Skip to main content

Back up your YouTube videos!

Updated for August 2021: Back up all your YouTube Account data.
NEW for February 2019: Get directions for backing up your Brand Account YouTube channel here. 

Do you have a backup copy of your YouTube videos? 

If your videos are important to you, I highly recommend you keep an archived backup on your own hard drive, DVDs or other storage location. Fortunately Google Takeout lets you download almost all your content stored by Google - including your YouTube videos - quickly and easily.

Why do you need a backup? YouTube does not guarantee your videos will be accessible forever. Even if you keep the access details for YouTube account up to date, and keep your Google account secure from hackers your videos can be lost if:
While you can download MP4 files of your uploads in your video manager, Google Takeout allows you to download your original YouTube video files.

Back up your original videos using Google Takeout 

Google Takeout makes it easy to back up your data - you probably don't even need the step-by-step instructions! However, note that if your YouTube channel is connected to a Google+ Page Brand Account you will have to take a couple of extra steps to sign in to your Page directly.

NEW for February 2019: Get directions for backing up your Brand Account YouTube channel here. 

1. Sign in to the Google account linked to your YouTube channel with your email username and password.

 If your Youtube channel is connected to a Google+ Page, rather than your personal Google+ Profile, you must sign in to your Google+ Page directly.  
Learn how to set a password for your Google+ Page.

2. Go to Google Takeout

        i. Open
        ii. Under Personal info & privacy click "Control your content"  (
       iii. Click CREATE ARCHIVE (

3. Make sure that your channel name and avatar are showing in the upper right corner.

4. Select which data you would like to download

If you are signed into your Google+ Page, the data will include your Page's YouTube channel, Google Photos, Blogger blogs and Google Drive.

To deselect all Google products click the Select none button.

Make sure "YouTube" has a green check mark next to it.

You can learn more and select some details by clicking the small down arrow v next to each product.

YouTube allows you to select all channel data, or only videos, history, playlists, or subscriptions.


Note: if you want to back up your Blogger blog, you must also archive your Google Photos albums

It's a good idea to download an archive of all your data periodically. 

5. Click the blue Next button

6. Customize your download format

Select the archive file type. : A zip file is the default file format, and can be opened on almost any computer.  The archive can also be downloaded as a compressed tar file (.tgz or .tbz). 

Select the delivery method: You can either download the archive file to your personal computer (recommended) or have the archive automatically uploaded to Google Drive. If you choose Google Drive, the archive will count towards your account storage limit.

7. Click the blue Create archive button

6. Wait for your archive to be created. You will be sent an email when it's ready.

7. Download your archive. You will have one week to download the archive.

8.  Open your downloaded archive to access your files.

Check to make sure all your videos are there, bearing in mind that videos with a Content ID match will not be downloaded.

I have also had occasional trouble downloading Hangout on Air recordings - those can be downloaded as MP4s from your video manager instead.

9. Store your archive where you can find it when you need to access the backup data

Store your archive someplace secure - keep it on your computer (or multiple computers), transfer it to an external hard drive, or burn it to DVD. You can upload it to storage in the cloud, as long as it's separate from the Google account you use to sign in to YouTube.

Data storage is cheap and your content is precious - make a backup of your data regularly!

Updated July 2015 with new screenshots.

Image at top : Video tape archive storage from the archive of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation on Flickr (credit: "DRs Kulturarvsprojekt")
Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) License


  1. And if you have more than one youtube channel? I have two channels: one with nothing and other with some videos, linked to my account. Google takeout just see the channel that there's nothing - even if I connect first in youtube channel with videos. There's a way to select the channel?


Post a Comment

Spam and personal attacks are not allowed. Any comment may be removed at my own discretion ~ Peggy