Google has just announced a change in the visibility of YouTube videos. Videos that were uploaded before January 1, 2017, with hidden visibility will be made private unless you take action. Here’s how to see which of your videos are affected by this change.
Google introduced a security enhancement to the way links to hidden YouTube videos work in 2017. It automatically applies to all videos uploaded since then, and now the company intends to apply its improvements to older videos or hide them. Although there are options to keep them as they were.
What happens to hidden YouTube videos?
When uploading a video to YouTube, you have three options to choose its visibility: public, hidden, or private. Public videos are visible to anyone who searches for them or enters your channel; hidden videos do not appear on the channel although they can be accessed through their direct link or if they are embedded in an app or web; private videos are only for your eyes and people you handpick (up to 50 maximum).
The change affects hidden videos uploaded before 2017, which will become hidden as of July 23 unless their creators take action. Google has promoted this change to promote a security measure in the mode on private video links, which makes them harder to find out by someone you haven’t shared the link with. Videos uploaded since 2017 already take advantage of this security change.
The change is optional, although the default setting means that hidden videos become private, so expect that as of July 23 many of them will virtually disappear unless those who uploaded them take action. There are four actions they can take:
- Do nothing: Hidden videos uploaded before 2017 will become private as of July 23, so no one other than the author will be able to see them, besides the people with whom you manually share the video, with a maximum of up to 50 people, each with their Google account. If they are included in a web or application, they will give the error.
- Leave everything as it is: Those who want to keep the videos hidden as they were and with their links that do not take advantage of the security enhancements, can do so by filling out a form. Google recommends this option for those who use hidden videos as public, for example for Google Play promotional videos.
- Make videos public: Another option is to change the privacy settings of these videos for the public. They will then appear in the channel and searches, will be visible to everyone, and will work without problems if embedded in websites or apps.
- Re-upload the video: A somewhat radical option is to re-upload the video again and set it to hidden. In such a case, you will take advantage of the security enhancements, although you will lose all video statistics such as views or comments. In addition, if the video is embedded in applications or websites, the link will need to be updated.
How to see which of your hidden YouTube videos will be private with the YouTube Studio app?
If you have been uploading videos to YouTube for a few years now, this change may mean that some of your videos will become virtually invisible starting next month. If you want to check which of your videos are affected, you can do so via a special link that opens the YouTube Studio website with the precise filtering options including videos hidden before 2017.
With the official YouTube Studio app, you can achieve something similar, with the exception that there is no date filtering at the moment. To see your videos affected by the change, open YouTube studio and in the ☰ panel tap Videos. In the list that appears, tap on Visibility and check the Hidden box to filter the hidden videos in your account.
By default the videos are sorted chronologically, so you will find the oldest ones at the bottom. Videos 4 years old or older should be affected by the change.
To make 100% sure this is the case, tap on the video and you will then be able to see exactly the date it was uploaded, below the title. Also, if you tap on the pencil icon you will see that the visibility settings say Hidden – Without the most recent security update. These videos will become private as of July 23, 2021.
As we mentioned before, you have several options if you want this not to happen: fill in the Google form to leave everything as it was, change the visibility to the public or upload the video again. The last two can be done from the YouTube Studio application itself, and the first one can be completed without problems from the mobile.