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YouTube DMs are going away: Save a copy of your messages!

YouTube announced that the private Direct Messaging feature will be going away on September 18th, 2019. Some features, like sending a video by DM, may be disabled before that date. You can download an archive of your YouTube private messages using Google Takeout.

YouTube's current direct messaging feature was announced in April 2017 as a way to share videos and chat with friends and family. YouTube's original private-messaging Inbox was replaced by Google+-based Messages in 2014, which was in turn shut down in July 2018.
Goodbye YouTube Friends :(
YouTube says they will be focusing on improving public communication:
Two years ago, we launched a feature to enable you to share videos via direct messages on YouTube. Since then, we've also focused on public conversations with updates to comments, posts, and stories. We’re constantly reevaluating our priorities and have decided to discontinue YouTube’s native direct messaging feature while we focus on improving public conversations.
Fortunately you can download a copy of all your chats using Google Takeout. Read on for instructions. (But be aware that there does not appear to be any way to download your Friends list).
Private messages on desktop YouTube

Backup your YouTube direct messages with Google Takeout

You can download an archive of your private messages using Google Takeout.
1. Open Google Takeout and select "YouTube" or go directly to

2. If your YouTube channel is on a Brand Account, click the profile photo at top right, and select your channel identity from the list. Click All Your Brand Accounts to access all your Brand Accounts.

3. In the YouTube section, select "All data included" to choose which data you want to keep

4. Deselect all data except "chats" and then click OK

5. Click Next step

6. Check your archive settings
  • Delivery method: email a download link, Google Drive (not available for Brand Accounts), Box, Dropbox, OneDrive
  • Format: leave it on the default .zip file option unless you are sure you need a .tgz file 
  • Archive Size : the archive is likely to be smaller than the default maximum 2GB file size. If it is larger your archive will be divided into multiple zip files
7. Click “Creative archive”.

8. You’ll receive an email when your archive is ready.

9. Download all of your chats as a .zip file. Note that if your channel is on a Brand Account, you will need to switch to your channel's Brand Account identity before downloading the file on your Manage Archives page (

View your Archived Chats

Your chats will be in HTML format. That means that means you can view them in any web browser.

1. Unzip the archive .zip file . Windows, MacOS and Chrome OS have the ability to unzip files automatically, just by double-clicking on the file.

2.  Open the Takeout folder

3. Open the archive_browser.html file in your favorite web browser

4. Click Exported Files then chats to see a list of your files

5. You can also open the conversation files in the YouTube > chats folder directly in your browser

What's in the archive:
  • Who started the chat 
  • Chat participants 
  • Dated chat messages
  • Links to shared videos
It does NOT include links to the chat participants' channels or your Friends list.

How to message YouTubers privately

YouTube doesn't offer any private messaging alternative. You are instead encouraged to communicate using a third party platform.

  • Share a video to social media or your favorite messaging app
  • Add an email : On desktop, select the option to Customize Channel and add an email on your channel's About tab
  • Add social media and messaging links: On desktop, select the option to Customize Channel, switch to your About tab, and edit the link list to add social media and messaging links

More information

AnnouncementHeads Up - We’re removing the ability to message directly on YouTube after September 18
YouTube Help Center: Message Friends on YouTube


  1. I never used this feature even though I tried adding people. Nobody seemed interested in sharing privately in YouTube.

    1. I think there are just too many different places to communicate with people. It turns out, the people I am interesting in sharing videos with I chat with elsewhere.

    2. This was actually for me one of the best chatting platforms used cuz how you can send and watch videos quickest way possible as you're already in the yt app. The only problem I saw was on how to actually add contacts.


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