I’ve been uploading video content to YouTube for quite a while and want to download some of my own videos to my new computer. Ideally, with thumbnails. How can I do that either from YouTube or the YouTube Creator Studio?
YouTube is definitely designed to have you watch videos on the site. One imagines that they only added embed options and external sharing options under duress; why can’t we all just hang out on YouTube and watch everything there so we maximize the adverts we see? Anyway, without going too far into trying to decipher the company’s strategies, suffice to say that it’s easier to upload video and watch video than it is to download it. But you can download videos, particularly your own.
Shortcuts: YouTube Player | Creator Studio | Download Thumbnails
You can also often download videos from other creators, depending on their settings. Many disable downloads so the “Download” button is hidden, but plenty also are fine with you saving copies to study or watch later. These are most typically in low resolution (480p versus 1080p or even 4K) but those can work fine. Your own videos are downloaded in 720p, which is interesting if you uploaded them in a higher resolution (I upload my own in 4K).
DOWNLOADING VIDEOS FROM THE YOUTUBE PLAYER
Do a search on YouTube and your search results will typically include info like this:
From this point, you can click to view, and sometimes you can hover your cursor over the thumbnail image for a quick preview sequence, but you can’t download. Click through to a video and this is what you’ll probably see just below the actual video frame:
Because this is my own video – a review of the Mujjo iPhone 15 Pro cases – it adds the two blue buttons Analytics and Edit video. Since I allow downloads when I publish my video reviews, it adds the “Download” button. Keep an eye out, you’ll find that a fair number of videos will include this option.
Click on the “Download” button and you’ll find that it’s going to be that lower resolution option unless you pay $$ for YouTube Premium which includes the higher res alternative:
If you want to pay to be able to download higher resolution, that’s great, but remember this is only for other people’s videos since you can already download your own videos in 720p. Just not from this convenient button.
YOUTUBE CREATOR STUDIO
Since you’re a YouTuber, you already have access to Creator Studio at studio.youtube.com. Go there and you’ll find a handy list of all your published videos:
Surprisingly, you don’t actually have to go any further to download the video itself. Move your cursor over any of the thumbnails and a tiny “•••” link appears superimposed. Click on it and a menu appears:
Choose “Download” from this menu and you’ve just downloaded a 720p version of your original video, regardless of how long ago you uploaded it to YouTube.
HOW TO DOWNLOAD YOUR THUMBNAIL
That’s half the challenge. What about the thumbnail image? That’s a little bit thicker to accomplish; you’ll need to choose “Edit” and go into the individual video page in Creator Studio:
This is pretty information-dense, but it’s down in the Thumbnail area that our attention needs to move. Again, move your cursor over the thumbnail and, again, a “•••” link materializes:
Click on it and, surprise! Another menu appears. This one’s quite a bit more succinct:
It’s a bit of a misnomer, but click on “Download” and a new window will open in your browser with the thumbnail at full (1920 x 1080) size. Now you can right-click (or Mac users, use Control-click) to bring up yet another context menu:
I’ll select “Save Image As…” and be aware your browser might phrase this specific option slightly differently, but it’s the same thing. Give it a mnemonic name, pay attention to what folder it’s destined for, and you’ve just learned how to save both your video from YouTube and your thumbnail too!
Pro Tip: As a YouTuber – AskDaveTaylor – I have learned quite a bit about how to work with and get the most out of YouTube. Please do check out my other YouTube help tutorials for more ideas for viewers and video creators. Thanks!