Entertainment

How to Legally Download Movies for Free to Watch Offline

Andy Betts Updated 14-02-2020

Almost all of us now use streaming services to catch the hottest new movies and TV shows. However, streaming still have one major flaw… they need an internet connection. Which means they aren’t all that convenient when you’re traveling.

Fortunately, many of the best streaming services now allow you to download movies to watch offline. And all for free, as part of your normal account. So, in this article, we’ll show you how to download movies to watch offline. All for free and legally.

Netflix

You can watch movies offline on Netflix with your regular subscription, and downloading content doesn’t count towards the number of screens you’re allowed to view on. Not all content is available to download, but just look for the Download button on the movie’s description page within the iOS or Android app.

If you want to know how to download movies on a laptop with Netflix, it’s simple: you need to use the desktop app instead of the browser. There’s a Netflix app for Windows 10 in the Microsoft Store, and you can use the Android app on most Chromebooks. Sadly, there’s no Netflix app for Mac or Linux, so you can’t watch Netflix offline on those platforms.

Netflix makes it easy to search for stuff to watch by genre or keywords. One of the best things about using Netflix to watch content offline is the quick transfer speeds. Your experience may vary based on connection details, but most people will be able to download a movie in minutes.

Download: Netflix for Android | iOS (From $8.99 to $15.99/month, no fees to watch offline)

Amazon Prime Video

It’s easy to download movies on Amazon Prime How to Download Amazon Prime Videos to Watch Offline Amazon Prime Video lets you download movies and TV shows to watch offline for free. Here's how to download Amazon Prime videos. Read More to watch offline. When browsing through all the options, simply make sure you have selected the “Free to me” at the top of the screen within the app.

Everything on Amazon Prime is available to watch without Wi-Fi. Just tap the Download button below the description for your chosen film, then tap My Stuff to access your offline movies.

One of Amazon Prime’s strongest advantages is how it offers a wide assortment of new releases and classics, plus plenty of kid-friendly choices.

Keep in mind that Amazon Prime offers streamed and downloadable content along with numerous other membership perks. These include access to Audible audio series, Kindle ebooks, and music tracks, plus free, fast shipping for Prime-eligible Amazon products.

Download: Amazon Prime Video for Android | iOS (Requires a $119-per-year Amazon Prime subscription)

TED

Are you looking for a little insight and inspiration during your travel time? Depend on the TED app to fill the void. You can download content for later viewing if you’re on a laptop and plan to take it on your trip. Otherwise, make sure you have the TED app installed on your device before departure.

TED offers over 2,000 pieces of content to download and includes subtitles for other languages. After finding a TED talk that seems worthwhile, just click on the red Download icon to start transferring the file to your device.

TED also offers a cool feature that builds customized playlists depending on the topics you like and the free time you have. You can also look through a selection of the most popular TED Talks if you’re having trouble deciding which one to watch. Unlike the other apps featured so far, this one is free, making it a good choice for cost-conscious media content consumption.

Download: TED for Android | iOS (Free)

Google Play Movies and TV

You can download movies and TV shows from Google Play to watch offline. It’s one of the best places to rent new movies, and you can download things you’ve bought on up to five devices.

If you’re on an iPhone you can’t make purchases inside the app, so load up on what you need before you leave home. You don’t have the same problem on Android. Finding content on Google Play is easy thanks to the user-friendly layout. It’s similar to Amazon Prime, with snapshots of user ratings so you can quickly find the must-see films.

Being able to download your movies and shows to several devices is good news when you’re traveling with kids and don’t have a backseat DVD player system. Give each kid their own device and look forward to hours of whine-free traveling, plus more sanity for parents and kids alike.

Download: Google Play Movies and TV for Android | iOS (Free, prices vary for downloadable content)

YouTube Premium

You can download free movies to watch offline on YouTube, if you can find them. There’s a lot of free-to-watch movies on YouTube, as well as many that are there in a less legal capacity.

There’s a Download button on each video’s page, but you need to upgrade to the YouTube Premium service to make it work. Even then, not everything is available offline.

YouTube Premium is a subscription-based service available in certain countries, including the United States. YouTube Premium gives you access to millions of ad-free videos, allows for background streaming, and includes YouTube Music. It permits legal offline viewing, too, and there’s a special section for kids.

You can sign up for the service on Android by going to your account within the YouTube app. For iOS devices, you can pay for YouTube Premium through iTunes. Also, be sure to take advantage of the 30-day free trial.

If you already subscribe to Google Play Music, that subscription includes YouTube Premium access. Conversely, once you purchase YouTube Premium, you can also access all Google Play Music content for no extra fees. Bonus!

Download: YouTube Premium for Android | iOS ($11.99/month after the free trial ends)

Vimeo

Another good place for free offline movies is Vimeo. It has a “watch later” feature that allows you to bookmark videos for a more convenient time—such as when traveling. Tap the familiar downward-facing arrow to start downloading your chosen video. You can then find it in the app’s Offline section.

Vimeo was the first video streaming site to enable high-definition streaming, and not surprisingly, you can still watch a large chunk of the site’s content in high definition, including content from independent filmmakers and music videos from rising stars. People also love using Vimeo because it’s ad-free and doesn’t need a subscription.

One of the app’s highlights is that you can upload content directly through it instead of needing to use a computer. This requires an internet connection, but it’s still a convenient feature if you’re on the go and want to share some of your travel experiences with friends.

Download: Vimeo for Android | iOS (Free)

How to Watch Free Movies Offline

Ready to hit the road? Then travel-related boredom could be a thing of the past. Whether you subscribe to a service or are happy with one-off downloads and free content, it’s easy to get your film fix while traveling thanks to these excellent free movie download sites.

And if you can maintain an internet connection, you can access even more great films via the best free movie streaming sites The Best Free Movie Streaming Sites Are you looking for the best free online movie streaming sites? Here's where you can watch free and legal movies at any time. Read More .

Image Credit: kudla/Shutterstock

Related topics: Amazon Prime, Download Management, Google Play, Media Streaming, Netflix, Online Video, TED Talks, Vimeo, YouTube.

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  1. Ben Suarez
    January 3, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    This article deserves a facepalm. You notice how the title says "how to legally download for free"? well netflix is not free, you still have to pay for subscription. You also have to pay for amazon prime, google play movies and tv, and youtube red. Please change the title or remove those you have to pay for.

    • Capt
      February 11, 2019 at 1:41 pm

      You are right, Ben. Looks like writer Kayla do not understand English!

      • r s
        February 22, 2020 at 2:00 am

        Thanks for beating me to the punch...

      • r s
        February 22, 2020 at 2:01 am

        what, exactly, is free -- indeed?

        not this...

  2. TiberiusJ
    December 1, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    I want to BUY movies and watch them on my Windows 10 LAPTOP. Not a device, Not a smartphone and not a Tablet.
    I don't want to put silly 3rd party applications on just to watch a film. I want it in a standard format I can watch with Windows Media Player or VLC which are installed on my Laptop. I do not want to stream the film(s). I fly a lot for a living and want to BUY and watch movies on my Laptop. Easy? No. I tried buying one from Amazon Prime but it wouldn't download to Laptop and needed an App which I refuse to install. How do I Buy films to watch offline? Or do I have to go and buy the DVD from Asda and rip it to MP4?