Add video thumbnails on YouTube

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

Add automatic or customised thumbnails

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. From the left-hand menu, select Content.
  3. Click the video that 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 customised 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 and resolution

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

  • Have a resolution of 1,280 x 720 (with a minimum width of 640 pixels)
  • Be uploaded in image formats such as JPG, GIF or PNG
  • Remain under 2 MB for videos or 10 MB 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 (1,280 x 1,280 pixels).

Thumbnail policies

All customised thumbnail images must follow our Community Guidelines. Your thumbnails may be rejected and a strike placed on your account if it contains:
  • Nudity or sexually provocative content
  • Hate speech
  • Violence
  • Harmful or dangerous content
Repeat offences may lead to the removal of your customised 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 that you sign in to YouTube. You can appeal the strike if you think that 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.

Customised thumbnail limits

There's a limit to how many customised thumbnails a channel can upload each day. If you get an error saying 'Daily customised 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 customised thumbnails you can upload.
Note: You can't upload a customised 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 customised thumbnails turned off?

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

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