List of features removed from YouTube
This is an incomplete list of features that YouTube has removed from their website and mobile application.
Anyone is invited to contribute and add anything missing. Feel free to write on the discussion page for suggestions.
Desktop website features
|Feature category||Feature||Introduction date||Removal date||Description and notes|
|Annotations||Video annotation editor||2008||2017-05-02||Ability to add/edit annotations for interactive videos (annotation editor).|
|Ability to view annotations||2008||2019-01-15||Final removal of annotations|
|Pause annotation||2008 or 2009||2013||Ability to add automatic pauses inside videos. Removed because it was misused by users.|
|Collaborative annotations||2009-02||2012 or earlier||Ability for multiple people to collaboratively work|
|Comments and ratings||AJAX-free comments that pre-loaded within the page||2005 or 2006||2013|
|Comment search||Part of TestTube, circa 2011|
|Real-time comment stream and counter of new comments||circa 2010||circa 2013||Similar to Twitter's “View X new results”|
|Channel discussion pages (earlier known as “Channel comments”)||Circa 2006||Gradually since 2018||Replaced with Community Posts feature instead of co-existing. First applied to channels with ≥10000 subscribers, later
500 and ≥1000. Permanently deletes discussions upon replacement.
|Video reactions in comment area||Reaction options: “LOL”, “OMG”, “EPIC”, “CUTE”, “WTF” or “FAIL”.|
|1-5 star ratings||2005||2010||
|Sharing||AutoShare||2019-01-31||Ability to automatically share liked videos, uploaded videos, added subscriptions (removed earlier) and videos added to playlists to Google Plus (deceased later) and Twitter.|
|Channel pages||Unified channel page||2006 or earlier||2013||Allowed seeing more infirmation at once and thus enabled richer web archival. Removed with 2013 “One channel layout” redesign. Notice the ironic name.|
|Custom channel theme||2006||2013||Fine-grain custom colour control for many page elements; ability to use custom backgrounds. Removed with 2013 “One channel layout” redesign. Opting out was possible for a limited time.|
Listed videos and subscriptions of a channel with the beginning of its description.
|Awards (also known as Honors)||Badges on the channel page for various statistics-related achievements.|
|Site layout, appearance and watch page||YouTube Feather||Lightweight YouTube site. Part of TestTube in the early 2010s decade.|
|Count of public videos of uploader on watch page||2011||2014|
|Compatibility website view mode||circa 2013||If an older browser was detected, the user was prompted to view a compatible version of the site in a green notice on the right side of the video player.|
|“Hovercards” mouseover tooltips||2013||2014 or 2015||Similar to Twitter's profile hover cards when hovering the mouse pointer above the display name of a profile.|
|Top-bar mini player ||March 2018||March 2018||As known from Dailymotion and Vimeo.|
|Cosmic Panda site layout||July 2011||Probably early 2012||Experimental site layout|
|Statistics||Full subscriber counts||Many places such as subscriber counts and like/dislike counts started only showing up as abbreviated number, e.g. “1K” “1M” or “1B” during the years. Since September 2019, only the three leading digits of the subscriber count are visible on YouTube's website and accessible via the API, allegedly for consistency. The change was heavily disliked by VidIQ community.|
|Public video statistics||2008||2019|
|Ability to share list of liked videos||Before 2010||2019-12||A playlist with up to 5000 last liked videos could be shared publicly with the community.
The closest workaround after this feature removal is manually creating and maintaining a public playlist of liked videos.
|Public views by country||~2013|
|Channel page view counts||Still accessible via APi?|
|Video player||Like/Dislike/description and information viewer inside the video player.||~2016||Ability to rate (like/dislike) a video inside the embedded player|
|Video polls||2015 or 2016||June 2020|
|Search feature inside ActionScript2 flash video player.||2008||~2013|
|Warp player||circa 2009||circa 2010||Experimental video browser interface|
|Embedded player with integrated browsing and searching functionality||Only in the ActionScript 2 flash video player|
|Video management||Built-in video editor and slide show creator||2017-09|
|Ability to hide individual videos on one's own subscription page||?||September 2020|
|Searching||Ability to find videos by uploader-specified tags.|
|Video search results counter||June 2018|
|Playlists||Playlist notes||Circa 2013||2020||Notes that could be added to videos by playlist creators.
