Skip to content

Down the left side

Down the left side

The menu functions running down the left side of the screen complement the functionality of the ones that run across the top and focus more on content. You can toggle what’s shown on the left side by clicking the Guide icon:


» Home: This option is selected by default when you arrive at the YouTube home page. When this section is selected, the main window of the site shows

you lists of channels and videos that YouTube assumes you’ll like.

» Trending: Videos that are now popular on YouTube can be found here.

A video can make it to the trending list for many reasons, but it appears the

same for all viewers, regardless of personal preference. The list is updated frequently as videos dip in and out of relevance.

» Subscriptions: See the most recent uploads for all the channels you’ve

subscribed to, from most recent to oldest. If your channel is new and you

haven’t  subscribed  to  anyone  yet,  this  listing  displays  suggested  genres  and creators to get you started. Subscriptions are a good way to keep track of the channels you like on YouTube. You can control how your subscriptions are organized on your home page by using the following tools:

Manage: Clicking this link takes you to a separate page listing all your subscriptions, as shown in Figure 2-2. Here you’re given the option to unsubscribe from any channels as well as alter their notifi                                        n settings. (Notifi                       are denoted by the Bell icon in the top right of the screen.) You have the choice of All, Personalized, or None. All notifi               you of any and all upload activity. Personalized notifi             you of only certain uploads, based on a variety of variables, including your watch history. Finally, None turns off all notifi         if you really just don’t want to be bothered (or if you just like surprises).

Arrangement: To the right of Manage are two icons. The leftmost icon, featuring  a  cluster  of  six  boxes,  reconfi   the  page  to  display  as  a  grid, showing only thumbnails, titles, and views. The icon to the right, with three squares and three rectangles, lists all uploads instead, allowing you to view the fi part  of  the  video  description  without  having  to  click  the  actual video.



















A list of your subscriptions.



» Library: This gives you quick, abridged views inside all the other menu functions on the left.

  • History: By default, you can easily access the eight most recent videos you’ve You can view a more extensive record of your watch

history by clicking See All, which we delve into a bit more below.”

  • Watch Later: Videos you’ve fl for viewing at a later time can be found

using the clock-shaped icon. We go over how to manage this playlist later

in this chapter, also in the section “Down the left side.”

  • Playlists: Playlists are a great way to organize videos you’ve discovered on This section highlights some of your playlists, if and when you’ve

made them. We go into more detail about playlists and their importance in

Chapter 3.

  • Liked Videos: Any videos you like (covered later in the chapter, in the section

Watching a Video) will populate on this automatically generated playlist.

  • Purchases: Any movies or content you buy on YouTube appear here, to view at your

» History: Clicking History — or See All on the Library — takes you to a new page cataloging all your account activity, including your watch history, search

history, comments, community, and live chat, as shown in Figure 2-3. This page can be deeply embarrassing to visit, because it can reveal to you just how many unboxing videos and TikTok compilations you’ve watched in the past week. But whereas this section can lead to feelings of shame and regret for time wasted, it can also be an interesting insight into your viewing.






















The Watch History page.



You’ll end up seeing a lot of videos on YouTube, and at some point you’ll want to go back to see what you’ve viewed or to watch a particular video again. The History section is a great way to keep track of what you’ve watched and to analyze your viewing.

Your watch history is what YouTube’s algorithms pay attention to when

populating the suggested videos on the front page of your account.


Unlike with real-world history — the stuff recorded in encyclopedias and history books — you do have some control over this list. A few controls here let you “rewrite history,” as described in this list:

  • Clear All Watch History: This is the nuclear If you’re ready to undo everything you’ve ever watched and start over with a clean slate, this does

just what it says and deletes all the information from your watch history. If you don’t want to clear your whole watch history, you can also delete individual videos on a case-by-case basis by hovering the mouse cursor over them and clicking the X that appears.

  • Pause Watch History: This puts your memory on hold and allows you to watch videos without their being added to either your history or your

video recommendations from YouTube. If you know that you’re about to binge-watch a bunch of funny animal videos and don’t want to be recom- mended videos like these, this is the option to select. Of course, this


strategy works only if you pause before you watch the videos. Otherwise,

you’ll be in there clearing your watch history before you know it.

