Add video thumbnails on YouTube

Video thumbnails let your audience view a quick snapshot of your video. You can choose from the options YouTube automatically generates, or upload your own if your account is verified. Make sure your thumbnail follows our Community Guidelines.

Add automatic or custom thumbnails

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. From the left menu, select Content.
  3. Click the video you’d like to edit.
  4. Select an auto-generated thumbnail or click Upload thumbnail to create a custom video thumbnail from an image on your device.
  5. Click SAVE.
Note: It may take time for your thumbnail changes to appear on YouTube.

Watch how to add a custom video thumbnail

Watch the following video from the YouTube Creators channel if you’d like a tutorial on how to add a custom video thumbnail on YouTube.

How to Add Custom Thumbnails to Your YouTube Videos

Subscribe to the YouTube Creators channel for the latest news, updates, and tips.
Get creator tips for video thumbnails.

Custom thumbnail best practices


Image size & resolution

Your custom thumbnail image should be as large as possible. It will be used as the preview image in the embedded player. We recommend your custom thumbnails:

  • Have a resolution of 1280x720 (with minimum width of 640 pixels).
  • Be uploaded in image formats such as JPG, GIF, or PNG.
  • Remain under 2MB for videos or 10MB for podcasts.
  • Try to use a 16:9 aspect ratio as it's the most used in YouTube players and previews.
  • For podcast playlists, upload a thumbnail with an aspect ratio of 1:1 instead of 16:9 (1280 x 1280 pixels).

Thumbnail policies

All custom thumbnail images must follow our Community Guidelines. Your thumbnails may be rejected and a strike on your account when it contains:
  • Nudity or sexually provocative content
  • Hate Speech
  • Violence
  • Harmful or dangerous content
Repeat offenses may lead to the removal of your custom thumbnail privileges for 30 days or even account termination. Learn more about Community Guidelines strikes.
If a strike is issued, you'll get an email and see an alert in your Channel Settings the next time you sign in to YouTube. You can appeal the strike if you think your thumbnails don’t violate the YouTube Community Guidelines. If your appeal is approved and you haven’t already replaced the thumbnail, we may restore it.

Custom thumbnail limits

There's a limit to how many custom thumbnails a channel can upload each day. If you get an error saying “Daily custom thumbnail limit reached” when trying to upload a thumbnail, try again in 24 hours. 
Limits may vary by country/region or channel history. Copyright strikes may impact channel history eligibility. Community Guidelines strikes will affect how many custom thumbnails you can upload.
Note: You can't upload a custom thumbnail for Shorts like you can with long form videos. You can select a frame from your Short to use as the thumbnail that appears in search results, hashtag and audio pivot pages, and your channel page. Once selected, you can't change the thumbnail after uploading the video.

Why are my custom thumbnails turned off?

YouTube may turn off custom thumbnails for certain search results when they're considered inappropriate for viewers.
All custom thumbnail images must follow our Community Guidelines.

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