How To Change Thumbnail on YouTube: Beginner’s Guide

  • Do you want to know, how to change thumbnails on YouTube?

This article will help you do that with step-by-step instructions and pictures.

Generally, the thumbnail decides the video click-through rate (CTR).

If the thumbnail is good, it directly impacts the number of clicks, views, traffic, and revenue of the channel.

If your channel’s old videos have low-quality thumbnails, then it’s time to change it.

In this detailed article, we will see the following guide:


  • How to Change the Thumbnail on a YouTube video. (Already published video).
  • How to Add Thumbnail to YouTube Video. (While uploading a new video).
  • How to Change the Thumbnail on YouTube from Mobile.
  • How to Change YouTube Shorts Thumbnail

How to change thumbnail on YouTube

How to Change Thumbnail on YouTube Video

Firstly, you must verify your YouTube account to add custom thumbnails to YouTube.

Verify phone number on YouTube channel

If you can’t add custom thumbnails, it means your channel has not yet been verified. So, first, check whether it’s verified.

Not sure how to verify the YouTube account, then read the detailed article below:

Ok, now let’s get into the main topic.

Step 1: Go to YouTube Studio

Log in to your YouTube account and get into YouTube Studio.

YouTube studio dashboard

Otherwise, redirect to YouTube Studio by clicking here.

Initially, we will see how to change the thumbnail on already uploaded YouTube video. So, switch to the Content tab.

From there, you’ll see the list of videos. Click the edit button to redirect to the video where you want to change the thumbnail.

Content Video details edit button page

Step 2: Upload Thumbnail

Scroll down and move on to the “Thumbnail” section. Here, click the “Upload thumbnail” option. For reference, check out the below image.

Select and Upload thumbnail to change thumbnail on YouTube video

When you’re trying to upload a custom thumbnail, the image should satisfy some of the limitations that YouTube recommends.


YouTube Thumbnail Size & Requirements:

  • Size: The size of the thumbnail image should be under 2 MB
  • Format: Image file formats must be any one of PNG, JPG, or GIF
  • Ratio: The ratio of the image could be 16:9
  • Pixels: 640 pixels
  • Resolution: Finally, the image resolution should be 1280 * 720

By default, YouTube suggests the three thumbnail options from the video frames. If you think those are more relevant to the video, you can select those, too.

Add thumbnail to YouTube Video

Generally, the trouble for creators when choosing the thumbnail is which one will work and get us more views.

It’s possible when you analyze your thumbnail with the help of specific AI tools.

Let me explain below how you can find the best thumbnail that will work out for your video.

Thumbnail Performance

First, use your favorite software, such as Canva or any other, to create a combination of at least three thumbnails for one video.

We created three thumbnails for a single video because we will now test and analyze which one best fits your video,making your content more engaging and appealing.

The question here is, how can I analyze and find the best thumbnail out of the three?

Well, the answer is that you need a thumbnail analyzer tool called TubeBuddy. It helps you test and find high-CTR conversion thumbnails.

TubeBuddy Thumbnail Analyzer

Once you install TubeBuddy and click the Thumbnail analyzer button, you can add the list of thumbnails you want to test. Finally, the best one will look like the above image. The higher the percentage, the higher the ranking chance.

After all the analysis, once you’ve uploaded the custom thumbnail, it looks like this (see the image below).

Update custom thumbnail on YouTube video

If you want to change the YouTube custom thumbnail further, click the options menu. Refer to the below image.

Choose option menu to change the thumbnail

And here, select the “Change” option to replace the thumbnail.

Change custom thumbnail on YouTube

The updated custom thumbnail will preview on the video box in the top right corner. That’s enough. The final step is to click the “SAVE” button.

Save the changed thumbnail

Do you want to know how to set the thumbnail while uploading and publishing a new video? We will see it below.


How to Create a YouTube Thumbnail While Uploading a New Video

It works the same way as above to upload a thumbnail on YouTube while uploading a new video.

To do this, you first need to upload a video to YouTube. I hope you don’t have any problems uploading a new video. If not, then read the step-by-step guide article to upload the new YouTube video below:

Once you done that, the dialog will show like this:

Upload Custom Thumbnail while publishing new YouTube Video

All you have to do is click the Upload thumbnail box and select the image from your local computer.

The output of the newly added thumbnail image will overlay on the video. Refer to the below image:

Newly Uploaded Custom thumbnail

As said before, save the video and do the rest of your uploading process as you did.


How to Change Thumbnail on YouTube from Mobile

If you are excited to learn how to change the YouTube thumbnail from the mobile app, then read the instructions below.

Firstly, You need to download and install the YouTube app YouTube Studio on your mobile phone to edit and handle YouTube videos.

YouTube studio app

If you’re a long-time YouTuber, you’ll know about this app. However, if not, then install it.

Once you have installed it, go to the app and select the video you want to change. Here, click the edit button on the video.

Edit thumbnail on YouTube studio app

It will land you in the video’s edit settings. Now, again, click the edit button. Check out the image below.

YouTube studio to edit the thumbnail

Finally, you’ll come to the YouTube custom thumbnail change page. Here, you can upload a new custom thumbnail or change an existing one.

Change custom thumbnail from mobile app

That’s all. It is a straightforward process. Nothing complex.


For now, you can’t change the thumbnail on your Short

Are you getting this message (refer to the below image), when you’re trying to change the thumbnail for your short videos?

For now, you can’t change the thumbnail on your Short

The message “For now, you can’t change the thumbnail on your Short” indicates that YouTube has not released specific custom thumbnail options for YouTube Shorts videos yet.

However, there is a way to change the YouTube Shorts thumbnail. Yes, you can choose to keep your favorite frame from the uploaded video as the thumbnail on YouTube Shorts.

Once you start uploading your short video, you will see the frame section of the video on mobile, like the below image.

Change thumbnail on YouTube Shorts Video

All you need to do is drag and select the frame position that you want to keep as thumbnail and click DONE.

Also, note that this only applies to adding new short videos on mobile devices.


I hope this article guides you through how to change thumbnails on YouTube. Feel free to comment here if you have any doubts or are struck by anything. I will reply to each comment I get.

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3 thoughts on “How To Change Thumbnail on YouTube: Beginner’s Guide”

  1. Hi,

    On my brand channel, when I change the thumbnail for a playlist, the thumbnail on the playlist does change, but the change is not reflected on the playlist on my channel home page.

    I can’t seem to find anything that will remedy the situation, and hope you can point me in the right direction.

    Thanks,
    Gerald Kornbluth

    1. I changed the thumbnail on my video but every time I share it on Facebook it shoes the old thumbnail. Whyyyyyy? It’s so annoying

      1. Hello Dan,

        Are you sharing the new-post on Facebook every-time, when you change the thumbnail on your YouTube video?

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