What Does Unlisted Mean On YouTube?

If you’ve spent some time creating content on YouTube, you may have heard the term “Unlisted.” In some instances, this can be a useful feature, but what does unlisted mean on YouTube, and when does it make sense to use it?

When a YouTube video’s visibility setting is changed to “unlisted,” it’s no longer available to public users. To have access to the video, a user must have its link. Unlisted videos are less secure than private videos, which are inaccessible unless a user has special permission to view them.

Let’s look at what unlisted videos mean and how you can change your video’s visibility.

What Does It Mean To Have An Unlisted YouTube Video?

An unlisted YouTube video is effectively hidden from YouTube’s homepage, search engine result pages (SERPs), recommendations, and a user’s channel. Unfortunately, that means the public can no longer see these videos when idly scrolling on YouTube’s platform.

Users will typically change the visibility settings of their videos to “unlisted” when they only want certain people to see the video. Therefore, the video won’t be available to all users and will only be seen by those who have the link to that video.

Unlisted videos can be considered the halfway point between public and private videos. 

Users can access public videos on YouTube’s homepage, recommended videos, subscription feeds, and SERPs.

On the other hand, private videos are generally only visible to the video’s creator and those who have been permitted to view them.

There are several reasons a creator may change their video’s visibility setting to “unlisted.”

One of the most common reasons is they share private information with many people.

In this instance, sharing a link with a group of viewers is easier than granting permission to every user.

Man filming himself taking to the camera sitting on an orange sofa

The Difference Between Unlisted And Private YouTube Videos

YouTube users often confuse unlisted and private videos. And although it may seem like the same thing on the surface, there is a difference between an ‘unlisted’ and ‘private’ video.

Like unlisted videos, private videos will be hidden from YouTube’s homepage, recommendations, subscriber feeds, Explore page, SERPs, and anywhere else public users may be able to find videos.

To watch an unlisted video, a user must know the exact URL of the video or have the link shared directly with them.

When they have the link, they can share it with whomever they like. So as long as they have the link, it’s possible that anyone can view an unlisted video.

In contrast, a private video cannot be viewed by anyone unless the creator has given them direct access. The creator will allow their account to view the video. Still, any other accounts that want to access the content must be given permission. 

That means that private videos cannot be shared by anyone who has access to it, and only the creator can share the video.

Because unlisted videos act as a middle ground between public and private videos, and because anyone with the link can technically view them, they are considered less secure than private videos. 

For this reason, you should change videos with personal or sensitive information like business details to private rather than unlisted ones.

Private videos are great for uploading home videos that you want to share with family and friends or for training videos that include company information. 

While you can also use unlisted videos for training for large groups, you shouldn’t use them if they contain sensitive information.

When To Use Unlisted Videos

Other than training programs, you can use unlisted videos for several reasons.

Some content creators may not know this feature exists but do not know how to use it.

We’ve listed a few uses below if you want to know how to make the most of this visibility setting.

Embedded Videos

If you’re a content creator and run a successful website or blog, you can use unlisted videos to embed on your website. 

When you embed unlisted videos on your blog, you will exclusively link the content of the video to your site. 

Additionally, users can only access your videos through your blog. It’s a great way to increase your website and YouTube channel traffic.

It’s important to note that if you want to separate your blog audience and your YouTube audience, you shouldn’t use this method. 

Any YouTube subscribers you have won’t be able to access your videos as they will be hidden from the public unless they click the link on your site.

Researching Audience Reactions

Perhaps you want to see how a video is received before you make it available to the public.

You may want to gauge how your subscribers will react to new content or only make it available to certain subscribers as part of a paid subscription service.

When you want to see if users positively receive your content before publishing it for everyone, you can use an unlisted video as your proverbial test subject or guinea pig.

Restricting Video Access

Suppose you have old videos that you want to archive, but you still want certain users to have access to them. In that case, you can use an unlisted video to restrict access to these videos.

You can also make these videos private if you want to be the only person with access to them.

However, unlisted videos are great for hiding videos from the public while allowing certain users to view your content.

Growing An Email List

If you solely rely on YouTube views, you are susceptible to changes on the platform that could have a massive impact on your channel.

By building an email list, you have control over who gets notified when you release a video, and if you lose your YouTube channel, you still have a way of informing your viewers about where they can find you.

This way, you never have to start from scratch.

Unlisted videos help build an email list, as you can use a special video to incentivize people to subscribe to your newsletter. 

Alternatively, you can also release your videos to your newsletter before it goes public to everyone else. This VIP treatment alone can be incentive enough to get people to subscribe to your list.

P.s. an active email list is also a massive plus regarding sponsorships on YouTube.

How To Change YouTube Video Visibility Settings

Your video visibility settings indicate whether your video is listed as public, private, or unlisted. You can easily change your video’s visibility on PC and mobile devices by following a straightforward series of steps.

How to change YouTube visibility settings on your mobile device:

1. On the homepage of the YouTube app, find your channel icon at the top right-hand side of your screen. Click this icon to open up a drop-down menu of channel features.

YouTube account profile picture

2. Find and click the “Your Channel” button. Clicking this will redirect you to your channel page.

How to select your youtube channel on mobile

3. Select “Manage videos.”

Select Manage videos

4. Click on the video’s settings. The setting on the right side of the video title looks like a vertical line of three small dots.

how to access video settings on youtube mobile

5. Under the settings drop-down menu, click “Edit.”

6. Tap the “visibility” option.

Select the visibility option on youtube mobile

7. Select your preferred visibility option and then go back to save changes.

select youtube video visibility on iphone
save changes to the youtube video

How to change YouTube visibility settings on PCs:

1. Once you’ve logged into YouTube. You should see your channel profile icon at the top right-hand side of your page. This icon will usually be a small circle with your profile picture.

Select your profile on YouTube

2. Click on the icon and locate the “YouTube Studio” tab on the drop-down menu.

Open YouTube Studio from the dropdown menu

3. In the menu on the left, select “Content.”

Select the Content tab

4. Now, you will see a list of all your uploaded videos. To the right of the video name is a column called “visibility.” Select the visibility status of the video (i.e., “Public”) you want to change.

Video visibility column in youtube studio

5. Choose between “Private,” “Unlisted,” and “Public,” and then select “Save” to save your changes.

YouTube video visibility options

Final Thoughts On Unlisted Videos On YouTube

On YouTube, creators can change their video’s visibility settings to ‘unlisted.’ This means their video won’t be visible to the public but can still be accessed via a link the creators can share. 

While it’s a great way to share important information like training videos, unlisted videos are generally less secure than private ones.

If you’re looking to grow your YouTube channel or brand, unlisted videos can be a great way to get more subscribers on your email list and engage more with your content.

David Woutersen

Article by

David Woutersen

David is the founder of Outofthe925.com and has been in the social media industry since 2017. Since then, his mission has been to help others take control of their online presence. For some, this has been earning an income online, while for others, it's teaching how to use social networks more effectively. And each year, he continues to help millions with strategy, troubleshooting, and inspiration.