Not available in “polymer” design since introduction, still was accessible in legacy layout as long as it existed, accessible through disable_polymer URL parameter by setting it to “1” or “true”.
|Individual video view counts on playlist page||2012 or earlier||2014 or 2015|
|Ability to see total length of videos in a playlist||2012 or earlier||Circa 2013|
|Ability to rate playlists||2012 or earlier||Circa 2013 or 2014|
|Subtitles||Community-contributed subtitles||early 2010s||September 2020||Creators were able to allow users to directly contribute subtitles, also known as community captions.|
|Descriptions||Video credits||2014 or earlier||2019||Dedicated section for video credits.|
Some table cells might be empty due to lack of currently available information.
Parts of the text in this section is based on work originally published in April and May 2019 on ArchiveTeam Wiki, and imported and adapted to EverybodyWiki in November 2020 by the original author.
On November 27th, 2018, YouTube updated its help page to include that all annotations (which had been disabled for new videos and replaced with "cards" early May 2017, but old annotations remained visible) will be removed from videos hosted on the platform on 15 January 2019.
Discussions (Channel Comments)
In addition, YouTube decided that their new “Community Post” feature can not co-exist with the “Discussion” feature, earlier known as “Channel Comments”. Therefore, all channels that reach a certain subscriber threshold (formerly 10000, last known threshold: 1500), all channel comments will be permanently erased instead of being merged or co-existing.
The owner from the YouTube channel is still able to access comments from the discussion tab for 30 days after their channel has received the community tab feature. For channel visitors, the “Discussion” tab immediately becomes inaccessible after it becomes replaced with the “Community” tab. Attempting to access the discussion tab via URL get redirected to the main page of the channel.
- Liking a video.
- Publishing a video.
- Adding video to playlist (AutoShare did not share name and URL of the target playlist.)
- Favourising a video (removed YouTube feature, existing favourite videos automatically got moved to “Favourites” playlist.)
The tweet or Google+ post posted by AutoShare included the title and the URL to the target video.
An AutoShared tweet's metadata source tag indicates “
At some point, YouTube AutoShare tweets also included the Twitter handle of the YouTube channel the video was shared from, if the owner of the YouTube channel had also linked his Twitter account to his YouTube channel and publicly listed it on the channel.
Twitter's tweet search feature allowed finding out the URL or the title of a deleted video from each other, or the original video URL and full title from knowing the approximate title.
It could also help to trace back changes of a video's title.
This information was useful to find out more about lost videos, e.g. what caused them to be removed, captures by Wayback/Archive.Today, online discussions and potential re-uploads.
After the removal of AutoShare, people still tweeted “I liked a @YouTube video […]” manually.
Without any clear warning in advance, YouTube has also entirely removed the public “video statistics” feature. The only warning sign was that their new “Polymer” website layout lacked the statistics feature, which could originally be found in the “More” menu below a video.
Only their “One” website layout that they introduced in 2013 and revised in late 2014, then barely changed for years, co-existing with “Polymer” since late 2017, included the statistics feature.
When YouTube released their “One” website layout, the number of parameters displayed by the video statistics was also reduced.
The video statistics were also inaccessible from the “One” website since late 2018, and the API endpoints were removed as well..
- Parameters (legacy)
- Total view count + graph.
- Total comments count + graph.
- Total favourited count + graph (removed YouTube feature).
- Total rating counts (no graph)
- Like and dislike count (no graph)
- Referral sources with date of initial referral (exact dates available as of 20071130).
- View counts from each referral source.
- First featured video view
- First referral from related videos (separately mentioned)
- First view from embededd video
- First view from embededd video (specified website)
- First referral from YouTube search (for separate search terms)
- View counts from each referral source.
- Most popular audiences (age and gender)
- World map that highlights countries in which the video is more popular.
- Countries with higher popularity are highlighted in darker green.
- Honour badges
- Total honour counts
- List of honours
- Rank: Most viewed of all time
- This list is incomplete yet.
- Parameters (recent)
- Total Watch time
- Average watch time per user.
