(2024) Fixed: YouTube Thumbnail Has Black Bars

Article last updated on:
April 17, 2024
  • You’ve uploaded a YouTube video;
  • With a custom thumbnail (or auto-generated);
  • But for whatever the reason, there’s black bars in the image.

This guide tells you exactly how to fix that.

Fix: How to Get Rid Of Black Borders on Thumbnails

To remove black borders, crop your thumbnail to 16:9 aspect ratio in PNG format — or create a new 1920×1080 PNG image to avoid YouTube’s resizing.

Highlighting how to use the Crop tool in Photoshop to cut a YouTube thumbnail's black bars
  1. Open the Image in an Editing Tool: Use an image editing software like Photoshop, GIMP, or an online tool like Canva or Pixlr.
  2. Select the Crop Tool: Most image editors have a crop tool.
  3. Set the Aspect Ratio: Choose 16:9 — it’s the best format for thumbnails.
  4. Adjust the Crop Area: Cut out the black borders from your image.
  5. Apply & Save: Download your new image.

Why is YouTube Adding Black Bars to Thumbnails?

YouTube adds black bars to thumbnails to fit them into the standard 16:9 aspect ratio if they are uploaded in non-standard sizes.

1. Wrong Aspect Ratio

  • YouTube thumbnails are meant to be in 16:9 aspect ratio, which is the same as most widescreen videos.
  • If your thumbnail is a different size, like a square (1:1) or even a close-up from a 4:3 video, YouTube will add black bars to fit it into the 16:9 space.

2. JPEG Compression

YouTube’s compression can sometimes cause black bars to appear when uploading JPEG thumbnails.

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.