When you are logged in to YouTube you should see your profile logo in the top right hand corner. Click this and then go to settings. From here, you need to click on the "view additional features" link which will then show you all of the YouTube features that are available and whether or not you have access to them.
As we can see, currently this test channel does not have access to features such as custom thumbnails. But fear not because there are no views, subscriber, or watchtime requirements to use this tool. All you need to do is verify your YouTube account. And, you can do that from this very screen.
Next to your profile logo and channel name at the top, you will find a blue "Verify" button. Click that to start the process. To verify your YouTube account, Google will send you a verification code to a phone number either through an automated voice or text message which you can choose on this screen. Do note that you can only verify two YouTube accounts per phone number per year.
Once you've put your phone number in, click "Submit" and you should see this screen that asks you for that verification code. Whichever solution you decide to use, you should almost instantly get a ping on your phone. In this example, I requested a text message which sent me the verification code. Now, all you need to do is go back to your computer, input the 6-digit verification code, click "Submit" and that will verify your account which instantly gives you access to YouTube tools such as adding custom thumbnails to your videos.
YouTube custom thumbnails are not the only feature you will unlock when you verify your YouTube account. You'll also be able to upload videos of longer than 15 minutes and on a desktop computer, live stream from your account. In order to do that on a mobile device, you will need 1,000 subscribers.
There are, of course, many more YouTube features you can unlock such as custom URLs, monetization, and merchandising. Click on the video below which will tell you everything you need to know. But, the features that you unlock when you verify your account are the bedrock of any successful channel, especially custom thumbnails. So, there's no reason not to do that right now.
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