Facebook has proven to be one of the few social networks with true staying power, remaining relevant nearly fifteen years since it first launched as a Harvard-exclusive network for meeting people around you. The company built by Mark Zuckerberg has seen its fair share of controversies, but they’ve also defeated the odds in not only maintaining a massive base of users, but still posting a healthy level of growth quarter after quarter. While social competitors like Twitter and Snapchat have built their own audiences, both platforms have been floundering since launching their IPOs in 2013 and 2017, respectively. Twitter reported absolutely zero growth in their most recent earnings report, stalling a rise in users following the 2016 election, while Snapchat’s own stock price fell below the initial $17 price set during their IPO. Both companies directly compete with Facebook in multiple areas, and despite Twitter’s popularity with media giants and Snapchat’s youth-based market, neither have had the ability to truly hit Facebook where it hurts.
Also see our article How to Delete Your Facebook Page
So while Twitter and Snapchat attempt to battle Zuckerberg’s behemoth, Facebook has set their sites on a much larger target than even themselves: YouTube. More and more, we’ve seen the platform pivot and position themselves not just as a social network, but as a publishing platform for both articles and video. While Facebook’s Instant Articles platform has performed adequately for the company, more and more services and publications seem to be drawn to Facebook’s video platform. Facebook’s video player allows for instant playback while scrolling through the service, without the user having to hit play to watch the content. A view is counted after just three seconds of being displayed on the page, and on mobile, a video only needs to be displayed 50 percent of the way on your screen, making it easy to accidentally give a video a view without even trying.
With Facebook’s video player exploding in popularity over the past two years, it’s no wonder that some publications have abandoned uploading videos to YouTube to focus their primary video output on Facebook. As more and more videos become exclusive to Facebook, plenty of users will be wanting to take their video collections offline. Whether you’re going on a road trip without internet or you want to build your own library of archived content, keeping copies of your favorite Facebook videos for offline use is a great idea—and thankfully, is pretty easy to do. This is our full guide to downloading and saving Facebook videos.
Downloading Your Own Videos From Facebook
Unsurprisingly, the easiest videos to save offline are videos you’ve uploaded to your page. Unlike other videos from different profiles, which require the use of outside websites or applications to download and save to your phone or computer, downloading your own videos is possible right from within Facebook’s own website. Just like with Facebook’s photo uploads, it’s easy to save a video from your collection if you’ve lost the original copy—though keep in mind that Facebook’s compression will affect the quality of your video downloads. Let’s take a look at how to download your personal libraries.
Start by loading up Facebook’s website and launching into your own personal profile. From your profile, find the “Photos” tab. Inside your photos library, find the “Albums” tab on the top of the page. Facebook places all of your uploaded videos into their own album automatically, so to find your video collection, nothing is much faster than loading your albums to sort through your videos. Once you’ve selected your albums, find the collection labeled “Videos.”
Depending on how many videos you’ve uploaded over the years, this library may be sparse or loaded with old clips. Typically, your most recent video will show up on the albums page automatically, so sorting through your videos shouldn’t take too long to find the specific content you’re looking for. It’s also worth noting that any livestreams you’ve hosted through Facebook Live will show up archived here, available for download automatically.
When you find the video you want to download from your library of content, move your mouse over the thumbnail and find the pencil icon in the top-right corner of the display. When you arrow over the pencil icon, you’ll see the words “Edit or Remove.” Click this icon to view a drop-down menu of your choices for the video. Here you’ll find options for adding a location, changing the date of the video, and downloading the content in both standard definition (SD) and high-definition (HD) if available. Tap the format you wish your video to be saved in and your download will automatically start downloading in your browser. The standard definition selection saves in 480p, whereas the HD option saves in 720p automatically. Livestreams seem to save in a 400×400 resolution, despite the availability to download said livestreams in an HD resolution.
