Talking tech since 2003

I write a lot about video games. And I’m almost always playing a video game podcast in the background while I work. The big ones from IGN. The small ones that you might’ve never heard of, like Tandem Legends (a podcast about the Legend of Zelda series). I do this primarily on my iPad, because occasionally, I’ll watch the video version of a podcast. And more often than not, those videos live on YouTube.

But here’s the rub. YouTube doesn’t support background video sound without paying for something called YouTube Premium. If I switch apps on my iPad, playback stops. I could go on and on about why I hate this, but the truth is, I already found a way around it — and a way to basically recreate the YouTube Premium experience without having to pay YouTube a single cent.

It’s called Airy, and it’s available now for Windows and macOS.

The task Airy performs is simple yet immensely valuable. It downloads videos from YouTube, and it does it in a variety of formats. Do you want to pull a video down as a high-quality 1080p MP4 file? Airy can do it. Do you just need a low-bitrate 3GP file? Airy’s got you covered.

Airy can even download a YouTube video as an MP3, should you just want the sound without all of that fancy shmancy video.

And the process is entirely simple. Airy doesn’t have a whole lot of options or settings bogging things down. There’s a drop-down box for you to choose the file type you want for your download, an empty box for you to paste a YouTube URL into, and a “Download” button.

It’ll be awfully hard for someone to get confused using Airy.

The app’s usefulness comes with a cost, though. While watching YouTube videos is free — thanks to ads that appear far too often — Airy is not. You can purchase a single-use personal license for $19.95, though that doesn’t guarantee you access to new versions of the app. For that, you’ll have to pay $9.95 for the lifetime upgrades guarantee.

Considering that YouTube Premium costs $11.99 per month (at present time), both fees seem like solid investments that will pay for themselves in less than three months’ time.

All in all, I like Airy. There’s not a whole not to knock, because what the app does is easy to understand, and using the app to accomplish that task is simple. If you’re not hot on paying YouTube a monthly fee for features that it should have in its own app, Airy is a worthy workaround that helps break YouTube videos free.

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