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

Freetube - Desktop YouTube player

You already know that we need a Google account to subscribe channels and download videos from YouTube. If you don’t want Google track what you’re doing on YouTube, well, there is an open source YouTube player named “FreeTube”. It allows you to watch, search and download Youtube videos and subscribe your favorite channels without an account, which prevents Google from having your information. It gives you complete ad-free experience. 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, open source and available for GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.


  • Watch videos without ads.
  • Prevent Google from tracking what you watch using cookies or JavaScript.
  • Subscribe to channels without an account.
  • Store subscriptions, history, and saved videos locally.
  • Import / Backup subscriptions.
  • Mini Player.
  • Light / Dark Theme.
  • Free, Open Source.
  • Cross-platform.

Installing FreeTube

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

Extract the downloaded archive:

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

Go to the Freetube folder:

$ cd FreeTube-linux-x64/

Launch Freeube using command:

$ ./FreeTub

This is how FreeTube default interface looks like.


FreeTube currently uses YouTube API to search for videos. And then, It uses Youtube-dl HTTP API to grab the raw video files and play them in a basic HTML5 video player. Since 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 at the end of this guide.



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5 Responses

  1. Nikato Muirhead says:

    This needs to be in AUR

  2. FreeTubeDev says:

    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! 🙂

  3. Jim says:

    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!

  4. fred smith says:

    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?

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