Movies have become so accessible that you can access one on your smartphone moments after it’s released. However, most apps that let you watch movies on your phone will rather have you stream it from their servers, making it impossible to download for offline viewing.
If you need movies to watch when you’re in a place without an internet connection, those apps certainly won’t work for you. Instead, you’ll need something that lets you download movies, and if possible, transfer the downloaded media across the different devices you own.
In this article, you’ll learn about some of the most convenient apps to download movies and why you should consider them in the first place. Also, you’ll learn how to download movies using each of the apps I’ll recommend in a bit.
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5 Best Apps to Download Movies
Most apps that sell you movies won’t let you watch them offline for a couple of reasons: to prevent you from sharing them and to be able to bombard you with ads. Thankfully, there are some generous enough to let you download the movies you’ve bought for offline viewing.
If you need to do that, here are the best apps to download movies in 2023.
Most users know YouTube as the most popular streaming service for independent content creators, but you can certainly download movies using the hugely popular search engine. Since the app is available for both Android and iOS, it’s one of the best apps to download movies across all your mobile devices.
There’s a big downside to using YouTube for movie downloads, however: it has a very tiny collection of popular movies due to licensing restrictions. For the most part, you have to be content with content from indie and local producers, and if you’re in a country that supports YouTube Movies & TV, you can access some manageable B-movies.
It’s crucial to note that video (or movie) download with YouTube isn’t available in every location; if you’re in the United States for example, you can’t download movies to watch offline. Also, downloading videos to a computer (or in selected locations) requires you to have a subscription to YouTube premium.
How to Download Movies on YouTube
There are different ways to download movies on YouTube, depending on the kind of movie you intend to download. For regular indie movies from small and independent creators, you can simply head over to your mobile app and tap the download option on their videos. Again, you’ll need to be in a supported location or have a subscription to YouTube premium to be able to do that.
However, if you want a video from YouTube Movies & TV, you’ll need a subscription to YouTube Premium. Then, head over to YouTube’s homepage and select Movies & TV on the sidebar. To filter free videos, select the “Free with Ads” tag, and you’ll see a collection of videos you can download for free.
If you’re in a location where it’s possible to download YouTube content, you should see a button that lets you download the movies once you open them, making YouTube one of the best apps to download movies. Otherwise, you can simply move on to the next recommendation.
Netflix is often recognized as the big guy in the movie streaming industry, primarily for being a trendsetter. One of the most useful features that the company has integrated into the app over the past few years is the ability to download videos to view them offline later, earning it a place among the best apps to download movies.
The feature works excellently, as long as you have enough storage space on your device. However, there are a few restrictions to note before trying to use the download feature on your Netflix app.
For one, you can only download on a limited number of devices, depending on your subscription. Netflix officially allows password sharing with people in your household, making it possible to use the same account across different devices. However, only the original owner of the account can download movies on a basic account with ads, while Netflix allows downloading on two and four supported devices for the standard and premium accounts respectively.
How to Download Movies on Netflix
Downloading movies on Netflix requires you to have a supported device, which is Netflix’s lexicon for a device that meets their requirements for the feature. The requirements are pretty basic, and it’s almost certain that the device you’re using to read this already meets those requirements.
To download videos, you need an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 9 or better, an Android phone with Android 4.4.2, an Amazon Fire Tablet with Fire OS 4.0, or a Windows PC with Windows 10 or 11. You can also download movies on your Chromebook through the Netflix app from the Google Play Store, making it one of the few apps to download movies on ChromeOS.
Once your device meets the requirements, you can head over to the Netflix app and select any movie you intend to download. You should see an option to download the movie; tap or click on it to save it for offline viewing. It’s crucial to note that you can’t download movies on Netflix in your web browser.
Netflix only allows you to download up to 100 shows at a time, or as much as your storage space can take. With the experience, it’s undoubtedly one of the best apps to download movies across all your devices.
