    --audio-format FORMAT            Specify audio format: "best", "aac",
                                     "vorbis", "mp3", "m4a", "opus", or "wav";
                                     "best" by default
    --audio-quality QUALITY          Specify ffmpeg/avconv audio quality, insert
                                     a value between 0 (better) and 9 (worse)
                                     for VBR or a specific bitrate like 128K
                                     (default 5)
    --recode-video FORMAT            Encode the video to another format if
                                     necessary (currently supported:
    --postprocessor-args ARGS        Give these arguments to the postprocessor
    -k, --keep-video                 Keep the video file on disk after the post-
                                     processing; the video is erased by default
    --no-post-overwrites             Do not overwrite post-processed files; the
                                     post-processed files are overwritten by
    --embed-subs                     Embed subtitles in the video (only for mp4,
                                     webm and mkv videos)
    --embed-thumbnail                Embed thumbnail in the audio as cover art
    --add-metadata                   Write metadata to the video file
    --metadata-from-title FORMAT     Parse additional metadata like song title /
                                     artist from the video title. The format
                                     syntax is the same as --output, the parsed
                                     parameters replace existing values.
                                     Additional templates: %(album)s,
                                     %(artist)s. Example: --metadata-from-title
                                     "%(artist)s - %(title)s" matches a title
                                     like "Coldplay - Paradise"
    --xattrs                         Write metadata to the video file's xattrs
                                     (using dublin core and xdg standards)
    --fixup POLICY                   Automatically correct known faults of the
                                     file. One of never (do nothing), warn (only
                                     emit a warning), detect_or_warn (the
                                     default; fix file if we can, warn
    --prefer-avconv                  Prefer avconv over ffmpeg for running the
                                     postprocessors (default)
    --prefer-ffmpeg                  Prefer ffmpeg over avconv for running the
    --ffmpeg-location PATH           Location of the ffmpeg/avconv binary;
                                     either the path to the binary or its
                                     containing directory.
    --exec CMD                       Execute a command on the file after
                                     downloading, similar to find's -exec
                                     syntax. Example: --exec 'adb push {}
                                     /sdcard/Music/ && rm {}'
    --convert-subs FORMAT            Convert the subtitles to other format
                                     (currently supported: srt|ass|vtt)

To download a video, you can simply type youtube-dl url where url is the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) of the video you wish to download. E.g.:

$ youtube-dl
[youtube] SnBJDcM-qk8: Downloading webpage
[youtube] SnBJDcM-qk8: Downloading video info webpage
[youtube] SnBJDcM-qk8: Extracting video information
[youtube] SnBJDcM-qk8: Downloading MPD manifest
[download] Destination: Dogo Argentino kills Puma to save two young girls-Must Watch!!!-SnBJDcM-qk8.mp4
[download] 100% of 34.00MiB in 00:09

In the above example, I would have a MPEG_4 (MP4) video file in the current working directory.


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