Free Download Manager removes support for YouTube downloads

Ashwin
Oct 21, 2021
Internet
|
31

If you are using Free Download Manager, you may have noticed that the program cannot be used to download videos from YouTube. You are not the only one facing the issue, it started a few days ago.

Free Download Manager removes support for YouTube downloads

Here's what happened.

Some users, having discovered the lack of an option to fetch videos from YouTube, raised a complaint at the official FDM forums. A developer on the FDM team, Alex, responded to the thread by saying, YouTube downloads are not available in the program anymore. He also clarified that the team was discussing the issue with Google in order to find a resolution.

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FDM YouTube claim from Google

When users asked him for more details, the developer said that FDM had received a claim from Google, and they had to "turn off the option for YouTube downloads".

FDM YouTube downloads issue

This was the reason why the feature has removed from the popular program. We'll get back to that in a bit.

Usually, software are not targeted by legal issues like piracy, except in rare cases when a record label randomly sends out a DMCA or a Cease and Desist order. Remember the youtubedl fiasco? Back to the issue at hand, Google forbids extensions on the store from downloading YouTube videos.  The FDM extension clearly does not download the videos, it just sends the command to the program. The FDM desktop application, like many programs, is just a tool, and it is the up to the user to decide how they want to use the program. It is a little strange why the search giant went after Free Download Manager in particular, while similar programs haven't been targeted.

The problem with FDM seems to have started with version 6.15.3 build 4234. If you have an older build, could you use it to download YouTube videos? Intrigued by this thought, I tried a slightly older version, and it gave me a different error that said "Can't process page."

FDM older version

So, I went all the way back to version 5, and it still gave me an error, but this time it said "Parsing failure. YouTube downloads are not available."

FDM error version 5

Though I had the FDM extension installed in the browser, I wasn't using it to grab the media. I was manually copying the YouTube video's URL and pasting it in the program. So why were older versions displaying the error? Clearly this error isn't specific to the version being used, so it has to be server related problems.

I can think of 2 possibilities. One, something has changed on YouTube's end, which is causing the error. It seems unlikely, since I was able to download the videos using other programs. The other theory is that Free Download Manager relies on an external service for YouTube downloads, probably to parse the video links (fetch the metadata, URLs, resolution, etc.) and sends it to the program for download. I mentioned earlier that the developer had to "turn off the option for YouTube", this is likely the intermediary service that was taken down.

The YouTube page on FDM's site has also been pulled, and gives a 404. Here's a Web Archive version of it from April 2021. The page's disappearance does seem like a serious issue, and it remains unclear whether FDM will add support for YouTube downloads again.

Meanwhile, you can use other programs like YouTube-DL, yt-dlp, youtube-dl-gui, XDM, IDM, FireDM (formerly PyIDM). Take a look at our previous article for more ways to download videos.

Were you using FDM for downloading YouTube videos? What are your alternatives?

Summary
Free Download Manager removes support for YouTube downloads
Article Name
Free Download Manager removes support for YouTube downloads
Description
Unable to download YouTube videos using Free Download Manager? Here's why that's happening.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. spook said on October 21, 2021 at 2:58 pm
    Reply

    I use 2 different ones for FF that only recently began working intermittently. Not gonna mention names (not giving google harvest intel to kill them).

    I stopped using FDM long ago.

  2. Aaaa said on October 21, 2021 at 3:01 pm
    Reply

    Jdownloader2

    Youtube-dl

    IDM

    Downloaded websites.

    1. Dorian Gray said on October 21, 2021 at 4:03 pm
      Reply
      1. Anonymous said on October 21, 2021 at 8:50 pm
        Reply

        Is there a Windows GUI front end for it?

