Download ANY file from ANY site using Safari.

Safari’s hidden secret

Listen up Mac users. You may already know this, but I didn’t until the other day, and it really comes in handy. Safari has a little tool called the Activity Window, which can be accessed by going to going to “Window > Activity” (shortcut: alt + apple + a). In here you can see every file that the website you are viewing is calling upon. The brilliant thing is that by double clicking any one of these files, it will download straight to your desktop.

Where is the activity window

Considering you would most likely want to download a file containing video or audio, look in the column on the right to see its size. By process of elimination you will see that the biggest file will be the one you want.

The activity window

So if you happened to be on YouTube, you could download any video you wanted. Similarly, if you were on MySpace, and had no respect for copyright law, you could download anything you wanted.

This, if you didn’t know it already, could save a lot of people a lot of time (and money).

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  • Whoa! Good to know.. never knew that existed.. but then again, I use FFox on the mac…
    thanks for the tip though!

  • elmimmo

    No QuickTime files, though. Apparently, the plug-in hides info to the browser…

  • Mam
  • Big Joe

    Big deal. This is older than dirt news.

    Also, you didn’t write what to do with the file once it’s downloaded. You can’t just double click and watch it. Doesn’t work that way.

  • Penter

    That’s really handy and helpful!! Cheers!

  • JeffMills

    “…and had no respect for copywrite law, you could download anything you wanted.”

    Just so you know … you already downloaded it in the first place. All you have to do is move/copy it to another directory. I don’t see any copyright issues there.

  • MarFan

    FF has “Page Info” under the tools menu that does the same thing. Thanks for the Safari hint!

  • Double clicking didn’t work for me, but holding down the option key, then double clicking, DID work.

    Out of curiosity. Once you have a YouTube vid on your desktop, what program do you use to watch it?

    The Splintered Mind – Overcoming Neurological Disabilities With Lots Of Humor And Attitude

  • Nice screenshots :>

  • You can do this in Firefox too without any extension, just right click the page and go to View Page Info, then click the Media tab and select an element, finally hit the Save As button and voilà!

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  • stephen

    files from youtube can be dropped onto the iSquint window and converted to mp4 or other formats. iSquint is a free app. Go to their website to read about it. You can also buy professional versions. Works quite well!

  • Great tip. I have used it quite a few times.
    I actually helps download some file that some websites think that they have hidden…

  • in firefox:

    this is old, who cares

  • I wouldn’t exactly say “ANY” file.. PHP is still processed server-side. ;-P

  • Actually, with the right plug-in for quicktime (Perian from, you can just double click a .flv file (flash video, a.k.a. the format youtube uses) or any of quite a few other file types.

  • I had trouble downloading a song from peoples myspace pages.

  • mc

    Big Joe is a real bitch.

  • Chris

    Yo, nice article, but– it’s not “alt-apple,” it’s option-command. The “alt” label is provided for Windows compatibility, and the Apple logo is a holdover from the old Apple II. In the Mac world, these keys are called “option” and “command” respectively. Welcome to Macintosh!

  • I was just looking for a solution like this over the weekend, but ran into a bit of a snag, perhaps someone here can help…

    I’m trying to grab the FLV of an NBC video and I can’t quite figure out where the heck it’s being served from. I found a SMIL file in the network requests:

    That SMIL has these FLV file references:

    But any URL combo I use doesn’t see to result in the FLV, for example you would think this would work:

    But no such luck. Any ideas?

    I’ve looked around online and read some things about RTMP protocol and not being able to rip FLV’s served that way. Know anything about that?

    Source page of video for reference:

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  • Can u suggest similar thing for IE.

  • Corralejo Casique

    Then,you need to dowload the free media player Wimpy FLV Player,is free, and welcome new videos.”VIVA CORRALEJO DURANGO”

    by Oscar Lopez(gordito)

  • double clicking it, will make it open in a new window if it’s something safari will understang, like graphics etc.