  • Manage All Activity: This takes you to a separate page that allows you to

access more info about your account’s activity, including reviewing

YouTube  searches  you’ve  conducted.  This  is  helpful  when  you  forget  to save a video, and you want to reconstruct the search history. Clickable links allow you to instantly return to the YouTube search results for that query. You can also access various other activity settings associated with your Google account.

» Watch Later: The Watch Later link opens a new page that shows you a

private playlist of all the videos you’ve chosen to watch at a later time. Your

channel subscribers can’t see this playlist unless you make it public. After you’ve watched the content, you can quickly remove it from the playlist. If you use a streaming device attached to your TV, this can be your TV line-up for the evening. You can easily add videos to the Watch Later playlist — or any playlist, for that matter — as described in the following list:

  • Add Videos: If you hover the mouse cursor over a video thumbnail, a

clock-shaped icon appears. Clicking this icon automatically adds a video to

your Watch Later playlist. Or if you’re watching a video but don’t have time to fi          it, you can save it to your Watch Later playlist (as discussed later in this chapter, in the section “Watching a video”). A playlist is useful for

organizing the videos you like or want to watch later. For example, you can collect  all  the  Taylor  Swift  videos  you’ve  watched  into  one  country  power- house playlist. A playlist is also a great way to engage viewers with your content.  (For  more  on  how  content  engages  viewers,  see  Chapter  3.)

Hovering the mouse cursor over a video thumbnail also reveals a secondary button, named Add to Queue. If you want to watch a series of videos back-to-back in one session without adding them to a playlist, use this button to queue them up so that they play, one after the other, without interruption.

  • Removing Videos: When you hover over a video, you see a small icon on the right, composed of a row of three small Clicking this icon opens a

dropdown menu that gives you the option to remove the video from your Watch  Later  playlist.  (This  function  applies  to  other  playlists  as  well.)  This  is a  great  way  to  clean  out  your  Watch  Later  playlist  if  it’s  getting  tedious.  You can also move a video to the top or bottom of the list, add it to the queue, or add it to a more unique playlist. You can also rearrange the play order of the videos on your list by hovering over the two lines on the left of each video, clicking, and then dragging.

If an uploader deletes a video, it’s automatically removed from any and all

of your playlists.



  • Play All: This option allows you to play all videos on the Watch Later playlist as they However, if you want to spice things up, you can set it to


» Liked Videos: This is the fi       section that appears by default on your home page when you fi             start your YouTube account. It functions in exactly the

same capacity as your Watch Later playlist, except that videos are added whenever you click to like them, a function we explore later in this chapter, in the section “Watching a video.”

» Purchases: If you happen to purchase any content on YouTube, an additional option appears. You use this option to view all purchases you have made on

YouTube or Google Play. You can watch again any movies you have purchased —

and at any time.

» Playlists: The playlist section is where you can see all the recent playlists you have created or saved. You can click on any one of your playlists here to easily

access and modify a playlist.

» Subscriptions: Not to be confused with the previous Subscriptions button,

this section alphabetically lists the channels you’re subscribed to and denotes,

with  a  small  blue  dot,  whether  you’ve  seen  their  most  recent  activity.  Clicking any of the subscriptions takes you straight to that channel. (Keep in mind that subscriptions are a good way to keep track of the channels you like on YouTube.)

You may have now seen in the Guide more than a few references to subscrip- tions. Subscriptions and subscription management are a big deal on YouTube because they serve to support a strong connection between a viewer and a channel.

» More from YouTube: This list gives you quick access to some popular features and video categories:

  • YouTube Premium: This paid-subscription service lets you view YouTube without ads, play videos in the background of your phone or mobile device,

access exclusive original content, and download content, including on

YouTube Music’s app.

  • Movies/Shows: These items are available for purchase YouTube also

off       some movies and television programs for free.

  • Gaming: This one showcases popular gaming content and live streams across all of You can subscribe to the category as a whole or

browse individually.


  • Live: Live displays popular live content streaming on You can also subscribe to the category as a whole.
  • Fashion: You can fi popular content As with the previous two

categories, you can subscribe or view at your pleasure.

» Masthead: Last but not least, the largest element on the YouTube landing

page is an advertisement called a masthead — sometimes with and some-

times without its own, embedded video. The ad probably isn’t what you came to YouTube to see, but ad revenue keeps the lights on and the video fl

If you’d rather not look at the big banner ad, you can usually close it by clicking the Close Ad button in one of the banner’s corners.