      2. Peterc said on October 21, 2021 at 8:52 pm
        Reply

        @Dorian Gray:

        YouTube-DLG (called youtube-dl-gui in the Linux world, I seem to recall) is a convenient graphical front end originally designed for youtube-dl but that seems to work fine with yt-dlp. I’m probably doing it wrong, but I just download the latest version of yt-dlp.exe, rename it to youtube-dl.exe, and paste it into YouTube-DLG’s program folder. As I said, it works, so I’m not super-motivated to figure out the “right” way.

  3. Anonymous said on October 21, 2021 at 3:33 pm
    Reply

    The problem is YouTube offers its own capability of downloading YT videos, but you need to subscribe to YT Premium for it.

    The moment YT offered this is the moment all video download managers that have YT support is subject to being hit by Google’s cease and desist and DMCA takedowns.

    1. Gavin B. said on October 21, 2021 at 3:54 pm
      Reply

      YouTube became TheirTube

    2. Stephan Enders said on October 24, 2021 at 1:14 am
      Reply

      I’m subscribed to Premium, there is no download option.
      On mobile seems to be some “watch offline” possible, so technically a download takes place, but not delivering a mp4 or mkv file. Only an internal resource file to watch the clip on YouTube w/o accessing internet.

  4. Paul(us) said on October 21, 2021 at 3:46 pm
    Reply

    Almost never I am using FDM in the donkey years that I am already using for downloading a YouTube video.

    But nevertheless I think its a shame that the possibility is gone.
    Hopefully its not because that G($)oogle shareholders blocked it because there making money of downloading video’s, on a other way.

    I am wondering or other programs like https://www.kmplayer.com/pc64x who also having the possibility to download YouTube video also are summed to stop facilitating this download function?
    For now it seems that’s not the case so maybe its a targeted action to get FDM users to switch to a another software package, that is controlled by the Google shareholders?

  5. just informing said on October 21, 2021 at 6:47 pm
    Reply

    even older release are affected.

  6. Sebas said on October 21, 2021 at 7:44 pm
    Reply

    Just insert pp into https://www.youtube.com/ and the rest of the hyperlink, like https://www.youtubepp.com/… and you are all set. Works always for me. It is the easiest way to use Y2mate, YouTube Video Downloader. Do not forget to use an ad blocker.

  7. Mick said on October 21, 2021 at 9:14 pm
    Reply

    all the more reason to use IDM

    1. Stephan Enders said on October 24, 2021 at 1:06 am
      Reply

      I’m using IDM, starting some days ago a message pops up more and more frequently, 4 times today:

      The server replies that you don’t have permissions to download this file.
      Derails: HTTP/1.1 403 Forbidden

  8. Peterc said on October 21, 2021 at 9:20 pm
    Reply

    Technically, downloading videos violates YouTube’s terms of service, but there is a superseding issue here. YouTube has *dramatically* increased the amount of censorship it does (via outright takedowns and also by making videos it doesn’t like unfindable in search), and it no longer targets only speech that isn’t protected under the First Amendment (e.g., teaching viewers how to cook up a batch of nerve gas in their kitchens), but legitimate, protected reporting, analysis, and opinion. In the Western world, certainly, YouTube still enjoys a strongly dominant position in video-hosting and hence the ability to shape the information people can see — which is known as “manufacturing consent.” For journalists, academics, lawyers, and activists, it’s *critical* to be able to download copies of certain videos before Alphabet/Google/YouTube gets around to taking them down. (In fact, *that* was the reason youtube-dl was reinstated on GitHub after Microsoft took it down, and I assume it’s the reason yt-dlp has not been rousted so far. Maintaining the underpinnings of a functioning democracy is more important than some private monopoly’s terms of service.)

  9. dmacleo said on October 21, 2021 at 10:43 pm
    Reply

    I’ve had decent luck with ant.
    so far has never failed me.

  10. gummy bear said on October 21, 2021 at 10:56 pm
    Reply

    @ Dorian Gray:

    I don’t buy his excuse at all. Someone or something got to him, IMO.

