Ripping songs from YouTube videos is a fairly common practice, and the demand for making the process easier has inspired the production of countless websites and software.

But not every service can be considered safe or even completely trustworthy. In fact, some of these services may infect your computer with malware or produce poor-quality audio files. When downloading music from YouTube, you’ll need to first make sure that the websites or apps you use for doing so won’t hurt your device. That said, for this guide our team has found two methods to make the process safer and easier.

We do need to issue this warning first: Ripping audio from YouTube is a breach of the streaming video site’s terms of use, which could get you into trouble. There are ways to enjoy music from YouTube without violating its terms of use, such as via Google’s YouTube Music service — so we do recommend that you consider trying legitimate options first.

It’s also important to know that some of the YouTube-ripping sites out there may contain malware and/or use money-making practices like cryptomining. While we do our best to recommend safe services that don’t engage in such activities, if you notice that your system is running hotter or harder than usual during visits to these sites, you should make sure that you don’t stay on them for longer than necessary. And if you choose to download software for ripping audio, be sure to have your chosen antivirus service scan the software for threats before installing or using it.

Desktop method: 4K YouTube to MP3

While you may not want to download another app, using an installed video-converter app tends to be safer and more reliable when it comes to ripping audio from YouTube videos. Fact is, most YouTube-ripping sites — even ones that seem safe at first — may eventually fall victim to hackers and malware, and so it may be best to use dedicated software on your desktop for your audio-ripping needs. That said, even when you download software, you should always exercise caution before installing it by making sure to scan it with your trusted antivirus software (if you don’t have one, you can check out our list of the best free antivirus software).

But downloading and installing a new app doesn’t have to be a struggle. In fact, the 4K YouTube to MP3 app features a pain-free installation and user-friendliness that rivals most online YouTube converter services. It’s also available for multiple operating systems, including Windows, MacOS (10.13 and later), and Ubuntu. 4K YouTube to MP3 also is free to download and use. You also can upgrade to a premium version that includes features like unlimited audio tracks per playlist and no ads. But the free version should be enough for most people.

Step 1: Download and install 4K YouTube to MP3.

Step 2: Navigate to the 4K YouTube to MP3 website, and under the 4K YouTube to MP3 header, click on the blue Download button that corresponds to your computer’s operating system.

Step 3: Once the installer downloads, run it and follow the onscreen prompts to install 4K YouTube to MP3.

Step 4: Copy your chosen YouTube video’s URL.

Step 5: Navigate to the YouTube video with audio you want to rip.

Step 6: Highlight the URL from your browser’s address bar, and copy it to your clipboard. You also can right-click on the video itself and choose Copy Video URL from the menu that pops up.

Step 7: Paste the video URL into 4K YouTube to MP3.

The best thing about 4K YouTube to MP3 is that you don’t have to do much to start ripping audio. Once you have the video link copied to your clipboard, all you have to do is paste the link into the app by clicking on the blue Paste Link button in the upper-left corner of the screen.

Step 8: After that, the app immediately gets to work on ripping the audio. To give you an idea of how fast the app was at creating the MP3 file, it took less than a couple of minutes for it to process a 10-minute YouTube video.

Step 9: Once the MP3 file has been created, the app automatically saves it to your PC. To locate the music file, you can just mouse over the name of the track displayed in the middle of the app.

Step 10: Then a Show in Folder icon will appear. This icon resembles a file folder.

Step 11: Click on it, and you’ll be directed to a File Explorer window that displays your new MP3. You now have the file in MP3 format for offline listening, background music, or however you prefer to consume.

Further reading

Online alternative: YouTube to MP3

If you’d rather not download a dedicated app for your audio-ripping needs, you can still use online services like YouTube to MP3, which is a website that features a free YouTube converter for YouTube videos. But we must caution you again: YouTube-ripping online services tend to be safe at first and then become infected with malware later. So please make sure to use your antivirus software to scan these sites and any files you download from them. As of April 2021, YouTube to MP3 appears to be a safe-to-use audio-ripping site, in the sense that our virus scans did not detect any malware or phishing attempts when we tested the site.

With all that said, YouTube to MP3 seems to function similarly to our recommended desktop process. All you need to do is copy and paste the YouTube URL of the video you want and sit back and let the site do its work. And voila, you’ve got a beautiful, converted MP3 audio file. This tool makes the process super simple and doesn’t require any installations. You can even upload your converted MP3 to Dropbox rather than saving directly to your computer.

Note: Once you download your MP3s to your computer, YouTube to MP3 might start bombarding you with pop-up advertisements. Don’t worry, we’ve tested the website, and our antivirus software did not signal anything concerning. YouTube to MP3 still seems like an innocent, secure site, but it’s always a good idea to be careful when working with these kinds of sites. We highly recommend running a quick virus scan immediately after using this site or any other similar website.

Also, during your first conversion process and even after it’s complete, you’ll see another pop-up ad appear. This ad talks about another downloadable software and looks a lot like a user agreement. Again, no need to fret. The ad does not appear to be dangerous, and you can easily remove it from your screen by clicking on the black X icon on the right. You don’t have to accept the terms on this fake user agreement ad to convert or download your video file. Just hit the X and get rid of the ad.

We also suggest reading our convenient guide on how to download YouTube videos if you want to view them offline without connecting to the internet. Alternatively, you can check out additional YouTube to MP3 downloaders here.

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