How to Upload 4K Videos From a PC to YouTube

Export your video with a resolution of 3840x2160, and then click the camera icon on YouTube

What to Know

  • Export your file in 3840x2160, and the MP4 file type, H.264 video codec, and AAC audio codec if possible. 
  • YouTube Website: Camera icon > Upload Video > Select Files > Open > Next > Next > Next, select a visibility option, and click Publish
  • Verify your YouTube account to upload videos longer than 15 minutes.

This article explains how to upload 4K videos from a PC to YouTube.

How to Upload to YouTube in 4K From Your PC

To upload to YouTube in 4K from your PC, you need to export your video in 4K using the video editing software of your choice. It doesn’t matter what app you use for this, as long as it supports exporting in 4K.

For the best results, your video editing app should also support the MP4 file type, H.264 video codec, and AAC audio codec. You can upload 4K videos in different formats, including raw footage from your camera, and YouTube will process and convert it in most cases, but sticking to YouTube's recommendations minimizes the chance of upload errors.

Check YouTube’s list of supported file formats before you upload. If yours isn’t on the list, convert it before you upload. If you don’t have a video editing app, you can use a free video converter.

Here’s how to upload to YouTube in 4K from your PC:

  1. Using the video editing software of your choice, export your video with the following settings:

    • File type: MP4
    • Encoder: H.264
    • Resolution: 3840x2160
    • Frame Rate: Native (the frame rate used to record the video)
    • Bit Rate: 85 Mbps
    • Audio Codec: AAC
    • Sample Rate: 44100 Hz
    • Bit Rate: 320+ Kbps
    MP4 and Export settings for a 4K YouTube video highlighted in Filmora Wondershare.
  2. Click the camera icon in the upper right corner of the YouTube website.

    The camera icon highlighted in the upper right corner of the YouTube website.
  3. Click Upload Video.

    Upload video highlighted on YouTube.
  4. Click Select Files.

    Select Files highlighted on YouTube.
  5. Locate and select your 4K video, and click Open.

    Video file and Open highlighted in a YouTube video upload.

    Your video will automatically start uploading, but you need to leave the browser window open.

  6. Enter a title and description, then scroll down.

    Title and description highlighted in a YouTube video upload.
  7. Adjust the audience settings if necessary, then click Next.

    The audience section and NEXT highlighted in a YouTube video upload.
  8. Click Next.

    Next highlighted in a YouTube video upload.

    You can add subtitles, and end screen, or end cards here if you want to, but these aren’t required.

  9. Click Next.

    Next highlighted in a YouTube video upload.

    If YouTube has detected any copyright flags on your video by this point, they’ll appear on this screen.

  10. Click Public if you want the video to be publicly available.

    Public highlighted in the visibility section of a YouTube video upload.

    Select Private or Unlisted if you don't want the general public to see your video, and Schedule if you don't want to publish right away.

  11. Click Publish.

    Publish highlighted in a YouTube video upload.
  12. Leave the window open while the video uploads.

    Uploading 88% highlighted in a YouTube video upload.
  13. When the video is done uploading, you’ll see a message that it’s processing. You can close the window now, or leave it open for a visual indication of the processing time.

    Processing HD highlighted in a 4K YouTube video upload.

    It can take a long time for YouTube to process videos, and it won’t be available in 4K at first.

How to Upload Large 4K Video Files to YouTube

The process of uploading 4K videos to YouTube isn’t any different from uploading other videos, as long as you have encoded the video with the right settings. You also need to verify your YouTube account though, if you want to upload long videos. To verify a YouTube account, you need a phone number where you can receive calls or text messages.

Unverified accounts are limited to 15-minute uploads, while verified accounts can upload videos that are up to 12 hours long and 256 GB in size.

What Are the Best Export Settings for 4K YouTube Videos?

YouTube accepts a range of file types and settings, but they do have some recommendations that will help you avoid upload errors and make your videos look as good as they can on the platform.

For example, YouTube recommends the MP4 format, the H.264 video codec, and the AAC-LC audio codec. Sticking as close as possible to the recommended YouTube settings decreases the likelihood of running into any problems.

YouTube maintains a list of the recommended 4K settings. These are specifically for partners who use the YouTube Studio Content Manager, but you can use them as guidelines when exporting from your video editing software even if you aren’t a partner.

  • Why is my 4K video not 4K on YouTube?

    You can only stream videos in 4K if your device supports it. Because it takes a while to process 4K videos, the video will be available in lower quality before it can be watched in 4K.

  • How long do 4K videos take to process on YouTube?

    It depends on the framerate and the length of the video, but an hour-long video with a frame rate of 30 FPS might take up to 4 hours to finish processing.

  • How do I download 4K YouTube videos?

    To download YouTube videos, you need a YouTube Premium subscription. Select Download under any YouTube video. Downloaded videos can be accessed offline through the Downloads tab.

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