Fix: YouTube thumbnails not showing on Android

YouTube on Android is usually working without issues, despite the fact that the platform brought yet another feature with the addition of YouTube Shorts. Still, you can preview videos before you see them or even see short snippets with playback in Feed. However, most people look at thumbnails and, for some reason, some users can’t seem to see them. We bumped into this Google Forums thread where the user reports that YouTube thumbnails are not showing on Android.  If you are also experiencing this problem, check below for the instructions on how to fix it.

Table of contents:

  1. Restart your phone
  2. Check the network
  3. Reset the YouTube app
  4. Uninstall YouTube updates
  5. Tips for PC users

How do you get thumbnails to show on YouTube?

If you can’t see thumbnails or they load only partially on YouTube for Android, make sure to:

  • Restart your Android.
  • Connect to a stable Wi-Fi or Mobile data network.
  • Disable Playback in Feeds. Open YouTube > Account (top right corner) > Settings > General and disable Playback in feeds.youtube thumbnails not showing
  • Disable Data saver in Settings > Connections > Data usage.
  • Clear local data or uninstall updates (reinstall) YouTube.

1. Restart your phone

Whenever in doubt, restart your phone. There are so many bugs and temporary system and app issues that are gone as soon as your device boots again. Android is a complex system and it’s advised to restart your phone from time to time. So, after a quick restart, open YouTube again and see if the thumbnails load or not.

On the other hand, if the restart didn’t help, the problem might be with YouTube’s servers in your region. It’s not unusual for this to happen, especially during periods of maintenance. Therefore, sometimes you just need to wait for some time as there’s nothing else you can do.

2. Check the network

Another thing we can’t omit is the network. In order to do anything with YouTube, you need to have either a Wi-Fi or Mobile data network connection. The obvious exception is downloaded videos, and this option is only available to premium YouTube users. So, before moving to additional steps, make sure that the network is stable and moderately fast. A really slow internet connection might cause thumbnails not to load at all, so have that in mind. Temporarily disabling VPN/Proxy is a good idea, too.

In addition, if you use YouTube on Mobile data, it’s essential to allow Mobile data in App settings. This can be done if you navigate to Settings > Apps > YouTube > Mobile data and allow YouTube to use Mobile data in the background.

3. Reset the YouTube app

You can also reset YouTube by clearing the local data, just in case something is wrong with the app itself. This is rarely the reason for YouTube thumbnails not showing on Android, but a slight chance of data corruption is still there. Especially after major system updates. Also, don’t worry, deleting local data won’t delete anything from your YouTube history or settings — everything regarding your account and preferences is stored in the cloud.

Here’s how to clear data from YouTube on Android:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Apps.
  3. Open YouTube from the list of available apps.
  4. Tap Storage.
  5. Clear data and restart your phone.youtube thumbnails not showing
  6. Open YouTube and check if the thumbnails appeared or not.

4. Uninstall YouTube updates

Alternatively, you can reinstall YouTube or, in most cases, restore the app version to factory settings by uninstalling updates since YouTube is usually a built-in app that can’t be removed. Once you uninstall updates, you can update the app in Play Store and, hopefully, thumbnails will load this time.

Here’s how to uninstall updates from YouTube on Android:

  1. Once again, open Settings > Apps > YouTube.
  2. Once there, tap on the 3-dots menu and select Uninstall updates.
  3. Confirm the action in the dialog box and open YouTube.
  4. After that, open the Play Store and update the app again to its latest version.

In case YouTube thumbnails are still not showing on the Android app, try using YouTube in a browser and report the problem in the app, under Account > Help & feedback.

5. Tips for PC users

If you experience the aforementioned issues on your PC instead of Android, you can try some of these solutions:

  • Clear data from the YouTube site. Click on the padlock in the Address bar and open Site settings. There you can clear all data YouTube stored in the browser.
  • Disable extensions. Ad-blockers usually work well with YouTube, but some might block things that are not supposed to be blocked.
  • Disable VPN/proxy if you have it installed.
  • Try accessing YouTube in an Incognito window.

And, on that note, we can conclude this article. We thank you for reading and encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.


FAQ

There are a few reasons why your thumbnail is not updating on YouTube. We suspect network issues and local data corruption, but most times, it's the YouTube internal problem and you just need to wait for them to fix it.

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