- Subscribers gained from said video
- Share counter: How often the video was shared.
Each of these parameters could be viewed as total cumulative count or counts per day, of which the latter was the default setting.
Unified channel page
In March 2013, YouTube enforced all channels to change to the previously optional new channel layout called “One” channel layout. 
“One” channel layout crippled the Wayback Machine's ability to crawl channel pages.
The Wayback Machine often just captures the home page of a YouTube channel and misses the channel subpage tabs.
Since “One” channel layout was introduced in March 2013, the information of YouTube channels is no longer unified onto a single page, but has been split up onto different, separate subpages:
- (Includes “shared thoughts”).
- Thoughts shared via the “Share your thoughts” feature (not to be confused with discussions or community) can only be written with the legacy channel layout (accessible via
?disable_polymer=1URL parameter) but read via the new polymer channel layout too.
- This feature is potentially endangered due to the lack of support from polymer layout, and depreciation of purpose. Existing thoughts shared via this feature could be deleted.
- Does include
channel views, total view count, subscriber count and channel creation date.
- Includes user-added information such as E-Mail address (ReCaptcha needed to access due to spam prevention), channel description, user-specified country, link farm.
- Does include
Some channels have the custom layout feature turned off. In that case, the channel description shows on the channel's home page, but the discussion page (usually not enabled by default in the customized channel layout mode) is enabled and accessible via the URL.
Because all this information is no longer on a single page, if the Wayback Machine captures a channel page, it often only captures the main (home) page of the channel, dismissing the information from the other channel tabs because they are on different pages instead of all information on one page.
Custom channel layouts
Due to the lack of customizability of the “One Channel Layout”, as of March 2013, all custom creative channel designs have been deleted. Also other information such as channel view counts are no longer shown, but channel view counts can still be accessed via the YouTube API.
Prior to that layout change, when YouTube video title stood above instead of below the video, there was a menu where one could quickly see other videos uploaded by the channel. If this feature existed today, it could have helped chromebot save information about the 20 most recent uploads of a channel the video was archived from.
From March 2013 to August 2014, the video counter was still visible next the channel name, although clicking on it just refers to the /videos page of the uploaders channel instead of directly listing the recent uploads.
YouTube's August 2014 redesign, which has slightly changed throughout the years, still co-exists with the polymer design and is still accessible as of May 2019 by appending the
&disable_polymer=true parameter to the URL.
Since that August 2014 redesign, the number of publicly available videos is also no longer visible directly from the watch page. And also not from the channel's “about” page, but only from the search results.
However, SocialBlade tracks the statistics of as many YouTube channels as possible, storing historical data. Some is only accessible through paid subscription.
Since YouTube's “One Channel Layout” redesign, comments “extraload” using AJAX, which means that they do not get loaded within the page itself, but only start loading after scrolling down towards the comments. This made the comment section inaccessible to the Wayback Machine. However, there was a page called youtube.com/all_comments?v=
<video ID>, which actually loaded the first few comments without AJAX (included in HTML source code), but loading more comments required AJAX. But that one was discontinued and started redirecting to the main
/watch?v= page since January of 2016. However, archive.today still was able to archive YouTube comments until late 2017. As of April 2019, archiving YouTube comments using http://archive.today/ is still possible by linking directly to a comment using YouTube's
lc URL parameter.
- Example comment URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3GrSMYbkBE&lc=UgxC238Gea0KGOditl54AaABAg
- Archived: http://archive.li/OXq7u
As of June 2019 YouTube's
google_comment_id URL parameter does the same thing as
lc (maybe it was created as a replacement for
lc which might not do anything in the future, speculation of course):
- Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaPfzgUFJyI&google_comment_id=UgyJ0eDN227JG2mDFg54AaABAg
- Archived: http://archive.vn/MRmNW
Chromebot, operated via #ArchiveBot connect IRC, can still be used to archive YouTube comments thanks to it's bottomless page scrolling capabilities.
Comments on YouTube can be sorted by Top Comments or by Newest Comments. The uploader of a video can specify which way of sorting is used for the video by default, but it can be adjusted manually by the user. The default preset is Top Comments. However, no known URL parameter is able to select the sorting methods for the comments so far. Therefore, crawlers that can access the comments can only crawl them in the preselected way of sorting.