You can also save a video while it’s playing back on your computer. Open your video selection from your Albums page and look for the menu section at the bottom of the video. Tap the “Options” button to gain access to the same menu we described above, with download options for both standard and high-definition videos.
Downloading Videos from Other Users or Pages
Alright, downloading your own videos from the platform is easy. After all, Facebook gives you the download option from right within your album collection—it’s basically child’s play. For a real challenge, and really, for the real ability to easily archive and store videos from your favorite users, pages, and uploaders, you’ll want to focus on downloading video content from sources other than your own library. Facebook isn’t quite built to handle this, as copyright concerns abound when trying to download video that isn’t your own. That said, downloading your favorite Facebook recipe and dog videos isn’t as hard as you might think. In fact, there’s multiple ways to do it. Let’s take a look.
Using the Mobile Site on Desktop
Start by loading Facebook’s typical desktop website from your computer. We’re using Chrome to download this video, so while this method may work in other browsers, we can only guarantee support through Google Chrome’s video player. When you find the video you want to save—in our example screenshots below, it’s a short video of Moana-themed cupcakes—ensure you’ve loaded the video’s page into your browser. Whether the video is in pop-out mode or not shouldn’t matter for this technique.
Next, look for the URL bar in your browser. In Chrome, only a single bar is used for both search and URL navigation. Find your URL, which should read along the lines of “https://www.facebook.com/etc,” with “etc” actually reading the page name and a series of numbers and letters after it (as shown in our images). Highlight the “www” in your URL bar and erase it, replacing it with an “m.” The URL should now read “https://m.facebook.com/etc.” That “m” tells Facebook to load the mobile version of its website, necessary for us to save the video straight from Facebook to your computer. Load the new URL, and you should be brought back to the same page—only this time, your browser will attempt to show you the mobile version of the site.
With the mobile version of the page loaded, hit play on your video. Instead of loading in the normal Facebook player, Chrome (or your browser of choice) should begin to play the video in the built-in web player. Once the video is playing on your device, right-click the video player area in your browser. You should see several different options inside that menu, including “Save video as…” Clicking this will open up a download prompt, allowing you to rename and save the video to your computer as an MP4 file. The video saved downloaded at the same 400×400 resolution we’d seen for the livestream we tested, so as long as quality isn’t your highest priority for saving videos to your computer, you shouldn’t have any difficulties getting these videos saved on your computer. And since the videos save in MP4 format, you won’t have any difficulties playing them on your computer, tablet, or phone.
Using Video Downloader Sites
Anyone who’s tried to download a YouTube video on the internet is well aware that a huge market exists for downloading content from video-only sites like YouTube and Facebook. Considering the pure amount of content on both sites, it’s unsurprising that both of these services have a wide variety of third-party sites promising fast and free downloads of content online in both audio and video formats. Though most sites specialize in downloading YouTube content, it’s also possible to download Facebook content from a wide variety of sites, including some YouTube Downloader sites that don’t publicize the ability to support Facebook videos.
Our favorite and recommended video downloader site used to be KeepVid, a site that offered both a free web client and a paid desktop client. Unfortunately, the site’s recent redesign has caused for the functionality of the site to become limited without paying for a premium account: videos can’t be downloaded in their full resolution, with or without sound, without signing up for the “Pro” experience. Previously, Keepvid would allow users to download 1080p video-only files that, with the audio, could be resynced by the user in a video editing program. Currently, you can now only download content in a “SD” or “HD” setting as a free user, without the ability to download separate channels as you previously could.
Though KeepVid is still a good site for general users, we now recommend Online Video Converter as our top pick for downloading video content on the internet. Though the ads can be a bit intrusive at times, Online Video Converter is a great site that allows for videos from both YouTube and Facebook to be downloaded, and supports fast download speeds at high quality and good resolutions. The site is easy to use: simply load the website using our link above, place your video URL from Facebook in the text field on the homepage of OVC, select your video or audio format, and click start. If you wish, you can also change your video resolution by tapping “More Settings.” Videos can be downloaded in resolutions as high as 1440p. Finally, you can also trim the video by selecting starting or ending points to download. Once you’ve entered your chosen preferences, hit the “Start” button and your video will process. After a few moments, your download will begin, and you can playback your video right from your computer.
