A few hours ago YouTube sent an e-mail to YouTubers, informing them of a major decision about Unlisted videos. In July, any and all Unlisted videos uploaded prior to January 1, 2017 will be automatically privated.
Unlisted videos are videos which are hidden from search results, but can still be shared in links and playlists. These are distinct from Private videos, which are only visible to the channel owner and owner-approved users. Unlisting a video is preferable to privating in cases such as behind the scenes or alternate take videos. You also have prank videos, legacy courses on educational channels; really, unlisting a video has been the go-to option for when people want to continue hosting their old videos instead of deleting them.
Edit 5 July: This change also applies to pre-2017 unlisted playlists, as pointed out on this page, slightly out of view.
In 2017, YouTube changed how links were generated for Unlisted videos. Next month, they are officially retiring older Unlisted videos by privating them, by default. This means that a lot of links on/off of YouTube will break, after all 2005 to 2017 is 12 whole years! But don’t despair, just yet. If you, as an uploader, have old Unlisted videos on your channel you have a few other options:
- Make your Unlisted videos Public.
- Re-upload your Unlisted videos, and again unlist them so you can share their new links.
- Fill out a form to keep your Unlisted videos Unlisted! Be forewarned that it might take up to 24 hours for YouTube to get back to you.
You have one month, until 23 July 2021 to decide which of these options best suits your needs. Note that you can later unlist your automatically privated videos from the YouTube Studio, even if you don’t opt-out, according to this Support Page. 23 July is, however, the deadline for viewers to mirror or download any pre-2017 Unlisted videos they might have access to.
A copy of YouTube’s e-mail can be found below for your reading pleasure. Be sure to stay tuned to Data Horde for upcoming updates on Unlisted videos and related projects!
Hi [Channel Name],
Your Unlisted videos uploaded before January 1, 2017 will be made Private starting July 23, 2021. To see the videos affected by this change, click here from a computer. For information on how this will affect your channel, keep reading or visit the Help Center.
Why the 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 without you sharing with them. We’re now making changes to older Unlisted videos that were uploaded before this update took place.
What you can do
You have the following options for your legacy videos:
* Do nothing. We’ll set any affected videos to Private starting July 23, 2021. Private videos can only be seen by you and the people you choose. Note that once these videos are made Private starting July 23, any link previously used to embed or share them as Unlisted will no longer work.
* Opt out of this change. Fill out this form by July 23, 2021 to keep your legacy videos in their current Unlisted state. If you treat your Unlisted videos like Public videos (e.g. they’re embedded on third party sites or shared on social media), we recommend you opt out of this change. If you choose to opt out, 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. Alternatively, you can make the video Public to make it publicly accessible. Your video will be visible to anyone using YouTube and will show up in search results, recommended videos and related video lists.
* Reupload 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. However, data associated with the original upload, like views or comments, won’t transfer. Any embedded videos using the old link would also need to be updated to the new video URL. Learn more.
We understand that this change may be challenging, so we’re giving you time to make adjustments to your videos before this change takes effect on July 23, 2021.
The YouTube Team