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  • useful tip …
    thanks for sharing …

  • IanTheTall

    How funny that I would find something so useful, while looking for information about someone who has the same stage name as your actual name.

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  • That’s awesome that this is built in.

  • Mitch

    Nice tip, but it does not seem to work for .swf (Flash) files. Double-clicking on a .swf file only creates a new window for the Flash file to play in.

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  • Joe

    Didn’t work for Myspace music.

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  • medications


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  • Ramzi

    Useless, You just play the downloaded files again, once you close the site you loose the files!!

  • wohoo

    Thanx alot mate now i`m going to save both seasons of Prison Break FLV files, much better than frigging torrents.

  • Brian

    Option (Alt) double click works for Quicktime files.
    You can view most file types with VCL at the following

  • Does anyone know any way to do this in IE?

  • x141, I don’t use IE, I’m not sure if anyy one here does, hopefully they can help you 😉

    One recommendation, though – Firefox?

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  • Klimtone

    For those who had trouble copying from Myspace remember that one has to double-click the “large file” (in the activity window) while it is loading, and then when the loading has just begun, One will then see another window appear. After seeing that the file has loaded, save as “song name.mp3”. Double click on that file and it loads into iTunes.

    This is usually a crappy mp3 file though. An AIFF or AAC is superior.

    I hope this helps.

  • Thats good information, thanks

  • Dinks

    Firebug to firefox !!

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  • Cool!

  • chic

    thanks for all!
    I was looking for something to rip myspace music

  • gastroboy

    You forgot to say that it will turn up on your desktop with no extension. You will need to add .flv if it is a flash file and then get Perian to be able to play it in QuickTime.

  • gastroboy

    btw If you can’t tell which file is the movie it is usually the largest and yes you do need to hold down the option key whilst you double click on the file name.

    Keep in mind that it will be DLing for a second time.

    ie it takes twice the DL to get the file. Once in Safari then again for this DL.

  • Johnny B

    I am trying to save an MSN Concert – Crowded House to be exact. They just placed it on their site – I was at the show. Any suggestions?

  • Download any file from any url with

  • KDY

    Extremely helpful information.
    Thank you for sharing!

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  • francisco

    hey, now when i download a video from youtuve using that active thing… how do i open that file cuz i cant, someone tell me, it doesnt have an .exe thing… help

  • I’ve tried using all the techniques mentioned but I’m still having no luck downloading. The one I found to be the easiest was the option click technique but the results were a text file instead of video. Please help.



  • michael thomas

    i am trying to get this video from this link and i have tried everyway i can think of and nothing is working

  • Thanks! Great tip! Even though it’s old hat to some, it was still new to me. The other comments that pointed me to were also great, now I can ditch flvThing, and just use Quicktime Player.

    Thanks, all!

  • Astralis

    Impossible to work with the RMTP protocol. Don’t waste your time.

  • donkyk

    All you have to do for quiktime files is drag the like in your downloads window. To open down loads window – Window>downloads

  • Erik

    Anybody know if obtaining music from Pandora is possible? I’m not sure what the method is.


  • JT

    By the way, for anyone having problems with this method on YouTube videos, an alternative is

    It can convert FLV and SWF to AVI, MPEG4 or MP3 audio, and process YouTube videos without you having to find the .flv file.

    Very useful.

  • @Erik: I think there used to be a firefox addon (or maybe still is) that could download directly from Pandora, although I’m not aware of any definite methods enabling downloads from Pandora.

  • This is an excellent find. Thanks for the help.

  • sdsd

    now want to try

  • Chris L

    Awesome, this is a great tip and certainly new to me and I’m sure many others too! Thanks a million

  • Jones

    this is great, thanks a lotttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt

  • david

    doesnt seem to work w/ downloading myspace songs .. using firefox or safari
    did they change security or something??

    followed instructions in comment #44.. but “save as” is ghosted

  • My space freind id=197312674

    how old is this, doesnt seem to work on mine
    i think il just stick to WwW,file2hd,c0m
    fix it when you put it into your url

  • Hey, Hey, now that’s handy. Thanks so much for the tip. It helped me download audio discussion of David Allen with his team of the new Getting Starting Module from GTD Connect site.


