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Use a separate identity for YouTube and other Google Services

You can now easily create a YouTube channel identity that is different from your Google account identity without having to use a Brand Account.  You can use your real name and serious photo for your Google profile, which is used across Google products like Gmail, Chat, Meet and Drive. Then on the same account use a different name and icon exclusively for your YouTube channel. 

If you have had your YouTube channel for more than a decade, you will recall this was how YouTube identity worked before Google+ integration. Linking to Google+ Pages (now Brand Accounts) were introduced as way to have a YouTube identity separate from your main Google account identity. But Brand Accounts work similarly to Google accounts.

An important note:  if your channel has a verification check mark, changing the channel name will remove the badge. You would then need to reapply under the current eligibility criteria, which requires at least 100,000 subscribers. 

While the verification badge does not give your channel special treatment or perks, it does make it appear more authoritative to some viewers, so consider that before you change the channel name.

What else you need to know: 

  • It may take several days for your new channel name or profile photo to display and update across YouTube
  • Your YouTube channel name and icon must comply with the YouTube Community Guidelines
  • Profile photos can be a JPG, GIF (NOT animated), BMP, or PNG file. It needs to be at least 98x98 pixels, and smaller than 4MB.
  • Changing your Google account name or profile photo will not change your YouTube channel's name or profile photo. 
  • If you translated your YouTube channel name using the channel translation feature, you will have to update the translation.
This option is still rolling out. Before you make any changes, make sure you see the notice: 
Changes made to your name and picture are visible only on YouTube and not other Google services.

Watch the video for a tutorial on how to change your channel identity, or read on for detailed instructions.

Do you still need to use a Brand Account for your YouTube channel?

This update removes the requirement to use a Brand Account to have different identities for your YouTube channel and Google account.

With YouTube Studio Channel Permissions, you can add YouTube Studio Manager, Editor or Viewer to help manage your channel or view your channel data. 

So is there any need for a Brand Account? Currently I think there are three main reasons to have your channel on a Brand Account:

1. YouTube Studio Channel permissions only give access to YouTube Studio on desktop. Managers and Editors can not act as the channel on YouTube proper, for example commenting on other channel's videos. And they cannot live stream on behalf of the channel. Brand Account managers can do all those things.

2. Brand Accounts allow you to act as the Owner of multiple channels while signed in to a single Google and YouTube account. 

3. Some features are tied to the Google or Brand Account the channel is on. If you move a YouTube channel from a Brand Account to a Google Account, the comments made by the channel, verification badge and custom URL are not moved along with the channel. Learn more here.

If you have an established YouTube channel on a Brand Account, you may not want to move it. 

How to change your channel identity on desktop

1. Sign in to YouTube and open YouTube Studio (

2. On the left menu select Customization

3. To edit your channel name

  • Click Basic Info
  • Click the Edit pencil icon
  • Enter your new channel name
  • Click Publish

4. To edit your channel profile photo 

    • Click Branding
    • Next to your current profile photo click Upload or Change
    • Click Upload (note: there is no option to select an image from your Google Photos or Album Archive)
    • Select an image on your computer
    • Adjust the size and cropping of the image, then click Done
    • Click Publish

    How to change your channel identity on a mobile device

    You can change your profile photo and channel name on your iPhone, iPad or Android device.

    1. Open the YouTube Mobile App

    2. Tap your profile photo at top right

    3. Tap Your Channel

    4. Tap Edit Channel

    5. To edit your channel name

    • Tap the pencil icon to the right of your name
    • Enter your new channel name
    • Tap OK
    Note: if you have a verification badge, you will be directed to change your channel name in YouTube Studio on desktop.

    6. To edit your channel profile photo

    • Tap your profile photo
    • Take a photo or choose a photo to upload (you can select from your Google Photos app)
    • Click Save

    Change your Google Account Identity

    You can now change your Google Account or Brand Account identity separately from your YouTube channel.

    1. Sign in to Google (or any Google product other than YouTube) and click your profile photo at top right 

    2. Select Manage your Google Account to open

    If you want to change the details for a Brand Account, click your profile photo at top right and select the Brand Account from the list to switch to that identity. 

    3. Click Personal Info on the left menu or open  

    4. Click your profile photo to upload a new photo or select one of the photos in your Google account

    5. Click your name to edit your name and then click Save when you are done

    Learn More


    1. Super useful artice and tutorial! For all the years I've been focused on digital Brand communication it looks to me that tasking many Brand Managers with different activities on Brand's YouTube channel doesn't bring better outcomes to Brands. The Creators YouTube new ( old Google plus integration) identity functionality is more intuitive. I would be glad to dscuss further!

      1. I think this is a step in the right direction. Many creators want to have a unique name for their channel, but don't need the Brand Account functionality. Plus the newish YouTube Studio channel permissions are more secure than Brand Account Managers.


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