Both KeepVid and Online Video Converter produced HD copies of the video, much higher than saving the video straight through the browser as detailed above. If you’re concerned about the quality of your saved content, your best bet is to save the video using either KeepVid or Online Video Converter.
Downloading Videos Using Your Smartphone
If we’re being honest, the easiest way to get videos from Facebook onto your smartphone is to use your computer and, using a cable or a wireless internet connection, transfer the video to your smartphone’s storage partition. It’s a bit of a hassle, but it’s the easiest way to save videos to your account without having to jump through the hoops associated with saving videos on Android. That said, sometimes there are certain limitations to downloading content from your computer to your phone. If you’re on the go and away from a desktop or laptop computer, your only real option is to download the content manually on your smartphone of choice. Here are your current options for downloading Facebook videos on your Android or iOS devices.
Since Android uses Google Chrome as its primary web browser of choice, it’s actually not too difficult to save videos onto your Android device—in fact, you have a few distinct ways to do so. Using Chrome, load the mobile Facebook site on your device and log into the site. Make sure not to use the application for Android, as this method won’t work inside Facebook’s own app. Using the mobile site, navigate to the video you were looking to download to your device. If you need help finding the video on the mobile browser site because you found the original video on the mobile app, you can typically use the Share function on Android to get an easy copy-and-paste link to that video.
Once you’ve loaded the video, simply hold your finger down on the video until the “Save Video” prompt appears on your device. This may take a few moments to appear, so don’t lose patience. Tap the button and your download will begin to your device. Depending on the resolution and length of the video, it may take a couple minutes to download. While there are a ton of choices in browser on Android, we tested this specifically on Chrome and Samsung Internet, our two favorite browsers on Android right now. Both can download videos straight to your device, making it a pretty easy task to start playing your collection offline to save data.
Unfortunately, compared to Android, there’s really no easy way to save a video from Facebook on iOS to your device—as of yet, at least. iOS 11, which is scheduled to ship this September, will include a File Browser for the first time in the history of Apple’s mobile operating system. We’ll have to wait and see if the ability to download videos similar to Android functions the same way, but until then, downloading videos with an iPhone or iPad is not an easy task. Until Apple rolls out their file browser system for iOS, we recommend saving the video to your collection on the Facebook app on your iPhone, then downloading the content when you arrive home.
Alternatively, you can also use apps like Downloader on the App Store to navigate to Online Video Converter inside Safari. Online Video Converter has its own mobile site, and there are a wide variety of media-downloading apps available on the App Store that replicate the functionality of a file browser on iOS, including the aforementioned Downloader. Simply use the in-app browser to download the video from OVC as you would from any other standard web browser, and you’ll be able to play your MP4 video right inside Downloader’s own media player. It’s a bit of a convoluted workaround, but if you’re in a tight corner and need a video downloaded to your device, this is one of the best ways to do it.
Despite Facebook’s limitations on downloading videos from their site, the fact of the matter is simple: it’s never been easier to grab videos from the site. Whether you’re using the mobile site workaround on your Windows or MacOS-based computer, downloading the video through an online downloading site like KeepVid or Online Video Converter, or grabbing the video through Chrome on your Android device, downloading everything from your favorite recipes to news reports to pets doing cool tricks can be done in just a couple easy steps. Even iOS, a notoriously locked-down system, has a method for allowing videos to be downloaded onto your device. And with iOS 11 bringing Finder from MacOS to iOS for the first time, that method might just get even easier.
So download your videos and head out on the go, free from the worry of dead zones and data caps. You’ll have all your favorite videos with you no matter where you end up.