    Ps. Way-cool screenshots!

  • Plastonick

    To anyone wondering:

    To veiw the video, simply put it in your movies folder and open up Front Row.


  • Plastonick


    Obviously you will have to navigate to that folder from Front Row 😉


  • Nykki

    I have been trying to save a video from the internet. Now I have tired a few suggestions from here, but nothing works. I used the Safari method, but I have Safari on a PC not Mac. Assuming you MUST have a Mac. I looked at the file2 dot com site. Nada. Any suggestions for a PC user?

  • MDC

    it works for me on safari but on firefox i cannot find the video file. How do i do it?

  • kiko

    nice soft ware

  • SamThor

    How did I miss that? Simple, efficient… Thanks for the tip.

    For those who use FireFox, I just found an extension on Mozilla Addons that does a cool job: it’s called outwit (see It downloads files and images automatically, you can grab all sorts of data and media very easily. In Google Images, for example it finds the HiRes pictures. Worth trying.

    Hope this helps.

  • k06a

    Respect!))) Enough helpful))

  • I just found out that Safari user under PC should use Ctrl+DoubleClick on the file they want to download.

    Hope this will help.

    P.S: Question for the admin –> about the screenshots, do you use any software (if so, may I know the software) or just edited from ordinary screenshot? Thx.

  • G

    Hi there Thurana,

    The screenshots were taken using Grab on OS X, and then edited and aligned using Adobe Illustrator.

    We use a consistent in house template to create the indented design that you see on all liquidicity posts.

    Thanks 😉

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  • Interesting for SAFARI users. As I’m a Firefox user, I use OutWit Hub, a new and powerful Web collection engine. It helps you download files (pictures, avi video, documents), data table, etc in very few cicks. very simple to use and to grab tons of your favorite pictures.
    Hope you will enjoy it

  • I’ll love to watch live tv online thanks

  • Mo0m0oSaZn

    It didn’t work. All it does is open the page a new browser.

  • Nigel Brock

    Copy-write does not usually relate to personal use (UK). Only if you intend to deprive the artist of his just reward. Graphics on the web has usually already been paid for unlike music piracy.

  • G

    Nigel, downloading something for your own use (such as a music video uploaded to YouTube without the artist’s permission) can still be in breach of copyright laws (even in the UK).

    It is highly likely that no one will ever find out about downloading some files from the web without the copyright owner’s permission, but we don’t endorse it.

    I always think to myself online – “Does this artist deserve my support?” Being a content producer myself I suppose I have learned to appreciate how much effort some people put in to some of the stuff they distribute online.

  • thakyou ty

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  • WestIron

    For Swf file, press command+option+a, then copy the link to Safari’s address box, press return, after it can be played, you then press command+shift+s to save as the swf which you need. Next time if you wanna play the swf file again, just drag it to your Safari.

  • Nice one Westiron, I didn’t know that trick. Nice find.

  • Thankyou

  • mike

    how would you download a particular video such as using live paint and live trace in the illustrator section from here:

  • mike

    outwit hub crashes firefox when you try to download video from the adobe site.

  • Bammer

    Dude…. Ive been trying to do this and I cant ever get it to work. It always says FORBIDDEN 403.
    Any suggestions?


  • saket

    i am unable to download video file in .swf format one with u r procedure

    when ever double click the .swf file it opens the same link in another page

    i am unable download it help

  • drunkfinger

    I’ve tried using all the techniques mentioned but I’m still having no luck downloading. I’ve tried the option click technique as well but the results were a text file instead of video. Could you help me please? http://www.file2hd is out of order I believe.
    thanx folks!

  • Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. You are a complete and utter legend. I was just about to spend who knows how much BUT I read your post and downloaded a big FLV without problems. Cheers.

  • It only opened it on my computer it never downloaded anything



  • OK after a few people complaining here and there I think a few things have changed since the publishing of this post.

