Download your YouTube videos in their original format

Have the videos you shared on YouTube gone missing from your local backups? Now you can grab the originals from Google Takeout.


Uploading a YouTube video causes it to be converted to the format used for streaming by the service. If you ever lose your videos, you could always grab the converted versions from the YouTube site, but what if you want the originals?

Google Takeout is now offering the ability to download the original versions of your videos, as mentioned by the Google Data Liberation blog. Takeout allows you to export data like settings, groups, or photos from Google's other Web sites and services.

Unfortunately, you can only download all videos together at this time. There's no option to select individual ones that you need to replace on your hard drive or external storage. But if you're desperate to get an original copy of one or more of them, at least you can.

Here's how to grab the original versions of your videos:

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 1: Open the Google Takeout Web site in your browser. 

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 2: Select the Choose Services tab at the top area of the page.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 3: Click the button labeled YouTube and then a card will pop up in the area above the buttons showing the size of your YouTube collection for download.

Step 4: Now click on Create Archive and then head to the Downloads tab.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 5: Once Takeout has finished building the archive, just click Download to grab your videos.

Note: You may be asked to log in to Google services again after clicking Download for security reasons.

Hopefully Google Takeout will evolve to let you select specific videos to download. When you have many uploads, say 40 or 50, the download size can become a little crazy when forced to download all of them at once.