Home YouTube FreeTube – An Open Source Desktop YouTube Player For Privacy-minded People

FreeTube – An Open Source Desktop YouTube Player For Privacy-minded People

By sk
Published: Last Updated on 5,714 Views

FreeTube is an open source, cross-platform and private YouTube client for privacy-minded people. As you may already know, we need a Google account to subscribe channels and download videos from YouTube. Thanks to FreeTube, you don't need a Google account anymore. FreeTube allows you to watch, search and download Youtube videos and subscribe your favorite channels without an account.

FreeTube is an open source YouTube player that gives you complete ad-free experience. It is apt for privacy-minded people who don't want to being tracked by Google.

Your viewing habits will not be tracked by either FreeTube or YoutTube. Another notable advantage is  it has a built-in basic HTML5 player to watch videos. Since we're not using the built-in YouTube player, Google can't track the "views" and the video analytics either.

FreeTube only sends your IP details, but this also can be overcome by using a VPN. It is completely free, and its source code is freely available in GitHub. It currently supports GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.

Features

  • Watch your favorite YouTube videos without ads.
  • Prevent Google from tracking what you watch using cookies or JavaScript.
  • Tor/proxy support.
  • Subscribe to channels without an account.
  • Store subscriptions, history, and saved videos locally.
  • Import / Export subscriptions.
  • Open videos from the browser directly into FreeTube with the help of extensions.
  • Mini Player.
  • Light / Dark Theme.
  • Free and open source application released under AGPLv3 license.
  • Cross-platform. Supports Linux, Mac OS and Windows.

Install FreeTube in Linux

FreeTube is available in both Flatpak and AppImage formats.

Flatpak

If you prefer to use Flatpak version, run the following command to install FreeTube:

 $ flatpak install flathub io.freetubeapp.FreeTube

To launch FreeTube, run:

$ flatpak run io.freetubeapp.FreeTube

AppImage

If you want to use AppImage version, run the following commands:

$ wget https://github.com/FreeTubeApp/FreeTube/releases/download/v0.15.0-beta/FreeTube_0.15.0_amd64.AppImage
$ chmod +x FreeTube_0.15.0_amd64.AppImage

To launch it, run:

$ ./FreeTube_0.15.0_amd64.AppImage

Install FreeTube using package manager

FreeTube is packaged for RPM-based systems such as Fedora/RedHat and DEB-based systems such as Debian and Ubuntu.

FreeTube DEB:

To install FreeTube in Debian, Ubuntu and its derivatives, download the latest .deb file from its website and install FreeTube using dpkg package manager like below:

$ wget https://github.com/FreeTubeApp/FreeTube/releases/download/v0.15.0-beta/freetube_0.15.0_amd64.deb
$ sudo dpkg -i freetube_0.15.0_amd64.deb
$ sudo apt install -f

FreeTube RPM:

On Fedora and RedHat systems:

$ wget https://github.com/FreeTubeApp/FreeTube/releases/download/v0.15.0-beta/freetube_0.15.0_amd64.rpm
$ sudo rpm -Uvh freetube_0.15.0_amd64.rpm

AUR

Freetube is available in AUR, so you can install it using any AUR helpers like Paru or Yay.

Paru:

$ paru -S freetube

Yay:

$ yay -S freetube

Install FreeTube from source

Go to the releases page and grab the version depending upon the OS you use. For the purpose of this guide, I will be using .tar.gz file.

$ wget https://github.com/FreeTubeApp/FreeTube/releases/download/v0.1.3-beta/FreeTube-linux-x64.tar.xz

Extract the downloaded archive:

$ tar xf FreeTube-linux-x64.tar.xz

Go to the Freetube folder:

$ cd FreeTube-linux-x64/

Launch FreeTube using command:

$ ./FreeTube

This is how FreeTube default interface looks like.

Watch YouTube videos using FreeTube

FreeTube uses a built in extractor to grab and serve videos. The Invidious API can also optionally be used. Invidious scrapes the YouTube site which prevents the need for any official YouTube API. Since the subscriptions, history, and saved videos are stored locally on your system, your details will not be sent to Google or anyone else.

Enter the video name in the search box and hit ENTER key. FreeTube will list out the results based on your search query.

You can click on any video to play it.

If you want to change the theme or default API, import/export subscriptions, go to the Settings section.

Please note that FreeTube is still in beta stage, so there will be bugs. If there are any bugs, please report them in the GitHub page given below.

Resource:

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5 comments

Nikato Muirhead March 8, 2018 - 5:43 pm

This needs to be in AUR

Reply
FreeTubeDev March 8, 2018 - 10:15 pm

Hey there! I am the developer of FreeTube. Thank you for the article 🙂

Would you be able to update the article? I’ve released version 0.1.3 and 0.1.2 will not work anymore. It’d be a shame to direct users to a broken version.

Also, along with the update, I do not depend on HookTube’s API anymore. I now use a spun up version of the youtube-dl server to grab the videos. This is part of the reason as to why 0.1.2 doesn’t work anymore.

Regardless, nice article, and thank you very much for writing about FreeTube! 🙂

Reply
sk March 9, 2018 - 4:20 pm

Thanks for the heads up. I updated the article. Keep up the good work! FreeTube is awesome.

Reply
Jim March 10, 2018 - 1:18 pm

This is absolutely fantastic!!!
Thank you so much, both the developer and OStechnix!!
Using Arch Linux and yes, this indeed should be included in AUR.
Cheers friends!

Reply
fred smith March 12, 2018 - 3:04 am

OK, I’m trying 0.1.3, and I would have said it doesn’t work either, but maybe I just don’t know how to use it.

Can it be used without subscriptions? If so it’s a puzzle…. nothing I try does anything. searching for things I know are there gets no results. clicking on Most Popular gets no results.

what am I doing wrong?

Reply

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