FAQ: Shorts Thumbnails Can’t Be Changed

Article last updated on:
June 05, 2024

This guide addresses all the issues — and we’re also fixing them for free.

RELATED – How to fix this issue.

Answered: “I can’t change Shorts thumbnails”

YouTube probably doesn’t let you change thumbnails because your account is not verified, or simply because they’re breaking guidelines (content type or copyright).

To address both of these:

1. Reasons why you can’t change them

YouTube error: Unable to add a custom thumbnail until account is verified
  • Not verified: If your YouTube account isn’t verified with a phone number, you cannot upload custom thumbnails. Verification helps prevent abuse and spam.
  • Content type or copyright: In rare cases, specific content types (like live streams) or copyright claims might restrict thumbnail customization.
  • Uploading video on mobile: You can’t *always* use a phone or tablet to add a thumbnail when uploading the video — you 100% can do it on a computer.

Get verified in 2 minutes on the official youtube.com/verify website (it’s free).

2. How to fix & Troubleshooting

If you’ve tried everything, simply restart your computer and reconnect to your internet source. Below is our checklist to make sure you’re on track.

SolutionDescriptionWhen to Try
Verify AccountMake sure your YouTube account is verified with a phone number.This is mandatory for custom thumbnails.
Try Different PlatformsIf you’re facing issues on desktop, try the YouTube Studio app on mobile Sometimes issues are platform-specific.
Clear Cache & CookiesClear your browser cache and cookies (desktop) or app data (mobile).Temporary data can sometimes cause problems.
Report the IssueIf none of the above work, report the issue to YouTube Support.For persistent issues or specific error messages.

For verified accounts, the “Change thumbnail” option should be readily available in YouTube Studio, both on desktop and mobile (except for Shorts, as mentioned earlier).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why can’t I change the thumbnail on my YouTube short?

As of February 2024, you can add/change the thumbnail on a YouTube Shorts video, but only on computers.

Old, outdated articles still say that you can’t change the thumbnail on YT Shorts.

The process is the same as for regular videos: Open YouTube Studio > Content > Find your Short > Click to edit > “Change thumbnail”.

We’re always keeping you up to date with the latest info.

2. Why is my custom thumbnail not working?

Common reasons why you can’t change a custom YouTube thumbnail: Size, Internet Connection, Processing Time, Policy Violations.

A more detailed answer:

  1. Size and Format: Ensure the thumbnail meets platform-specific requirements, like dimensions, file size, and format (often JPG & PNG).
  2. Upload Issues: Sometimes, the upload process might encounter errors. Trying again can sometimes fix it.
  3. Processing Time: After upload, platforms might take a bit to process and display the new thumbnail. Giving it a few minutes might resolve the issue.
  4. Policy Violations: If the thumbnail violates platform guidelines (inappropriate content, copyright issues), it might be rejected.
  5. Technical Glitches: Occasionally, the issue might be on the platform’s end. Checking their support or forums can shed light on ongoing problems.

Read further: Best Practices for YouTube Thumbnails.

If all of these are addressed correctly, your custom thumbnails should work perfectly.

3. YouTube says “For now, you can’t change the thumbnail”

If YouTube is specifically saying “for now, you can’t change the thumbnail”, it could be due to limited access.

Custom thumbnails might be limited in your region or due to the specific settings of your account.


This how-to-fix-guide just addressed everything about YouTube’s errors related to thumbnails.

Hope you found just what you needed!

Thank you for reading this,
Thumbnail Test

About the author

David is the head of the editing team at ThumbnailTest. With his help, the editorial team is able to provide you with the best free guides related to YouTube thumbnails and A/B testing.