- The Top Comments are not necessarily the comments with the highest number of upvotes, probably because YouTube does not want always the same comments to stay on top for too long. Older comments get pushed down despite having a high rating, allowing comments to cycle.
- At some point, YouTube started hiding negative comment ratings and only shows how often a comment has been rated positively. Rating a comment negatively is still possible however. It's effect is pushing comments further down from the Top Comments.
“Video responses” was a feature where users could respond to videos with new or existing videos that were listed above the comment sections.
After YouTube removed that feature, the existing videos that were posted as response were not removed. But the links between the original video and the video used as response were removed.
To view reaction counts, one needed to be logged in.
But the feature got removed within just months after it's initial release, erasing all existing reactions.
Reasons for video deletions
When a video gets removed for any reason (e.g. manually removed by uploader; uploader closed channel; guideline issues; channel terminated) or not available in a specific region, YouTube usually displays the reason for why the video can not be played.
However, at some point (estimatedly 2013 or 2014), YouTube started purging unavailability reasons for manually deleted videos and videos and channel pages of closed channels, meaning that YouTube shows “This video does not exist.” or “This video is unavailable.”, as if the video never existed in first place.
Since then, reasons for videos that have been permanently erased will only be displayed for a very limited time, after which the video reads as unavailable instead of removed by user or closed channel.
- The video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtdDvkI8NUA once existed, but was deleted.
- The video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABCDEF12345 never existed in first place.
YouTube does not differentiate between these videos after the deletion reason gets purged.
Since 2017, a private video will also indicate as “not available” (same as a video that never existed in first place) immediately after privated, while playlists that contain the unavailable videos still indicate the distinction between private and deleted videos. Since late 2019 or early 2020, private videos are indicated as such again.
YouTu.be image hoster
YouTu.be used to be an image hoster back in 2006. In late 2015, they created a robots.txt file that disallows all crawlers (or “
User-agent: * Disallow:/”).
YouTube used to have a feature called “Bulletins” in it's earlier years, likely introduced in 2006.
After co-existing with “Channel Comments” that would later become “Discussions”, that feature got removed at some point, erasing all existing Bulletin posts.
It allows users, momentarily exclusively with channels that have over 10000 subscribers, to publish vertical videos, usually filmed from their mobile devices, and optionally edited with e.g. text, using their basic editing features.
- “Story” videos automatically get deleted in 7 days (= 1 week) after being posted.
- “Stories” can be accessed from the “Stories” tab on YouTube channels when viewed in the mobile application.
- All ytimg servers (where YouTube saved images, stylesheets and the .swf file of the flash-based YouTube video player) used to be intoxicated by robots.txt (“
user-agent:* disallow:/ noindex:/”). When browsing YouTube layouts starting circa 2008 using the Wayback Machine, the website could only be viewed as black text on white background, just with different sizes (e.g. <h1> video title), due to the missing images and stylesheet information. Only information visible in the HTML source code of the page itself could be rendered. On February 29th of 2012, the robots.txt file vanished off the ytimg servers, lifting the restrictions and making YouTube more properly browse-able through the Wayback Machine.
- Yahoo and Bing Video search results might contain titles, upload dates and thumbnails of unavailable YouTube videos (i.e. after privated, deleted or channel terminated).
- Yahoo URL format: https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?hspart=ddc&p=
- Bing URL format: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?FORM=HDRSC3&q=
- Yahoo URL format: https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?hspart=ddc&p=
Additional feature removals
Additional, lesser noteable removed features and changes:
- Since August 2018, one can only load 10 comment replies at a time, using “Show more comments”, rather than loading all comment replies at once.
- Snake game easter egg (only existed in flash-based video player with dotted loading animation icon)
- Debug information shows exact volume level several digits behind decimal (circa 2010). (Trivial)
- Bulletin feature (appears to have been removed around 2007, but re-appeared in 2010)
- According to a lost YouTube comment, there was once the ability to see the playback position where users rated a video in YouTube analytics.