Netflix and YouTube are good options for downloading movies, but they’re both mediocre for the average weeb who wants to see nothing but anime. If you tend to enjoy watching anime as I do, an app like Crunchyroll will rank higher for you than Netflix and YouTube combined, when it comes to the best apps to download movies.
Unlike Netflix, you can only download for offline viewing on Crunchyroll from a mobile device; if you tend to watch anime from your PC, you’ll need to find an alternative. Also, you’ll need to subscribe to the streaming service to access any Crunchyroll content, and of course, download them.
There are some downsides to downloading anime on Crunchyroll. Firstly, you’ll have to pay for a higher subscription, as offline viewing is unavailable with the free and Fan plans. The Mega Fan plan that adds support for offline viewing costs $15/month, which is almost twice as much as the Fan plan. If the feature is worth the cost for you, then it’s one of the best apps to download movies.
How to Download Movies on Crunchyroll
Downloading new anime movies and episodes on Crunchyroll isn’t complicated; you should be able to figure it out yourself if you have a subscription to the Mega Fan plan. If you’re on a lower plan, however, you can upgrade easily from the Settings page.
After upgrading, you can head over to any anime series on the app and tap on the small download icon by the bottom right to start syncing the episode to your phone. If you haven’t upgraded at this point, you’ll receive a message prompting you to upgrade or stream the episode online.
Once you’ve finished downloading the anime to your phone, you can head over to the Downloads section to start watching it offline. With how seamless the entire process is, it seems very natural to list Crunchyroll among the best apps to download movies, although your movie selection is a bit limited.
Since most online streaming services simply copy whatever Netflix does, the arrival of Hulu’s download feature didn’t come as much surprise. Like Netflix, it didn’t come with many bells and whistles; as long as you have a “supported” subscription to the service and a supported account, you can start downloading movies on one of the best apps to download movies.
Like many other apps I’ve mentioned, Hulu limits what accounts can download movies for offline viewing. If you’re on the $7 monthly plan, you’ll have to stream all your movies online, but upgrading to the no-ads $13 version will make the feature available to you. You can easily upgrade your plan from your account settings within the Hulu app.
Unlike Netflix, however, Hulu doesn’t let you keep the content you download for as long as you have a subscription. The content expires and automatically deletes after 30 days, but once you press play, that 30-day window shortens to 48 hours. Also, you can’t download more than 25 movies and shows at once on Hulu. These restrictions certainly place it behind Netflix among the best apps to download movies.
How to Download Movies on Hulu
Unlike most of the other great apps to download movies, Hulu doesn’t let you download every movie on the app for offline viewing. While most movies can be downloaded, you still need to watch a significant percentage of its catalog online, giving an experience you don’t expect from one of the best apps to download movies.
Since there’s a great selection of downloadable movies, however, we’ll forgive Hulu for that. To find the content you can download, head over to the app, tap on the search button, and select the DOWNLOADABLE option. That should bring you a list of movies you can download on Hulu.
Tap the “Download” button on them to start syncing the file for offline viewing. While Hulu qualifies as one of the best apps to download movies, the prize only applies to its mobile version; it doesn’t offer the feature for desktop versions.
5. A Browser
You’re probably not expecting this, but the web browser on your smartphone is one of the best apps to download movies if you know where to go. The internet is a vast place, but it stores every movie that has ever been released somewhere, but the issue is usually finding where it is.
A major reason you may want to consider using your browser to download movies is to make them sharable. When you download movies on most apps, including the four that I listed above, you can’t share them with someone else in that offline state, even if they have a subscription to the same service.
Since a huge chunk of movie download sources on the internet is illegal, I’ll not be recommending any websites. Also, you’ll probably be fine with any of the options above unless you want to move your downloaded movies across devices. If you ever get a download link, however, entering it into your browser will fetch you the movie pretty instantaneously; plus, the internet is a great resource for free indie short movies!
Downloading movies for offline viewing may be convenient for the user, but it’s certainly not lucrative for the company, and that’s why you see a scarcity of good apps to download movies. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist, because if you’ve read this article, you’ll see it lists the best apps to download movies easily.