Image Credit: YouTube

Due to a security update rolled out in 2017, Unlisted YouTube videos uploaded prior to this date will be automatically set to Private soon.

YouTube announce changes coming to Unlisted links. All YouTube users can decide to list their video as Unlisted during upload or at any point after the video goes live. Unlisted hides the video from places such as search results, the home page, recommendations, subscription boxes and other places. As the video is only available to those with a link, it’s a great way to share a video with a friend or select group of people. In 2017, YouTube rolled out a security update to the system that generates new YouTube Unlisted links, making them harder to discover by those you haven’t shared the link with. The latest announcement from YouTube says that Unlisted videos uploaded before January 1st 2017, when the security enhancements came, will be automatically set to Private starting on July 23 2021.

Private videos are only available to the uploader and up to 50 invitees they choose on a user-by-user basis. The update means any links for example shared on social media or embeds on third-party website will no longer work. Users with videos impacted by this change will be notified directly and can take action to opt-out of the security update to keep their videos Unlisted here. Opting-out will mean older links and embeds will continue to work, but you won’t benefit from the security update. To keep older videos Unlisted and benefit from the update, users must reupload their videos, however the link and embed code will change, plus stats such as watch time, views and comments will be lost.

You can easily find all of your videos affected in YouTube Studio here. From here you can download older videos or apply changes with just a few clicks. YouTube list the changes creators must take before July 23:

  • Do nothing. We’ll set any Unlisted videos uploaded before 2017 to “Private” starting July 23. As a reminder, Private videos can only be seen by you and the people you choose. 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 Unlisted videos uploaded before 2017 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 existing links will continue working as they do today, but they won’t get the benefit of the security update. 
  • Make your Unlisted video public. You can make your Unlisted videos uploaded before 2017 “Public”, and they will be visible to anyone using YouTube.
  • Reupload as a new Unlisted video. You can also reupload these older videos as Unlisted under the new system to benefit from the security update. 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.

YouTube hopes by giving creators a month warning and only affecting videos uploaded prior to 2017, this should cause less disruption. Needless to say, this change will be an annoyance to many users.