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

Small auto-generated thumbnail 2

Small auto-generated thumbnail 3

reelseo youtube titlesYouTube 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 120×90 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

small custom thumbnail

Medium custom thumbnail at 4:3 ratio 

medium thumbnail

Large custom thumbnail

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


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!