YouTube Deleting Annotations on Videos in January

You know those annotations that are added to YouTube videos for extra clarification? If you don’t, it’s okay, as it’s probably the reason YouTube is doing away with them in a matter of weeks. It’s been awhile since you’ve been able to add them, and now they’re going to be removed altogether.

YouTube’s Decision

This is not a surprising decision at all since it’s been so long since YouTubers have been able to add them or edit them anyway. The writing was on the wall, and it definitely wasn’t on the video.

It used to be that when you were creating a video, you could add text, links, or spotlights to your videos to add extra clarification or to correct an oversight from when it was created. The tool was added to the YouTube creation process in 2008 in the form of a two-pane editor that had the video on one side and the annotations on the other.

However, watching videos in 2008 is very different than watching videos in 2018. Most of us aren’t watching videos on a computer anymore. In fact, more than 70% of videos are being viewed on mobile devices: phones, tablets, etc. The annotations can’t be seen on mobile devices.


Because of that, in March 2015 YouTube added interactive cards to videos. These are the circle-with-a-lower-case-“i” icons in the upper-right corner of a video. If they’re clicked or tapped, they become an interactive card with that additional information that used to be provided only by annotations.

This proved successful enough for YouTube that they discontinued the use of the annotations editor in May 2017. Annotations could no longer be added or edited on videos. Although, if a video was viewed on a desktop computer, the annotations could still be viewed.

As of January 15, though, those old annotations will no longer be viewable on even a desktop computer. YouTube is removing them altogether.


If you have older videos that relied on the annotations to provide additional information to viewers, you have very little time to go back and edit them. It kind of leaves YouTubers in the lurch. Although, most likely, they saw the writing on the wall and already took care of this after the annotations editor was removed last year.

Will this decision by YouTube affect you at all? Are you a creator who now has to go back and edit old videos? Or do you never even see the annotations as you’re one of the mobile users adding up to more than seventy percent of its usage? Let us know how you feel about YouTube eliminating annotations in 2019 in the comments section below.

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