  11. Anonymous said on October 22, 2021 at 1:24 am
    Reply

    Couldnt they just implement yt-dlp instead?

  12. yanta said on October 22, 2021 at 2:20 am
    Reply

    There are lots of DMCA law suits going on. See torrentfreak.com
    Youtube rippers have been the targets of these law suits for a couple fo years now. They are asking for $82 million settlement in one current case.
    FDM are just trying to protect themselves.
    Is this “alex” a 1 man team?

  13. Anonymous said on October 22, 2021 at 6:24 am
    Reply

    thank you Ashwin for doing this research/ work, i am facing this, and was wondering is anyone talking about this. thank you!

  14. Shalom said on October 22, 2021 at 7:01 am
    Reply

    I use Web Downloader to download youtube videos from youtube4kdownloader.com. Also Web Downloader is a fast and lightweight download manager but without browser integration.

  15. Mystique said on October 22, 2021 at 7:52 am
    Reply

    Whilst I don’t use this software myself it would have been nice if perhaps the developer left a provision for something like ytdlp to handle the downloading of such things through FDM by perhaps some sort of plugin method or something.

    Oh well.

  16. Jack said on October 22, 2021 at 12:39 pm
    Reply
  17. TelV said on October 22, 2021 at 6:04 pm
    Reply

    I just stream youtube stuff using VLC. A fix in the form of a youtube.luac file was released yesterday to address the throttling issue Google had implemented to prevent streaming; download from here: https://github.com/videolan/vlc/tree/master/share/lua/playlist

    But it wouldn’t suprise me if Google blocks that with some other shite in the not too distant future.

    Otherwise I just use yt-dlp.

  18. Claymore said on October 23, 2021 at 12:41 am
    Reply

    Youtube beta-tests downloads with Youtube Premium. This might be the reason, why they forbid it now? Wasn’t an issue for a decade, and now it is? This fish stinks and his name is money!

    1. Stephan Enders said on October 24, 2021 at 1:21 am
      Reply

      I’m subscribed to Premium, there is no download option.
      On mobile seems to be some “watch offline” possible, so technically a download takes place, but not delivering a mp4 or mkv file. Only an internal resource file to watch the clip on YouTube w/o accessing internet.

  19. Heydrich said on October 23, 2021 at 7:26 am
    Reply

    There is an application to take care of one’s unlimited downloading needs, including unrestricted youtube.com downloads: test FireDM — Version: 2021.9.28, available at: https://github.com/firedm/FireDM — and be free to download what you want.

  20. Theken said on October 24, 2021 at 7:25 am
    Reply

    SaveFrom and IDM are my favorites, both are free.
    SaveFrom: Simply add “ss” to the video URL to download a YouTube video.
    Its review, pros and cons:
    https://reviews.aolor.com/savefrom-review-best-free-online-video-downloader-reviews/
    IDM: Download 4k and even 8k videos from YouTube with the button just beside each video on youtube.com. (Free for the first 30 days.)
    Its review, pros and cons:
    https://reviews.aolor.com/internet-download-manager-idm-review-best-free-video-downloader-reviews/

  21. Anonymous said on October 25, 2021 at 8:14 am
    Reply

    https://github.com/firedm/FireDM …………… Yes It’s working fine.

    1. Anonymous said on November 2, 2021 at 2:40 am
      Reply

      yes

  22. anonymous said on November 4, 2021 at 10:44 am
    Reply

    YouTube won’t come up. It says this version if YouTube is out if date use your browser. The browser doesn’t have all the features such as comments and reply notices. Where did YouTube go. It worked Nov 3, 2021 early am. Nov 3, 2021afternoon pm it doesn’t.

  23. Solo said on November 14, 2021 at 11:46 am
    Reply

    FDM matched it all.. we cant remain solo but get merciless tools soon…its up to them to submit their DCMA shit…., checkins for the onion options are active…. cant back at you [google] lads.

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