This wikiHow teaches you how to change the preview photo used in uploaded YouTube videos. Remember, you'll have to verify your YouTube account at some point if you want to set a customized thumbnail like this. By default, you can only select one of the 3 preset thumbnails. While you can't change the thumbnail for a YouTube video through the YouTube app on a mobile device, you can take advantage of the free YouTube Studio app on Android and iPhone to change the video thumbnail using a mobile device.
Method 1 of 2: On a Desktop Computer
Step 1. Visit YouTube
Run a web browser on your computer and visit https://www.youtube.com/. If you are signed in, the YouTube home page for your account will open.
- If you are not logged in, click SIGN IN in the upper right corner, then type in the email address and password for the YouTube account that you want to use.
Step 2. Click the profile icon
It's a circular icon with a photo (or initials) in the top right corner. A drop-down menu will be displayed.
Step 3. Select YouTube Studio (beta) in the drop-down menu
The YouTube Studio page will open.
- At some point in YouTube's development, it's likely that the option name will change to YouTube Studio without using the word "(beta)".
Step 4. Click Videos
This tab is on the left side of the page.
Step 5. Select the desired video
Click the title or thumbnail of the video for which you want to replace the image. The video editing page will open.
Step 6. Click THUMBNAILS
This tab is at the top of the page.
Step 7. Select SELECT IMAGE FILE
It's in the lower-right corner. A Finder (Mac) or File Explorer (Windows) window will open.
If your YouTube account has not been verified, you can select a preset thumbnail in the " Auto-generated thumbnails " section at the top of the page. After that, you can skip the next two steps
Step 8. Select the desired thumbnail
Open the location where you want to save the image you want to use, then click on the image once to select it.
Step 9. Click Open in the lower right corner
The image will be uploaded and selected.
- On Mac computers, you can click Choose.
Step 10. Click SAVE in the top right corner
Your changes will be saved, and the thumbnail will be applied to your YouTube video.
Method 2 of 2: On Mobile Devices
Step 1. Download the YouTube Studio app
This free app for mobile devices allows you to edit video thumbnails (among other functions). If you have YouTube Studio installed, skip this step. If not, install the app by doing the following:
iPhone - Run App Store
on iPhone, touch Search, touch search field, type youtube studio, touch Search, touch GET located to the right of YouTube Studio, then enter your Touch ID or Apple ID password when prompted.
Android - Run Play Store
on Android device, touch search field, type youtube studio, touch YouTube Studio in the search results drop-down list, then touch INSTALL in the top right corner.
Step 2. Launch YouTube Studio
Touch OPEN in the Google Play Store or App Store, or tap the red and white YouTube Studio app on your smartphone's home screen (or App Drawer if you're on Android).
The app icon is a red gear with a white triangle in the middle or a "play" button
Step 3. Tap GET STARTED at the bottom of the screen
If you've used YouTube Studio before, skip this step and the next
Step 4. Sign in to your YouTube account
When prompted, touch SIGN IN in the center of the screen, then select the account you want to use.
- If the account you want to use doesn't exist, touch Add account, then type in your account email address and password before you continue.
Step 5. Touch
It's in the top-left corner. A pop-out menu will be displayed.
Step 6. Tap Videos in the pop-out menu
A list of videos that you have uploaded will be displayed.
Step 7. Select the video
Touch the video for which you want to change the thumbnail.
Step 8. Touch the "Edit" icon
It's a pencil-shaped icon at the top of the screen.
Step 9. Touch Edit thumbnail
This link is above the current thumbnail at the top of the screen.
Step 10. Touch Custom Thumbnails
This option is above the current thumbnail in the lower-left side of the screen.
- If you are prompted to allow YouTube Studio to access the Photos app, touch OK or ALLOW when prompted before you continue.
- If your YouTube account has not been verified, this option will not appear. Once verified, tap one of the pre-selected thumbnails at the bottom of the screen to change the video thumbnail, then skip the next step.
Step 11. Select the photo
Find the photo you want to use as a video thumbnail, then tap the photo once to upload it.
Step 12. Touch SELECT which is in the top right corner
The selected thumbnail will be added to the Edit video page.
Step 13. Touch SAVE which is in the top right corner
The changes you make will be saved, and the thumbnail will be applied to your video.
If you want the best results, the customized thumbnail should have a size of 1280 x 720 pixels
- The new thumbnail may take up to 24 hours for some visitors to see.