Summary: Uploading videos from your iPhone couldn’t be easier… once you know how to do it. If you’re like me, your first instinct was to try to upload via the YouTube app, only to discover this isn’t possible. It seems that Apple has tried so hard to make the process dummy-proof they ignore what many of us would view as the more intuitive way to make this process happen. At any rate, once you’ve read this post I guarantee that you’ll be a YouTubing machine. Skip to the end if you’re looking for the short version.
***iOS 7 UPDATE*** - Check out this comment from digibud to learn how this process has changed for owners of newer iPhone 5S or 5C, as well as those with a 4, 4S and 5 who’ve upgraded to iOS 7. I’ll update this post with details and screenshots soon.
Let me just start out this post by saying I’m aware that I haven’t discovered something new here. But given that it took me a little digging to figure out how to post a video directly from my iPhone 4S yesterday, I figured I can’t be the only one who struggled with this on my first attempt. With that in mind, I thought I should add another walk through to the growing list already in Google, which I unfortunately only discovered after figuring it out on my own. (I tend to learn by trial and error because it seems to stick better).
Anyway, when I came back from lunch the other day I walked in on two of our office’s puppies meeting/playing for the first time and knew I needed to share the event with the world…. Unfortunately, as you can see in the image below, it’s tough to get a good still shot of two fast moving and rambunctious pups (especially in this lighting):
Even if I had gotten a clear shot, how was I going to convey the fun these dogs were having in a photo? This was begging to be captured in video. So I went ahead and quickly recorded a 12 second clip to post to YouTube and social media before realizing I’d never uploaded to YouTube from my phone. Still, I figured it couldn’t be that difficult – I’d just log into our account through my YouTube app and surely there will be an “Upload” option, just like there is when you log in on a computer. Right? Wrong. It seems like the iPhone YouTube app (at least in iOS 6) is built for front end user interaction only (watching, commenting, etc.), at least as far as I can tell. I knew there still had to be a way and I was determined to figure it out, but to be safe I put together my Plan B – I decided I would email it to myself so that I could post from my computer later if I couldn’t figure it out on my phone.
After thinking about my data transfer limits on my Verizon Wireless plan I decided to cancel my email and log in to our WiFi network on my phone before sending. I’ve never gone over my data usage allowance, but I like to exercise caution rather than get hit with an unexpectedly and unnecessarily high bill. So I started sending the email, cancelled, got on our WiFi and then began again – I located and selected the video in my camera roll, clicked the familiar “share” button in the bottom left-corner and sent the message:
The email went through quickly without issue and I received it on my desktop computer in the office within minutes… but it was the detour of getting on the VDW WiFi network that actually indirectly led me to the YouTube upload option. As I said, I cancelled my original message to get on WiFi and then resent. But it was when I was prepping the message the second time that I noticed there were fewer “sharing” options than I’m used to seeing when I share a photo. I share photos much more frequently so these are the 9 options I usually see:
But when you share a video, these 3 are the only sharing options that pop up:
There are only 3 options, but as you can see, the third one is YouTube. I’m sure you can also see how it’s easy to overlook given that “YouTube” is never a sharing option when you share photos and my intention of “sharing” through the share button in this case was to email from the outset (after not finding another way when specifically looking), so I hadn’t even reviewed these “share” options. I was just in a hurry to email the video clip and get back to figuring out how to post directly from my phone in hopes that I wouldn’t even have to resort to Plan B. I hadn’t even considered this as an area that might allow me to post directly to YouTube. I thought certainly you’d have to go through a “YouTube App” of some sort. Besides, 99% of the sharing I do is through email or text messages, unless I’m sharing on FB and Twitter, but in those cases I do so directly through those apps.
Anyway, I hadn’t been paying close attention, but when I was sending the email, I had sort of noticed that the sharing options screen looked different somehow, I just hadn’t bothered to explore in what way. Curiosity got me after sending the email so I went back to check out the options and there it was, right where the makers of an intelligent smartphone (redundancy?) would put it for ease of use. But it’s important to know that you’ll still need an account, which I would recommend setting up using your computer first, especially if you’d like a YouTube account without being forced into a Gmail account
Side Note: The YouTube “sharing” icon is the same as the default YouTube app icon for the app that used to come preinstalled with earlier versions of iOS. As you may or may not know, with the release of iOS 6, Apple stopped including YouTube forcing you to go to the App Store if you wanted it. The icon is also now different, but for some reason the blast from the past YouTube “share” icon offers a bit of iOS 5 nostalgia.
How to Upload Videos to YouTube from iPhone
So go get yourself a YT account now if you don’t already have one and then I’ll resume today’s lesson…
Go on, we’ll wait….
… You good? Great, welcome back! Now let’s get this show on the road.
So, go back to your camera roll and select the video you want to upload to YouTube, click the share button in the bottom left and then the YouTube icon in the bottom right. Now your iPhone will prompt you to enter your YouTube account login credentials:
If you can’t get past that screen I think it’s time we had a conversation about creating secure yet memorable passwords, but that’s a topic for another day… Next YouTube prompts you for some basic info about your video. You’ll have to scroll to complete it, but it’s really only a handful of fields to complete, and few (if any) are even mandatory:
Click publish and watch a progress bar fill up until your video completely uploads. And that’s all there is to it. Well, almost…. There’s still a bit of a lag before the video is live and accessible on the web, but it’s only a matter of minutes. I’ll hand the mic over to Dave Taylor for a few words on that, as his iPhone/YouTube upload tutorial from 2010 covers the lag specifically. With comments starting in March of 2010, Dave was obviously using a much older iPhone (3G) and iOS (iOS 3.x), but the entire process for uploading videos to YouTube is largely unchanged.
By the way, if you’ve got a lot of pictures and videos in your camera roll, to the point it’s difficult to find the video you’re trying to upload, try the little trick I just found in this forum message. Awesome!
Anyway, whether in early 2010 or late 2012, the truncated version of iPhone to YouTube upload is as follows:
- Create a YouTube account (preferably on your computer)
- Select your video from your iPhone’s Camera Roll, click the share button in the bottom left corner, then the YouTube icon in the bottom right
- Enter your YouTube login information
- Enter your video details
- Upload and wait a few minutes for your video to become available!
- Make the world watch your puppy videos
BTW, if you’re curious about how long this went on, I’d say virtually uninterrupted for about 4 hours. One might get distracted by their owner for a moment and the other one would pass out, but neither got a break for more than 5 minutes.
Anyway, I hope this unnecessarily detailed how-to video has helped you figure out how to upload your iPhone videos to YouTube. Later this month I’ll be writing a post about how you can automatically post new YouTube videos directly to your social media accounts as well. In fact that that’s the post I set out to write today before realizing that I’m probably not the only one who didn’t know how to post to YouTube in the first place.