How to Watch and Chat on YouTube Live Stream

YouTube Live Feature Image

YouTube is one of the most popular video websites out there. While many people use YouTube on a daily basis to watch prerecorded videos about virtually any topic, a large number of people also enjoy watching live streams on YouTube as well. This article will explain how to watch YouTube Live as well as how to use some of the YouTube Live features.

Accessing YouTube Live

To find a live stream, go to the YouTube home page and look on the bar on the left for the “Live” section. Click this to see all the live channels. You can also click on “Gaming” to see all the game-related live streams.

Youtube Live Access

When you click “Live,” you will be redirected to the YouTube Live channel. From here, you can see Featured Live Streams, current live streams (Live Now), recently completed live streams (Recent Live Streams), and Upcoming Live Streams.

“Live Now” means the stream is currently airing. If you click on it, you’ll be taken to the most recent point of the stream. You can tell whether the live is still going based on the “Live” display next to the volume controls.

Youtube Live Live Video

If you select a live stream that is in progress but want to watch it from the beginning, you can rewind the live to any point by using the slide bar. You can also skip back to the current place at any time should you chose to skip around within the video.

Videos under the section titled “Recent Live Streams” are the YouTube Live sessions that have recently ended. If you click on one of these videos, you can watch the the stream in its entirety, much like watching a regular video. This is a good way to catch up with a live stream you may have missed.

Upcoming Live Streams are YouTube Live events scheduled to air later. Directly under the video’s image and title, you will see the date and time the live stream will take place. You can also see who is hosting it and visit the host’s profile.

Youtube Live Upcoming Info

If you click on the “Set Reminder” button, YouTube will show an alert in your browser when it goes live. If you have YouTube on your phone, it’ll pop up there, too.

Youtube Live Upcoming Reminder

Chat within YouTube Live

While watching YouTube Live can be a great way to feel like you’re seeing something as it happens, the chat feature is also a great way to connect with other people watching the live stream. In fact, the chat function within YouTube Live has a lot to offer, so let’s take a deeper look at each function.

How to Chat on YouTube Live

To chat, you just need to click to watch a live currently in progress, then look to the right of the video for the chat.

Youtube Live Chat Feature

Toward the bottom of the chat feature, you will have the option to type something and send it into the chat. Just click where it says “Say something … ” type your message, then press the “send” button to the right. (Note: You can only send up to 200 characters in a single chat message, and emojis count as characters.)

Disabling the Chat Feature

Sometimes a YouTube Live host will choose to disable the chat function. If that’s the case, you will not see the chat on the right side of the screen. Instead, you will see a notice that says, “Chat is disabled for this live stream,” where the chat box typically appears.

Youtube Live Chat Disabled

Similarly, you can also opt to hide the chat yourself if you find it to be too distracting or vulgar. To do this, simply click on “hide chat” option at the bottom of the chat box.

Youtube Live Chat Hide Chat

While the chat will close, you can continue watching. Or, if you later decide to reopen the chat, you can do so by clicking “Show Chat.”

Youtube Live Chat Show Chat

Chat Limitations

Sometimes hosts will decide to only offer the chat to their subscribers. If this is the case, you will see a message that says “Subscribers only mode” where you would typically type to chat. If you choose to, you can click the “subscribe” button under the video to subscribe to the channel. This will allow you to start using the chat feature after five minutes.

Youtube Live Chat Subscribers

Retracting Messages

If you make an error in your chat message, or the cat walks across the keyboard, you can always remove your message. To do this, hover your mouse over your chat message, click the three dots on the right, and select “Remove.” This retracts your comment from the stream.

Youtube Live Chat Remove

Super Chat

At the bottom of the chat box, you’ll see a dollar-bill button. This lets you use Super Chat, which allows you to pay to give your message a boost.

Youtube Live Super Chat Button

When you activate Super Chat, you’ll have options to send an animated image (Super Sticker) or highlighted message (Super Chat).

Youtube Live Super Chat Feature

If you select Super Sticker, you will see multiple sticker options appear with dollar amounts attached to them. You can scroll through the options, then click one you like.

Youtube Live Super Sticker Choices

Once you select a sticker, you’ll see a message that asks if you want to send the sticker for the amount shown. You will also see how long your sticker will remain pinned in the chat, which will vary depending on the price of the sticker.

Youtube Live Super Sticker Send

If you select Super Chat, you’ll see a window asking for a message and an amount to pay. You can set the amount you pay at the bottom using the slider. The brackets are defined by your local currency, so fiddle around with the slider to see how much each tier is worth.

Youtube Live Super Chat Send

Super Chat messages appear in different colors depending on the money spent on them. The cheapest Super Chat will appear in dark blue, and the second cheapest will be light blue. This progresses to green, then yellow, orange, magenta, and finally, a red SuperChat for the big spenders. Red Super Chat messages start at around $100!

Each level of Super Chat has its own customization and persistence. The cheapest Super Chat will just show everyone in the chat that you donated. The second cheapest (light blue) unlocks the ability to type a message. Light blue Super Chats can have 50 characters, and this scales all the way to 350 characters for the most expensive option.

On the third cheapest tier (green), your message will be pinned. When this happens, your donation will “stick” to the top of the chat showing your avatar and donation amount. People can click this to see your message. The amount of time a donation will stay pinned scales with what was paid: two minutes for a green message, all the way to five hours for the most expensive tier.

Subscribing to a YouTube Channel

“Subscribing” during a YouTube Live is the same as subscribing to any YouTube channel. Videos from that uploader will appear on your subscription feed. You’ll also see any streams they’re currently doing as well as upcoming streams you may want to set reminders for.

Youtube Live Subscribe

After you subscribe, you can also click the bell and set it to send you notifications. This will alert you for every stream, regardless of whether you click “Set Reminder.”

Youtube Live Subscribe Notifications

Joining a YouTube Channel

People often confuse subscribing and joining on YouTube, but they work a bit differently. “Joining” is when you pay the streamer a monthly fee, usually around $5. When you pay, your chat name changes, you get an icon beside your name to show your support, and you unlock special emojis uploaded by the streamer. You may also get special benefits from the streamer, which you can read about when you click on “Join” and on the perks page before you pay.

Not every YouTube channel offers this option, but if they do, you will see the blue “Join” button next to the subscribe button when you visit the channel to watch a YouTube Live.

Youtube Live Join

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can anyone go live on YouTube?

Only users with a verified account can create YouTube Lives. Furthermore, only users with at least 1,000 subscribers can use the mobile version of YouTube Live.

2. Will I be able to see the chat if I watch a YouTube Live after it ends?

Once a YouTube Live ends, the video and the chat are both achieved together, so anyone who watches the live stream as a recording will also see the chat messages sent during the live.

3. Can I watch a YouTube Live without logging in to an account?

Yes, you can watch any YouTube video or live stream without logging in to your YouTube account. However, you cannot use the chat feature, subscribe, or set reminders if you aren’t logged in.

Image credit: Pexels

Megan Glosson
Megan Glosson

Megan Glosson is a freelance technology writer based in Nashville, TN. She has extensive experience working with everything from printers to smart home systems, and serves as the go-to “tech guru” for a small business that sells digital products. Megan has created thousands of articles for online publications and company blogs, including How-To Geek, Clean Email, and Review Geek. When she’s not writing, you will probably find Megan playing board games with her partner and two children or swimming in the pool. You can check out Megan’s entire portfolio on her website,

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox