YouTube Channel associated with the wrong Google version of yourself? Here's a fix!

Posted by Paul Braren on Mar 28 2013 in
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  • How to move a YouTube Channel association from one Google Account to another. An admittedly somewhat advanced procedure.

    This works if:

    • you're willing to delete the YouTube Channel that is currently associated with your primary Google account, the one you regularly use for stuff like Gmail, Google+, etc.
    • that same YouTube channel was created before May 2009, explained here
    • you have a good reason to want to do this
    • a willingness to take this risk upon yourself
    • able to read/heed Google's warnings, each step of the way
      I'm not recommending this procedure. I'm just saying it's what worked for me.

    DISCLAIMER: Be careful, you're at your own risk here, this article just outlines the success I had following Google instructions. Your results may vary. The procedures Google uses may change at any time. Any support you might get is from Google, in their forums here.

    These instructions were written after I performed this migration last week, and I have no way to repeat this procedure to double-check my work. So please, if you find any issues with the below information, please let me know by contacting me, or by leaving a comment below the article, so I can make appropriate changes.

    Ok, with all that out of the way, this article is intended to be the article I wish existed somewhere, back when I was prepping for this mildly scary procedure last week. It turns out that getting this all done wasn't really that tough in the end. Nothing was lost, other than some hours researching this, and the deletion of a mostly empty YouTube Channel I didn't care about. In the end, I kept the YouTube Channel I do care about, and it's finally associated with the real me. Excellent. Now maybe I can save others a bit of time by putting all the info in one place.

    Let's get started with some important conventions, to help keep things straight:

    Before the move: is the Google login identity, aka username, of the Google account you consider primary, for example, used for Gmail, Google+, etc., and is associated with the

    "YouTube Channel I Don't Mind Deleting" , the one you can do away with, the only way I found that this whole YouTube Channel move from one identity to another can actually work. is the Google login identity of the account associated with

    "YouTube Channel I Want To Keep", with a library of videos with followers that you don't want to affect in any way.

    After the move: associated with "YouTube Channel I Want To Keep", so Google+ Hangouts On Air recordings go where you want them to go, automatically, at last! I haven't tested this yet though, I admit. still be available as well (if you want to keep it, but you don't have to)

    1) Read (just read) the process overview first

    Good place to start:

    which explains what you'll have to do first:

    Close or delete your YouTube account

    If you are using your Google+ identity on YouTube, you can’t separately delete your YouTube account. You must first revert to a username or downgrade Google+ to close your YouTube account.

    Closing your YouTube account will permanently delete your videos, channel, and profile. You will not be able to open a new account with the same username.

    If you still wish to close your YouTube account, please follow these steps:

    1. Make sure you are signed into YouTube, then go to your advanced account settings.
    2. Click Close Account.

    You may still see thumbnails of your videos on the site as it takes a while to update and synchronize. Please be assured that your videos have been removed from the site and the thumbnails will be removed shortly.

    So for me, like the warning above explains, I was unable to close my "YouTube Channel I Don't Mind Deleting" (there was no option for it), because my Google+ profile was still associated with my YouTube channel. So it was time to switch back to a YouTube username. I logged in as and followed these instructions:

    which explains:

    Switch back to a YouTube username (Revert to username)

    You can switch back from using a Google+ profile identity to a traditional YouTube username:

    1. Make sure you’re signed into YouTube, and go to YouTube account settings
    2. Click Disconnect Google+, found below your email address.
    3. If you had an old YouTube username: You will then be asked to confirm that you want to revert your YouTube channel to your old username. Click Rename channel and your identity will be reset to your old username. Your old avatar (if you had one) will be restored as well.
    4. If you never had a YouTube-specific username: You will then be able to enter a YouTube username. Follow the instructions and then click Create username. Your identity and Channel URL will be updated to reflect your new username, and your Google+ photo will no longer appear as your YouTube avatar.

    If you change your mind later, you can always [switch back to using a Google+ profile identity](

    Sorry, I have no screenshots of this step.

    videos, with Google Takeout

    With the prerequisite out of the way, time to login to YouTube as to save all my original video files on the channel we're about to delete, done with Google Takeout:

    This process takes a while, and is time consuming. I confess, I gave up, since there was no reliable way to kick off the huge downloads of all the files at once. And I didn't really care about what was there anyhow.

     videos, with Google Takeout (Optional)

    Optionally, you may wish to login to YouTube as to save all the original video files, just in case something goes wrong now or someday in the future, done with Google Takeout:

    Of course, the whole point of this procedure is so you don't lose your "YouTube Channel I Want To Keep" videos at all. You just want to change which Google account is associated with them. This download is just a precaution, in case you make a mistake somewhere.

    Google identity

    Here's the process, which is from back on Step 1 above, for convenience, the URL here, which explains you visit advanced account settings at, but be sure to login using the You should now see the Close Account button:


    Follow these instructions, by logging in with your that is still associated with your "YouTube Channel I Want To Keep"

    which explains:

    Unlink my YouTube account from a Google Account

    Unlinking is only possible for legacy YouTube accounts created before May 2009. YouTube accounts created after May 2009 cannot be unlinked from the Google Account.

    To unlink a legacy YouTube account from a Google Account, follow the steps below. Please note that you will be immediately asked to link to another Google Account.

    1. Make sure you're signed out of all Google Accounts and visit this page:
    2. Enter your YouTube username and your old YouTube password from before you linked to your Google Account, then enter the verification code.
    3. Next, click Unlink My Accounts.
    4. You'll need to re-link your YouTube account to another Google Account. You can link it to an existing Google Account that you own, or create a new one.

    Each Google Account can only be linked to one YouTube account and vice versa; if a Google Account already has a linked YouTube account, you won't be able to link another one.

    I found the above description to be valid, but the procedure is kicked off by visiting, but this time with your You should see the Change Google Accounts button:


    When this is all over, you don't have to associate your channel with your Google+ profile, it's your choice at:


    That's it! You can test by logging into either of your Google identities, and both will go right into the same YouTube Channel, the one you want to keep.

    For me, I didn't need, as there was nothing in there of value, and was never shared with anybody (had been used just for YouTube). So I deleted it using this procedure, this was risky. Any new video comment notifications are now arriving at my preferred email address now anyway, so it's all worked out nicely for me in the end.

    Hopefully you found this article accurate and helpful. Please let us know how this procedure goes for you, with a quick comment below, and consider subscribing to the popular TinkerTry IT @ home YouTube Channel. Thank you!