As the most popular platform for watching videos online and with millions of new videos added each day, YouTube is full of pretty much any topic you can think of. That’s true whether you are uploading videos and creating your own channel or just casually browsing new recipes for dinner.
Among all of the settings available on YouTube that you can change to make your YouTube experience even more enjoyable, Privacy Settings are among the most important. Let’s take a look at all of the available privacy settings you can tweak or implement both as a YouTube creator and as a casual browser.
Manage What You Share on YouTube Desktop
The following list of options is non-specific to whether you are a YouTuber or a casual YouTube user. This is more about what information YouTube can see about your viewing habits, saved playlists, and subscription information than anything else. By gathering this information, YouTube attempts to recommend more videos it thinks you will like thereby keeping you on YouTube.com longer.
Step 1: Find Profile Icon and Click on Settings
The most important step for a casual YouTube video viewer is to start with visiting YouTube.com and clicking on their profile icon in the top-right concern of the page. Clicking on this icon brings up a drop-down menu and toward the bottom of that menu is an option labeled Settings, click on it.
Step 2: Locate Privacy Within the Settings Menu
On the left-hand side of the screen, underneath Settings, you will find Privacy located somewhere in the middle of the option set, click on it.
Manage What You Share on YouTube
Within this option group, there are only a handful of changes that YouTube allows you to make with one very large exception.
Playlists and Subscriptions
- Keep all my saved playlists private: If you enable this option, any playlists that have been created by others will not appear on your channel. Any playlist you have created is considered separate and has individual privacy settings enabled.
- Keep all my subscriptions private: Enabling this setting will keep your subscriptions private so they are not visible to anyone else. There are separate settings that would allow others to see your private subscriptions but this setting is a catch-all to keep it completely private from anyone.
Ads on YouTube
This setting basically indicates that the videos you watch on YouTube help influence the type of ads you see. The other indication it provides is that you can change your settings on My Ad Center which is clickable and takes you to a new window.
My Ad Center
Within this window, on the upper left-hand side of the screen are three options, the bottom of which is Manage Privacy. Click on it and it will show you the ability to update and Control the info used for ads.
- If you want to make things super easy, you can disable “Personalized ads” at the top right of the screen which is a catch-all for disabling personalized ads and will help you win back some of your privacy. If you attempt to change to “No,” Google will give you a few warnings including:
- Your info won’t be used for any personalized ads across any new or existing Google sites or any info from your Google Account won’t be used.
- Ads will seem less relevant because they are not based on products or brands that are of interest to you and your search history.
- These settings will apply across Google including Google.com and not just YouTube.
- Your Google Account Info: You can update your gender, age group, and language, which Google uses to personalize the ads you see. Updating these settings can increase or decrease your level of privacy.
- Categories used to show you ads: Within this option set, you can update the types of categories you are receiving ads for. This includes relationships, education, industry, homeownership, parents, etc. Update these settings to increase or decrease your level of privacy.
- Activity used to personalize ads: As Google is able to look at the entirety of the way you use their services, they are allowing you to disable (or enable) things that help personalize ads on YouTube like your web activity, previous YouTube history, or even where you have used Google services previously. Update these settings to better secure or loosen your privacy.
Manage What You Share on YouTube Mobile
Similar to the steps above, you can make small changes to your privacy settings through mobile, but for the most part, YouTube will redirect you to My Ad Center for broader privacy updates.
Step 1: Go to Your Profile Icon
Starting by pulling up YouTube on your Android or iPhone and tapping on the profile icon in the upper right-hand corner.
Step 2: Tap on Settings
When the drop-down window appears, tap on Settings which is near the bottom of the screen.
Step 3: Tap on History & privacy
Within this settings group, there is really one option applicable to privacy and it’s labeled Ad Settings. Tap on it and you are taken to the My Ad Center website, the same one listed above for YouTube on the desktop.
Tap on Manage Privacy at the bottom of the screen and you can make the very same set of changes and adjustments on this page or tap on Personalized ads and turn them off.
Change Video Privacy Settings Desktop
As a YouTube creator, you have all of the privacy settings above that you can update to help secure your own private usage habits. You also have an entirely different set of video privacy settings that can be utilized to better protect your privacy.
Step 1: Sign in to YouTube Studio
To adjust privacy settings for creators, start by signing in to YouTube Studio at studio.youtube.com.
Step 2: Select Content from Menu
As soon as YouTube Studio opens, look at the left-hand side of the screen underneath your channel name and profile icon. Locate the option for Content and click on it.
Step 3: Update Video Settings
From here, you can now adjust every video that has ever been uploaded with one of three options: Public, Private or Unlisted. As soon as you make the change to one video or many, you’ll click on Save.
However, before you make any changes, it’s important to understand how Public, Private, or Unlisted will impact the visibility of your videos.
- Public Videos: As one might suspect, a public video is one that can be seen by anyone using YouTube and it can be shared with anyone using YouTube. They will show in a subscriber’s feed, can be commented on, and will show up in searches, related videos, and recommendations.
- Private Videos: If you set a video as private, it can only be viewed by you and anyone you choose when you send them a direct link. This video won’t show up in any search results or related videos and will not be visible to anyone looking at your channel.
- Unlisted Videos: Change your video setting to unlisted videos and it’s somewhere in the middle of public and private. They can be shared using the video URL and will be added to a channel section but will not show up in a search result or in a related video section. Anyone who has the link can view the video, regardless of whether they have an existing YouTube account.
Change Video Privacy Settings Mobile
To make the same changes for privacy settings to individual videos on an iPhone or Android device as you would on a desktop, start by opening up the YouTube app.
Step 1: Tap on Library
Once the YouTube app is open, look at the bottom right of the screen and locate the Library button and then tap on it.
Step 2: Your Videos
After opening up your library, look toward the middle of the screen and locate Your videos and then tap on that.
Step 3: Adjust Video Settings
Now look to the right of each video and identify the three dots logo (three dots on top of one another), tap on it and then click on Edit.
Step 4: Visibility Settings
With this window open, again, look at the middle of the screen and tap on Visibility, which takes you to another screen where you can choose between Public, Unlisted, and Private.