A criticism of the YouTube app on Android has long been the inability to watch videos offline, or to download videos. Some of us do not want to have to use precious mobile data each and every time we watch a video on YouTube. Until now we have had to rely on closed source apps such as TubeMate to be able to grab the videos we were after for online viewing later on. Over at Reddit a relatively new YouTube client is making a lot of noise.
NewPipe is an open sourced, lightweight, YouTube client that is growing in popularity, and with good reason. The app, although it looks broken when you first open it due to the lack of a splash screen or start page, does not require Google Play Services to work and allows the user to download not only videos but also just the audio of the videos. While the app does not support 1080p (or 4k) just yet, it does support 720p MPEG-4 viewing and downloading. Unlike the official YouTube app it does not have the ability keep the video running when you move onto a different app, it can play audio in the background.
Often the risk you take when downloading an app not from the Play Store is that it may be infected with malware. The good thing about NewPipe is that it is fully open source so anyone can look through the code themselves and determine it’s safety and it is only available from one place as an apk file (you could always build from its github source yourself), F-Droid. F-Droid “is an installable catalogue of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) applications for the Android platform.” F-Droid has a client app that makes it easy to keep track of your apps and any available updates to them. While it is always a risk to download apps from sources other than the Play Store F-Droid is considered to be a safe site.
If you are looking for an app to watch YouTube videos offline I can highly recommend NewPipe. While it is still a works in progress it has seemed fairly robust in everyday use. Head on over to F-Droid to try it out, or to it’s source to build it yourself.