    Safari 4 (and later versions of Safari 3) have almost certainly adapted the Activity Window to make it more difficult to download files simply by double clicking. I am not sure it is impossible now, but it is definitely not always as easy as it was when this post was written.

    Also, this does not work on every site – sites like Pandora are obviously paranoid about people like us (and you) downloading the music that they stream for free and don’t want to lose any trust that they may have been lucky enough to gain with the record labels. Don’t be surprised if sites like Pandora are going out of their way to make it near impossible for anything to be downloaded, and for download-able files to be of a playable format once on your computer.

    I hope you understand, but just remember – where there’s a will there’s a way. Keep searching! Peace.

  • anda

    pleaaaaaaasee heeeeeelp….so…i download something from safari in my ipod….and when the download end she said: ” you’re file is in the download folder….well i don’t know where is the download folder in my ipod touch…please help! please please please i’m desperead!!!!!!!!! thanks

  • solo

    worked for me bro on windows safari 4.0. Thanks I was looking for a plugin to do this

  • MiiSan

    It dosen’t work on imeem T_T

    When I click on the flv file it shows me “404 not found”

    Thanks anyway ^^

  • Theo

    You might have to hold down the alt and cmd key then double click, thats what worked for me

  • lewis

    Thanks thanks! works great in safari 4.0.3! Thanks again!

  • thisis9

    Question: I can not detect any of those flash video files when they’re streamed/played with JW Flash Player in a website in Safari. Because of that, I can not download them. With files played by Adobe Flash Player, you can detect this video files easily (monitoring Activity window in Safari) and just grab them. Solution, any one? Thanks.

  • i want to download this software

  • Frankie

    To you having trouble downloading things (small files or youtube-concerts): try Realplayer. In IE it installs it self as a plugin giving u the opportunity to save. After that u can convert it to the most used media types ie. mp3.

  • vickie MS

    my god…i have been having absolutely NO LUCK whatsoever…i really would like to save this vid to show my friend – and i have no idea how to do so…this is the link where the vid is at. (no, my Activity doesnt work either…i cant even find the vid on the list – which is what i always do with youtube vids)

    yes..i know the vid is silly – but if someone could help with the saving/downloading bit – i”d be very grateful!
    and happy new year!

  • Johan Nissen

    If you are using safari on windows hold Alt Gr while double clicking this started the download fore me.

  • jerome

    i tried downloading a video from the and when i double clicked the mp4 file that was loading it brought up a new window that was loading nothng but endless text/scrpt, any ideas on this sure would be appreciated.

  • alexioualexios

    on Safari 4.0.5

    works with cmd + alt + double click…

    NOT just a double click or cmd+double click…

    try it in hidden file at if you want it…

    thanks a lot…
    Bye bye…

  • hmamn4

    ok does anyone know how to do this on the latest Safari version 5.0.1 … need help lol … i know you can click it using option double click but nothing shows up on my activity with enough megs to be a song. help is appreciated.

  • Leticia

    I’ve always known about this and used it many times, but one website in particular that I wanted to download videos from (which I have done successfully through this method in the past) now seems to offer some kind of protection because the video is impossible to download. It’s easily identifiable in the activities list, but it has no extension. An advertisement plays before it and I can download that (which is an .mp4 file), but the actual video won’t download or open in a separate safari window. When you double click it, even when holding the option button or opt+cmd as was suggested, it opens up the safari downloads list but then says “no permissions to read file” and fails. When you try to open the video in another safari window it’ll give you a page with the quicktime logo and a question mark. Also, the file name goes something like this:
    http://flashvideo.whatever bla bla bla .mp4? and then a bunch of numbers after the question mark, and it seems, when trying to download, that it only reads up to the .mp4, ignoring the video id after the question mark. Finally, I tried (with the direct link to the video) and (with a link to the page) and both say there are no video files to be found.

    Any ideas on how I could find a way to download the video? I can see that they obviously don’t want it downloaded, but it’s footage from a local news station and I’m in it!!! So I really wanted to have it.

