Videos can be deleted from YouTube for many reasons.
The platform is becoming more and more child-friendly, so there are more restrictions on what kind of videos you can upload and how you describe them with titles, descriptions, and tags.
Even though people think of the content as deleted, most videos are actually just blocked, making them unavailable to be seen for public.
They are still stored in the YouTube platform’s database and my goal is to help you uncover ways to still access them.
Videos being stored in YouTube's database is what makes it possible to view them again, even if you can’t find them with a basic search.
There are different ways to watch deleted YouTube videos depending on if you have the URL or not.
In this guide, you can discover which tools you can use for either case, as well as some tips on how to find URLs for restricted videos.
Keep in mind that regular changes to YouTube’s policies can make finding deleted videos more difficult with time. My goal is to try and keep this guide up to date with the latest policies.
How To Find URLs Of Deleted Videos
Finding a deleted YouTube video is easier if you have its URL.
If you open the URL of a deleted video, you will see YouTube’s “Video Unavailable” message. But that is fine, and it's a first step in being able to watch a deleted video on YouTube.
However, if you don't have the URL of a video, you will need to explore different ways to obtain it.
You can try to find a URL of a deleted video by:
- Checking your YouTube history
- Checking your liked videos
- Checking your playlists
If you know when you last viewed the video you want, you can open your history and search for it.
It should still appear, even if it has been deleted. You’ll see the unavailable message, but you can copy the URL to use later.
If you liked the video before it was removed, it should appear in your Liked Videos section.
Open this list from the options on the left side of the YouTube page. There might be a message at the top of the page that says “Unavailable videos are hidden”.
If so, click on the Options (three dots) button on the left side, above where it says Play All and Shuffle. There, select “Show unavailable videos”.
Now you can scroll through the list and find the video in question.
The thumbnail will probably be blanked and the title will appear as [Private video] or [Unavailable video], making it hard to be sure which video it is.
However, you can still open it and copy the URL. You might have to play some lottery in order to guess the right URL, but it is still doable.
The other option is to search for the video in any playlists that it was saved to. Maybe you saved it yourself or you know of someone else who did.
This includes your Watch Later list. You can open your Library then click on Playlists, or search for another user’s playlists and scroll through.
As with the other options, the video will appear as private or unavailable, but you can open the page to get the URL.
How To Watch Deleted YouTube Videos With URL
If you were able to find the URL for the deleted video using the suggestions mentioned above, you can now use the following methods for actually watching the content.
Internet Archive WayBack Machine
The Internet Archive is a digital library that stores billions of web pages for consultation.
Its Wayback Machine is an excellent tool for rediscovering pages that are no longer accessible, which includes deleted YouTube videos.
All you need to access the deleted content is an URL and the Wayback Machine can search through its servers and find what you’re looking for.
After opening the Wayback Machine website, you just need to paste the video’s URL into the search bar.
There's obviously a chance that Wayback Machine didn't archive the URL, and in such case, you will not be able to view the deleted content.
If it has a copy, then you can watch it straight away. You can also download some of the content from the archive if you sign up for an account.
Not all videos can be found with the Wayback Machine. The archive mostly focuses on content that gets a lot of attention.
Google Search Operators
If the video is still available online, restricted or not, you can use specialized commands on Google for more precise searches. You can do this in two ways:
- Searching for cache: URL
- Searching for the video’s watch ID (v=watch ID)
Here’s the first example. If the URL of the deleted video is:
then you should search for:
If there is a cached version of the video on Google, then you should be able to access it this way.
Using the watch ID works in a similar way. You won’t need the entire URL, just the characters that are at the end. Here’s the same URL as an example:
The watch ID is 12345, so you should search for:
Once again, Google’s cached version should show up in the search.
You can alter the existing URL to embed the video yourself.
This can be done because, as mentioned before, YouTube videos aren’t removed, just restricted.
Many times, they are still visible to the creator, meaning they can be embedded.
To embed the video, you’ll need to remove watch?v= and change it to embed/. Here’s an example:
- Original URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abc123
- New URL: https://www.youtube.com/embed/abc123
It’s that simple. You should now be able to watch the deleted video on your browser.
How To Watch Deleted YouTube Videos Without URL
If you don’t have the video’s URL, you have less of a chance to watch that content. However, you can still throw a Hail Mary with one of the methods described below.
Google Search Operators
Here’s another way to use Google’s Search Operators. If you know the title of the video, you can search for it along with the website you believe it’s on.
You might be focused on YouTube, but the content you’re looking for can be available on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
If you want to try YouTube, you can do it like this:
- Open Google.
- Enter site:www.youtube.com then the title of the video. For example “Greatest Soccer Goals”. So, search for site:www.youtube.com Greatest Soccer Goals.
- Look through the results for the video you want.
The same will work for another website. You can take Facebook as an example.
Try searching on Google for for site:www.facebook.com Greatest Soccer Goals.
Other Video Platforms
YouTube might not be the only place with the video you want to watch. Even if it has been removed from one platform, it might be available on others.
Reddit is a fantastic platform for discussing and finding information.
By using the /r/tipofmytongue subreddit, you can ask other users who might have seen the same video as you if they know of another way to rediscover it.
If you can, include the title and a good description of what you’re searching for.
The other Reddit users might have a downloaded copy of the video or a link to another website where you can watch it from.
How to Watch Your Own Deleted Videos (With or Without URL)
If you’re reading this article because your own videos have been deleted by YouTube or your account has been hacked, then you can contact YouTube Support.
You can explain which videos have been deleted and try to get them back online, or at least available for you to watch again privately.
In this guide, you have seen different ways to find deleted YouTube videos.
In general, deleted videos are just restricted and still exist on the platform’s servers. Depending on if you have the URL or not, you can try various methods and tools.
The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine is an amazing tool for rediscovering archived content. Google’s cached videos are also helpful when using certain Search Operators. And embedding the video by altering the URL is another great option.
If you don’t have the link to the video, trying other platforms, including Facebook and Vimeo, can work well. Google Search Operators can be useful once again.
With some luck though, you can use the methods in this guide to enjoy content that you’ve been missing.
Have you tried any of them? Let us know your best solution!