- Time markers and magnified seek bar upon hovering for videos longer than 90 minutes
- Replaced with seek bar that can be dragged up to scrub (finer seeking).
Mobile application features
- Infinite search history (now: only 50 items)
- (Minor) Case-sensitive search history.
- Ability to enter a search without requiring internet connection (behavioural change)
- Ability to open a video prior to established internet connection, so that playback can start sooner as soon as the connection has been established. (behavioural change)
- Tapping on search bar (which opens search history) did not unload the loaded search results or channel/playlist page.
- Full numbers (now, many places such as subscriber counts and like/dislike counts only show up as abbreviated number, e.g. “1K” “1M” or “1B”)
Predicted feature removals
This section documents possible future removals of existing features.
- Automated transcribing and advanced caption tools
- Possibly to be removed or turned into a feature for premium users only.
- Comment counter — Shows number of comments posted on a video.
Features that were once removed, but have returned.
- Ability to see whether a video is private or erased entirely (removed circa 2017 or 2018, returned August 2019)
- A video in a playlist has always shown the distinction.
- YouTube XL - YouTube website optimized for television, formerly located at XL.YouTube.com.[note 1]
- General forum for discussing removed features.
- YouTube blog entry: New Beta Feature: Video Annotations (2008-06-04)
- Die Youtube Annotations werden abgeschafft – was das für Creator und Brands bedeutet Von David Peter - 20. März 2017 (German)
- YouTube kills annotations to make way for mobile-friendly features – EnGadget – Sean Buckley, @seaniccus (March 16, 2017)
- Video: 10 Long Gone YouTube Features – CHM Tech (2017-08-11
- YouTube will remove all pop-up annotations on January 15th – EnGadget – Mallory Locklear, @mallorylocklear (November 27, 2018)
- Video: YouTube is removing a LOT of features.... by EposVox, 2018-12-04]
- Video from channel HotBlogTips that documents the removal of the Pause Annotation, 2013-04-07
- YouTube's Collaborative Annotations — Michael Fink, Sigalit Bar, Aviad Bazilai, Nir Kerem, Isaac Elias, Julian Frumar, Herb Ho, Ryan Junee, Simon Ratner, Jasson Schrock Ran Tavory (2009) — Research.Google
- Introducing Collaborative Annotations (YouTube blog, 2009-02-20)
- Did youtube get rid of collaborative annotations? — Reddit post (2012-07-05)
- YCombinator thread: “YouTube removes all_comments feature”, February 7th 2016
- “Redirect (HTTP 302) – /all_comments redirects me to /watch (Extraload-Comments)” – Google Productforums thread (short URL
- Screenshot of former “Comment search” feature of YouTube
- "Engage with creators on Community posts - Computer - YouTube Help". support.google.com.
- AdWeek article from 20110805: “YouTube Trades In LOL, OMG, WTF Buttons For Drop Down Reactions Menu”.
- YouTube – Article on ArchiveTeam Wiki (significant detail added by user “ATrescue”, later banned by administrator for exerting criticism)
- “/feed” channel page (long URL)
- Example channel page with “flow=list” URL parameter (long URL)
- Video: What Is A YouTube Hover Card? (2013-09-16) — MCJ Book Publishing
- Article “YouTube testet Miniplayer: Videos gucken und gleichzeitig Kommentare lesen (Video)” (German) – Google Watch Blog (2018-03-22)
- Neues youTube-Design: „Cosmic Panda“ (Test) on TagSEOblog.de, 2011-07-07
- Check out Cosmic Panda, a new experimental experience for videos, playlists and channels on YouTube.GoogleBlog.com, 2011-07-07
- “YouTube to Limit Access to Full Subscriber Counts” – Carla Marshall, VidIQ.com, 2019-05-21
- YouTube Will Kill Exact Public Facing Subscriber Counts in September – Rob Wilson, VidIQ.com, 2019-08-30
- “ Early heads up: abbreviated public subscriber counts across YouTube 1 Recommended Answer” – Posted onto Google Product Forums by Jordan (Google employee, TeamYouTube) 2019-05-22
- Tweet by @TeamYouTube (2019-05-21) about abbreviated subscriber counts
- Tweet by @VidIQ: “Abbreviated Public Subscriber Count (i.e. Showing 4.1k subs instead of 4,123 subs). This is coming to YouTube in August. Vote and tell us why!” – 90.3% out of 3730 voters voted “Bad idea”.