    I appreciate any ideas. Thanks!

  • lily


    like ALEXIOUALEXIOS said,

    works with cmd + alt + double click…

    its downloading. im using safari 5 as welll

    thanks ALEXIOUALEXIOS =)

  • Hi, I was using “Download helper” A Fire fox add on but after updating it to a newer version, it won’t let me stream myspace MP3s any more.. Now it asks me to install additional software and then fire fox freezes.. But That worked for me for the longest time.

    with File2HD I can’t figure it out. I enter the link to the myspace, and then 4 files come up like this: – Bright Orange Air.mp3 Premium download – In Which I, Robert.mp3 Premium download – Pictures of Trees.mp3 Premium download – Your Good Arm.mp3 Premium download

    BUT all of those are not appearing as links where I can right click them and then push save as or download. They are all just regular typing and when I push premium download it directs me to signing up for an account and then asks me for a special code that I do not have. I am realllllly trying to figure this out so I can get downloads from my space music. Any help is greatly appreciated! thanks so much.


  • also when I push the premium download it says File saved to your premium account but I can not get to that.. and When I look for the Biggest file size or .mp3 in the activity window I can not find it.. All of the files that are showing up are just in KB or bytes and there is nothing in MB like mp3 files are supposed to be..

  • Michelle

    I tried it, but when I double-click on the biggest file, it safari opens a new tab with all text. Nothing gets downloaded.. What am I doing wrong??
    It’s the video: it’s dutch.

  • Thank you so much! I have been going crazy and you just solved my problem. I really appreciate it.

  • Hi.

    I need some help here.

    What happen is, it actually download the html file instead.
    Could you help?

    I am using macbook pro, the latest version.

    Thanks alot.

  • Shylock

    What about iPhone 4

  • Harry

    I don’t know if you guys knew this, but once you download the video, it will be in FLV format. If you open it in Quicktime, then click on Share > iTunes > iPod + iPhone it will export and convert the video into m4a and it will open in the Movies section of your iTunes

  • ricque

    this is handy for media that is meant to be downloaded, but does not work as you state for embedded files, for example you go onto a site that gives you a sample of a song before you buy the entire song, or a film clip which is only meant to be watched on the site you are using at that time, i am under the impression that is what an embedded file is, i can only use this method when the site offers me the source link to the media I am after, I once saw a guy download embedded files onto his browser direct from a page ??? any way i am wasting some serious time trying to figure this out, is there a chance safari is not the most versatile browser for ripping embedded stuff? or can safari do exactly what fire fox does (i hope so because fire fox annoys me for some reason, I think it’s the name!)

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  • matt

    This didnt work for me, and Ive now gone to every website that I could telling me how to download these mp3 files. I know there has to be an easy way to do it on a Mac but so far everything Ive read including this site doesnt work

    THis is already an mp3 file so why cant i just download it easily? (I dont want to install any 3rd party software; isnt there something like the youtube mp3 downloader sites?

  • mike

    how can i download mp3s this way, i see them on the activity page but when i click on it, it just opens a seperate window

  • Carol

    Matt, just on your comment right click the link and click on “save as..” Hope it works

    I’m having problems with a MySpace video, any idea of how I can download it? I have firefox, chrome and safari


  • Brandon

    It is downloading the html file because you haven’t selected the swf file from the drop-down menu to the left of the address. There is an arrow. After clicking on the arrow it will come up with the individual items and you can then download the swf file.
    Hope this helps

  • Jon B.

    Um, no “activity” window on Safari 6, but shows up with command+option=a, however then does not appear to be discernable files, but complicated stuff my sadly computer illiterate brain can’t groc.

  • keyboardes

    ou may use Avdshare Video Downloader to Directly convert the
    downloaded NBC videos to MP4, FLV, WMV, ASF, MOV, AVI, etc to match with any
    device you are carrying, such as iPhone, Samsung, Nokia, PSP, iPad, HTC, etc