Older unlisted content

Starting July 23, 2021, older Unlisted videos were made Private unless you opted out from this change. This was part of a security update to Unlisted videos uploaded before January 1, 2017. Unlisted content uploaded on or after January 1, 2017 was unaffected by this change.

 

As a reminder, Unlisted videos and playlists can be seen and shared by anyone with the link. Unlisted videos won’t appear to others who visit the "Videos" tab of your channel page and shouldn't show up in YouTube's search results unless someone adds an Unlisted video to a Public playlist. However, they are not Private. 

Why we made this change

In 2017, we rolled out an update to the system that generates new YouTube Unlisted links, which included security enhancements that make the links for your Unlisted videos even harder for someone to discover if you haven’t shared the link with them. 

Note: Some older Unlisted playlists were also created in the old system. All of the options below to manage this change also apply to playlists:

  • Keep this content Private
  • Create the playlist again to keep it more secure
  • Make the content Public

What does this mean for my videos?

Unlisted videos that you uploaded before January 1, 2017 were automatically made Private. If you want your video to be Private, there’s nothing you need to do. Private videos won’t show in Public search results and viewers won’t see them in the “Videos” tab on your channel homepage.

Private videos and Unlisted videos have some differences, for example:

  • Viewers who had a link to your video can no longer watch or share it.
  • If you embedded the video in a website or app, it no longer works.
  • Private videos can only be shared with up to 50 email addresses.
  • Anyone you share the video with must have a YouTube or Google account. Learn more about sharing a Private video.
  • Comments posted while the video was Unlisted are not available if the video is Private. These comments are not deleted. If you want to allow comments on the video, you’ll need to make the video Public.

What can I do?

  • Do nothing and keep the video or playlist Private: Private videos are only seen by you and viewers you choose. Keep in mind, though—if you embedded the video in a website or app, it no longer works.
  • Keep your video Unlisted with the same URL: You can switch your video back to legacy Unlisted. Your legacy links will continue working as they do today but they won’t get the benefit of this security update.
  • Make your Unlisted video Public: Your video will be visible to anyone using YouTube.
  • Re-upload the Unlisted video as a new Unlisted video: If you want to keep your videos Unlisted and benefit from this security update, you’ll need to download them and re-upload them as Unlisted under the new system. Note that data associated with the original upload, such as views or comments, won’t be attached to the new upload. If you’ve embedded the video on a website or app, you’ll have to update the video URL or reference to link to the new video.

Make your video public

You can change the privacy settings for your video and make it Public.

Once you switch your Private video to Public:

  • Viewers with whom you shared the link to your Unlisted video in the past, will continue to be able to see it. Note that your video is now available to anyone using YouTube.
  • A Public video is posted on your channel, may show up in Public search results and recommendations.
  • Your video will keep all the data associated with it, such as views or comments.
  • If it’s the first time you are making this content Public, there will be notifications for your subscribers and these videos will appear in the subscriptions feed where subscribers see recently uploaded videos from the channels they follow.

Upload the video again as a new unlisted video

If you upload the video again as Unlisted, it will get the benefit of this security update.

Important notes about re-uploading videos:

  • The new video you upload to YouTube will get a new URL.
  • You’ll need to share the video again.
  • Data associated with the original upload such as watch time, views, and comments will be in your reports but won’t be attached to the new upload.
  • If you’ve embedded the video in a website or app, you must update the video URL or reference.

If you no longer have a copy of the video, you may download it from Creator Studio. Downloads can happen as an MP4 in either 360p or 720p, depending on what you uploaded. Or, a higher-quality version of the file may be available at Google Takeout. Note that Google Takeout will download all the videos that you’ve ever uploaded, but not individual videos. For both Creator Studio and Takeout, videos with a copyright claim aren’t available to download. Learn more here.

Keep your video unlisted with the same URL

You can switch your video back to Unlisted. Your legacy links will continue working as they do today but they won’t get the benefit of this security update. We only recommend this option if you treat your Unlisted video like Public content. For example, if it's embedded on third-party sites or shared on social media.

  • Viewers with whom you had shared the link to your Unlisted video in the past, will continue to be able to see it.
  • If you embedded the video in a website or app, it will continue to play as usual.
  • Your video will keep all the data associated with it, such as views or comments.
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