- "YouTube Insight: View Your YouTube Video Statistics". Search Engine Land. 27 March 2008.
- Rant on YouTube making liked videos playlist private. – Steve Shelton (TheWheatisHeat96, 2020-01-14)
- "How To View and Analyze YouTube Statistics for Any Video" – Tubular Insights (2010-06-20) [https://archive.vn/k6aBS (short URL)
- Screen shot of 2015 YouTube channel page with visible rating buttons inside the video player
- Why The Poll System Is Being Removed – Support.Google.com
- YouTube Video Editor ist weg – VideoSoftDev
- Video Responses Removed - Social Blade YouTube Tips 25 (2013-09-01)
- How To Group your YouTube Subscriptions into a Collection – Derral Eves (2013-10-17)
- YouTube removed friends today! (2011-12-08)
- Example YouTube playlist from 2012 Archive.Today backup Archive.ST backup
- Petition against removal of community captions on Change.org by Emma Wolfe – 159759 signatures oaas of 2020-08-01 20 19:35:22 UTC]
- How to Add Video Credits on YouTube Videos — Derral Eves
- YouTube Help article: “Engage with creators on Community posts” mentions “Note: As creators get the Community tab, it will replace the Discussion tab. You can access or delete any comments you left on the Discussion tab for 30 days after creators receive the Community tab. Follow the instructions below.”
- Twitter tweet object metadata documentation.
- “YouTube is apparently removing the ability to auto-share videos to Twitter” – influencerupdate.biz
- “YouTube to Remove Automatic Sharing to Twitter – Here is How to Fix It” article by TechWiser.com
- Tweet by @TeamYouTube: “After Jan 31st, we're saying goodbye 👋 to automated tweets like the one below. You can still share your YouTube activity with your followers in more customized posts via the Share button. Full update → https://support.google.com/youtube/thread/989408?hl=en”
- About YouTube's August 2014 layout that is still optionally accessible as of May 2019
- What public YouTube video statistics looked like in 2008, 2010 and shortly before discontinued.
- Tweet by @Omarroth1: “YouTube actually removed any publicly available analytics maybe a couple months ago (the "analytics" tab that used to be available in the "report" and "transcription" tab. The endpoint is also no longer available. I'll see if I can write something 1/2” “Unfortunately the internal endpoint has been completely removed. It used to be `/insights_ajax`, now returns 404.”
- YouTube legacy video statistics (removed feature) as of June 2010
- YouTube “One Channel” layout propaganda. 📅 Uploaded on 2013-03-08 01:06:18 UTC, 👁 309346 views, 👍 1125 likes, 👎 8648 dislikes, 💬4139 comments, mostly negative comments.
- YouTube Help article: “Customize channel layout”
- Channel with “customization” turned off, found via . Original URL: www
.youtube .com /channel /UCUQe-1KNzrCyJG9Lld07DZQ
- YouTube API: channel statistics.
- YouTube 2012 watch page screenshot
- (Couldn't find a screenshot of this former feature in action (quickly see recent videos of uploader without needing to leave watch page, by clicking on video counter). Whoever finds a screenshot of the feature in action should please add it to this reference.)
- PSY's “Gangnam Style” hits 2 Billion views. YouTube UI below video as of 2013-2014.
- TechCrunch article from 20160224: “Facebook Enhances Everyone’s Like With Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, Angry Buttons”.
- MarketingHits.com article “YouTube Testing New “Reaction” Buttons: OMG, Epic, LOL, Fail, WTF, & Cute”, originally from ReelSEO.
- 20110602 article by “Google Operating System” (unofficial blog): “YouTube Reactions”.
- Video: “How To Use YouTube's New Post Bulletin Feature”
- YouTube Bulletins to your Subscribers (April 15, 2010)
- YouTube Gets More Social With Bulletins (April 22, 2010)
- YouTube channel “Jeeves476” in 2008
- YouTube XL For Television (TV True, January 2009)
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