Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 19:40

Enjoying YouTube without YouTube means you can watch and download all videos from it everywhere by alternative ways so that you don't run nonfree software or surrender your privacy. There are good news I want to share with you as there are already Invidious and CloudTube for computer users while NewPipe for phone users. They are all free libre open source software developed by community you can trust. I am happy with these solution so I want you to share my happiness as well. Enjoy!
FreeTube - a desktop app to enjoy youtube comfortably

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Since few years ago I stopped going to as per I read the amazing essay JavaScript Trap and then I found Invidious from Trisquel Forum discussions. Thanks to Invidious, I can continue watching videos from youtube without going to for years. I felt this is really a solution. That means I save my computing from nonfree javascript and at same time my online privacy plus I have ability to download the videos. I believe people will also love that. However, sadly September this year Invidious discontinued. The issue is videos I usually watch normally now cannot play in Invidious. The cause is that Google the owner of YouTube changes how users and software can access YouTube videos and eventually block ones they do not like. That's why making solution in this case is a hard job because the developer must update their software following YouTube's blocking otherwise the solution will not play any video. When I was looking for alternatives lately, I found CloudTube and NewPipe, then I immediately got nice experiences to share with you about them.

For Ubuntu Computer

Invidious: this Omarroth's artwork is the beginning of all. By going to the website we can watch and download youtube videos free from ads, proprietary javascript, and online tracking. Now it is discontinued, but there is still hope, as we can still continue watching by going to alternative instances say

CloudTube: fortunately, here is CloudTube a new Invidious-like web that lets us to watch youtube videos free from ads, javascript, and tracking. You go to CloudTube website and simply search and play any video. Currently it is still in active development at Sourcehut and written in Python the most popular programming language according to StackOverflow to attract more developers.

FreeTube: finally, it is a decent desktop client everyone can use. It is like Invidious, and even more like YouTube app on Android, but you can run it as an app on computer to watch and download videos. Download it as AppImage and run it on Ubuntu. FreeTube is a serious software project that available for three major operating systems GNU/Linux, Windows, and macOS. When I encounter FreeTube once again, I felt it is very similar to NewPipe on Android. It is still in beta version but it works already you can try.
 (FreeTube app runs on my Kubuntu laptop as portable application with several popular channels subscribed and cool videos displayed)

Worth mentioning: MiniTube, Youtube-dl, PeerTube

For Android Phone

As many Ubuntu users have Android phone as well, here is a bonus for you all. I always recommend install apps from F-Droid instead of Play Store for it is better software center, completely free and secure, for Android.

NewPipe: I think it is cool. It is the mobile YouTube player that is very convenient. It features search, watch, download, pause / resume, audio-only, quality options, subscribe, playlist, customizations, and many more. You will find it even better than the flagship proprietary YouTube app. Download it from F-Droid.

(NewPipe: from left to right: searching for videos - displaying a video - playing it)


Let's continue to watch YouTube videos conveniently. I wish Invidious and CloudTube projects continue well. I wish this article introduces NewPipe well to the vast Android users too. Last but not least, I wish PeerTube will be mature enough soon so we will experience even more convenient video platform. For those who interested, feel free to read our previous articles regarding these:


This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.