(2024) Fixed: Can’t Change YouTube Shorts Thumbnails

Article last updated on:
May 13, 2024
  • You want to change the thumbnail on a Shorts video
  • But you get an error:
  • “For now, you can’t change the thumbnail on your Short”
Highlighting the error saying you can't change a YouTube Shorts video's thumbnail
Nobody likes this message

This guide answers all of your questions.

Related: How to add thumbnails to Shorts.

Why can’t I change thumbnail on Shorts?

There are two main reasons why this doesn’t work:

  1. Simplification: In 2022, YouTube removed the option to upload custom thumbnails through YouTube Studio for desktops.
  2. Mobile users: Currently, you can only select a thumbnail from a few auto-generated options when uploading through YouTube Studio on desktop.

Here’s what YouTube said on X (Twitter):

FIX: How to change thumbnails for YouTube Shorts

To set a custom thumbnail for Shorts, choose a frame during upload on mobile or design a custom one and add it to your video before uploading.

1. Before uploading

A. Use a frame from your Short

  1. Start uploading your Short
  2. Look for a pencil icon next to the auto-generated thumbnail.
  3. Tap that
  4. Choose the frame you want as a thumbnail

B. Edit the thumbnail within your Short

  1. Create a thumbnail
  2. When editing the Short, add it as the last frame
  3. Start uploading the video
  4. Select that frame as your thumbnail

This way, the custom frame you designed becomes the thumbnail when you upload the Short.

2. After uploading

If you’ve already uploaded a Shorts and want to change its thumbnail, it’s too late — sorry. YouTube doesn’t let you change the thumbnail after upload.

Though, they might be working on it — check this out:

No clear sign yet, though we know they’re aware of our needs.

Thank you for reading this,

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.