YouTube Thumbnail Removed? → Find Out Why (2024)

Cover photo - YouTube Thumbnail Was Removed
Article last updated on:
June 02, 2024
  • You’ve uploaded a video on YouTube
  • Then its thumbnail got removed
  • And you don’t know why, so you want to find out

Let’s figure out why that happened.

Why did YouTube remove my thumbnail?

Most likely, YouTube removed your video’s thumbnail because it doesn’t meet their Community Guidelines.

  • But don’t worry, you don’t get a Copyright Strike in all situations.
  • That’s just for extreme cases.
Googling why YouTube removed my thumbnail

Causes: YouTube Thumbnail Removal

There are 3 common causes why YouTube Thumbnails get removed: Disobeying community guidelines, misleading information, and copyright issues.

Let’s break down each.

1. Community Guidelines

While your thumbnail might not be a direct violation, it could be considered borderline inappropriate for all audiences — hence why the removal.

Screenshot from the YouTube Community Guidelines
Part of YouTube’s Community Guidelines

In such cases, YouTube might remove the thumbnail and age-restrict your video instead of issuing a copyright claim — but not a strike!

Very relevant: Thumbnails Policy.

Let’s move on.

2. Misleading Content

Thumbnails that exaggerate the content of the video or use shocking imagery to grab attention can be flagged for removal.

YouTube wants thumbnails to accurately represent the video.

3. Copyright

First of all, yes — you can get a copyright strike for thumbnails.

Using images you don’t have rights to can also be a problem.

  • Permission Needed: If you want to use an image that someone else created, you generally need to get their permission, unless the work is in the public domain or covered under fair use.
  • Fair Use: This is a bit tricky. Fair use might allow you to use copyrighted material in some cases, like for commentary, criticism, or parody. But it’s a gray area and often up for interpretation.
  • Consequences: If a copyright owner notices their work in your thumbnail and hasn’t given you permission, they might file a copyright claim with YouTube. This can lead to YouTube removing the thumbnail or taking more severe actions against your video or channel.

To stay safe, use images you own or those where you have 100% permission to use.

How to Find Out the Removal Reason

To understand why your thumbnail was removed, you have 3 options: Check your email, look into the YouTube Studio notifications, or appeal the removal.

Here’s our take on this:

  1. Check your email: YouTube usually sends a notification explaining why they took action. You might need to create a new thumbnail that follows their guidelines.
  2. Check YouTube Studio for notifications: In YouTube Studio, you should have a notification explaining why your thumbnail was removed.
  3. Appeal the Removal (if applicable): Depending on the reason for removal, you might be able to appeal the decision.

Ultimately, make sure you’re up to speed with the Community Guidelines.

  • I know, it might be boring…
  • But we have to re-check the rules before uploading thumbnails again.

FAQ: Why are my YouTube thumbnails gone?

There are a few reasons why your YouTube thumbnails might be missing, and it doesn’t necessarily mean they were removed by YouTube.

  1. Technical Glitch: Sometimes temporary glitches with YouTube or your browser can cause thumbnails not to load properly. This is usually a temporary issue.
  2. Browser Cache: Your browser might be using outdated cached data to display thumbnails. Clearing your cache can often fix this.
  3. Internet Connection: A slow or unstable internet connection can cause thumbnails to appear blank.

In most cases, a hard refresh + a computer restart should solve it.


This guide studied everything about thumbnail removal on YouTube.

Hope you figured out what you wanted to learn!

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.