My Mac is rather old and has issues (many dropped frames) with playing YouTube videos in HD on fullscreen, whether in Flash or HTML5.

However, playing them in VLC makes no drops whatsoever, and what is even better, it plays them fluently even remotely, so I don't need to download those videos. All I need to do is open network file in VLC and paste here link to YouTube .mp4 or .flv file. Works like a charm.

Right now I get links by copying them and letting jDownloader pars YouTube urls. This gives me direct links to all available formats and sizes. Here I pick one I prefer, copy url and paste it to VLC.

Is there any faster way to parse those urls without the need of 3rd app like jDownloader? I tried some Safari plugins but none of them gave desirable results to me.


3 Answers 3


I don't think it's much faster. I use youtube-dl from MacPorts or Homebrew.

> youtube-dl -g https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkmyLTPh3UY

You can copy this URL automatically to the clipboard with | pbcopy. See osxdaily.com for details.

  • Thank you, but this solution would require 3rd app too, in this case Terminal instead of jDownloader. Jan 6, 2013 at 11:18
  • 3
    Terminal is a standard application in /Applications/Utilities.
    – nohillside
    Apr 6, 2013 at 4:24
  • Indeed it is. I said its 3rd app, not 3rd party app. I would like to do it directly, prehaps via some plugin in browser or hack that would add new button to the youtube page. Jan 25, 2016 at 12:40

Install the ClickToFlash extension in Safari. With the extension enabled you can right-click on any video in YouTube and choose "Download File", which downloads the underlying MP4 file.

The plugin also has the side benefit of blocking Flash content by default, but if you don't want this functionality this plugin might not be for you.


I personally use Chrome, and there is a great (unofficial) extension, which allows you to set both the default size/resolution to use for downloads, but also gives you a choice for a different resolution for each video you visit. Extremely handy.

I also use the YouTube Options Chrome extension to disable the initial buffering (so videos don't buffer until I click play). I know your original post was looking for a Safari solution, but this combination works great so I thought I would share.

  • The thing is that what I am looking for is just to copy the link, not to download the file itself. Sep 3, 2013 at 17:40

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