It's clear from the response to this post that many people are still having problems using the Video DownloadHelper extension in Firefox on Macs. Since a slightly simpler solution has emerged since it was written, here is a crystal-clear guide that may make it easier for some users.

1. Download ffmpegX into a folder on your Mac:

2. Double click on the DMG file. Right click on the ffmpegX icon and select "Show Package Contents":

3. Find the ffmpegX file by drilling down the "Contents" and "Resources" folders:

4. Drag the ffmpegX file to anywhere on your Mac. I used my user folder "Nick".

5. Open Firefox. Go to your Download Helper preferences by selecting "Tools" in your Firefox Menu bar:

6. In the "Conversion" tab, enter the path where you dragged your ffmegX earlier. In my case "/User/Nick/ffmpegX". When you've entered the correct path the letters will turn black. If the path you've entered is wrong, the letters will remain red and Video DownloadHelper will not work!:

7. You can now download videos in YouTube and other video sites when the Video DownloadHelper icon animates next to your URL bar:

Some people seem to be confused where DownloadHelper downloads videos to but its quite obvious when you click download. DownloadHelper creates a folder called "dwhelper" in your user folder (in my case "/User/Nick/dwhelper") when you first install it. All videos are downloaded into this folder.

Don't worry if the download doesn't start immediately - it can take a few seconds to initiate.

However, I'm unable to get the conversion tool working. Whenever I select the "Download & Convert" option, after I select the format I want to convert to, it just download an empty file. I'm not even sure if this feature will work at all on Macs. I read on one forum that XCode needs to be installed for it to work on Macs although this is tool only available to developers. I'm sure there must be a simpler way than this so if any users have any suggestions, it would be appreciated.


  • Joy |

    You're my hero. Thank you! Thank! Thank you!

  • Toby |

    Once I've got the DownloadHelper preferences window open...how do I close it? There's no red ball or close button or anything that'll let me close it in any tab, and I can't click on the main Firefox window to hide it. I ended up just having to restart Firefox to make it go away - there has to be a solution to this, especially as I'm not sure it's saved my settings!

  • Nick Mead |
    Nick Mead

    @Toby, Unfortunately you can't. It's a bug in the DownloadHelper extension and really annoying. When you restart Firefox though, it should have saved your changes.

  • orlando |

    hello I can't open the ffmpegX(2).dmg file, "the following images failed to mount" reason: not recognized I downloaded it again, same problem, anything else I can do?

  • Sana |

    Hello same problem: ffmpegX(2).dmg isn't recognized by my mac. Is there an alternative way? I'm not familliar with VDH but I would love to finally be able to use it. Thanks.

  • imagineer |

    Thanks Nick, that's fixed it. I got the problem about two weeks ago when updating Firefox. The red writing ffmpeg, no OK button, only way out was to bail. My problem was that the address was /USR instead of /users. The moment I changed that the writing went black and I knew I was home and hosed. Thanks again!

  • Nick Mead |
    Nick Mead

    @imagineer, Glad it helped!

  • Espy |

    If anyone have the problem that the .dmg file can´t be read, then it´s because it´s not complete. The file you are linked to here is only 22mb large. The one you need is 32mb and can be found here: http://www.ffmpegx.com/download.html at their homesite. After that, follow this guide til the end, and you´ll have DownloadHelper working in no time! :)

  • Nick Mead |
    Nick Mead

    @Espy: To clarify - there are now 2 versions of ffmpegx available - one for OS X Lion and one for OS X 10.3-10.6. The ffmpegx review has now been updated and both versions are available to download from it.

  • tref |

    @Toby : esc worked on my mac

  • Dee |

    I got excited when I found this site, hoping to find a solution to the CONVERSION issue. I have never had a problem with Download Helper downloading files, but the inability to convert a .flv file to a .mp4 or .mov

    You mentioned on your earlier site post that you could "convert them later."

    Can you please PLEASE explain how? I want to be able to download my church pastor's live sermons so I can make audio files and hear them again.

    If you can explain how to CONVERT the flvs this would be a GODSEND!

    Thank you!

  • Karin Mes |
    Karin Mes

    It worked on my Mac for a few years, but since a few days I cannot download youtube videos anymore, with each video it says "0 bytes". So I installed video download helper and ffmpegx again, but when I try to click the path in the conversion tap the location where I dragged it doesn't appear, even when I type the name of the location the text stays red. Can you please help.

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