How To Download YouTube Thumbnail Images [Creator's Tip #120]

How To Download YouTube Thumbnail Images [Creators Tip #120]

On this week's Creator's Tip, we're going to show you how to download thumbnail images from any video on YouTube, including the auto-generated ones, the high quality ones and the low quality ones. Why would you want to download a thumbnail in the first place? Well, you might want to use it for a feature image for your post or for archive purposes or for any number of reasons. Let us take you through the process:

How To Download YouTube Thumbnail Images

There are two ways of doing this - one is very quick, the other will take a few more seconds.

Autogenerated Thumbnail Downloads 

If you know the image that you want then grab the video ID and use it in place of VIDEOID in the following URLS;

Small auto-generated thumbnail 1 [120x90]

http://img.youtube.com/vi/VIDEOID/1.jpg

Small auto-generated thumbnail 2 [120x90]

http://img.youtube.com/vi/VIDEOID/2.jpg

Small auto-generated thumbnail 3 [120x90]

http://img.youtube.com/vi/VIDEOID/3.jpg

How To Download YouTube Thumbnail Images [Creators Tip #120]YouTube automatically selects 3 thumbnails per video and adding either 1, 2 or 3 in the URL will give you access to all three so you can select the best one you want to use. Bear in mind that 120x90 is a tiny size so this isn't going to work if you want to use the thumbnail as a big feature image.

Custom Thumbnail Downloads

We all know how hit and miss auto-generated thumbnail images can be so if you want to download the custom thumbnail that you (or another creator) made then substitute the video id in place of VIDEOID in the following URLS. You'll note that there is a lot more flexibility with size options:

Small custom thumbnail [320x180]

http://img.youtube.com/vi/VIDEOID/mqdefault.jpg

How To Download YouTube Thumbnail Images [Creators Tip #120]

Medium custom thumbnail at 4:3 ratio [480x360]

http://img.youtube.com/vi/VIDEOID/0.jpg

How To Download YouTube Thumbnail Images [Creators Tip #120]

Large custom thumbnail [1280x720 or 1920x1080]

http://img.youtube.com/vi/VIDEOID/maxresdefault.jpg (only available if video has 720p or 1080p option)

How To Download YouTube Thumbnail Images [Creators Tip #120]

If you ever need to grab a thumbnail from your own video (because you've lost, or don't have access to the original) or from someone else's video now you know what to do!

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About the Author -
Tim Schmoyer is the host of ReelSEO's Creator's Tip and the author of "30 Days to a Better YouTube Channel". You can see some of his personal videos on his Family Vlog Channel. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • hansende

    Thanks Tim, I've needed to do this several times in the past. I will bookmark this.

    • http://timschmoyer.com/ Tim Schmoyer

      Great! Glad it's helpful!

  • http://www.JoshRimer.com/ Josh Rimer

    Another great tip as usual - thanks Tim!

    • http://timschmoyer.com/ Tim Schmoyer

      Sure thing, Josh!

  • kuku

    Thanks for the help.
    How can i get the title and description?