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How To: Download Thumbnail Images From YouTube Videos

Today 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 featured image for your post or for archive purposes or for any number of reasons. Let us take you through the process:

How to download thumbnail images from YouTube videos

There are two ways of doing this. Let’s discuss them one-by-one:

Auto-generated thumbnails download:

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. Just replace VIDEOID with your video’s id.

Small auto-generated thumbnail 1 [120×90]

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

Small auto-generated thumbnail 2 [120×90]

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

Small auto-generated thumbnail 3 [120×90]

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

Custom thumbnails 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 [320×180]

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

Medium custom thumbnail at 4:3 ratio [480×360]

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

Large custom thumbnail [1280×720 or 1920×1080]

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

(only available if video has 720p or 1080p option)

Now if you want to use a thumbnail from your previously uploaded YouTube video or from someone else’s video, then you know what to do.

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