Youtube video watching history

In order to access and download your data from YouTube you will need to use Google Takeout which is a Google project that allows users of Google products, such as YouTube and Gmail, to export their data to a downloadable file.

Google Takeout has a very simple and intuitive UI that will simplify the process. To start you can go to the Google Takeout URL: Once there, you have the option to select all the Google products you can export your data from. Since this document is dedicated to YouTube, we will click in Deselect all selections and then, only choose YouTube.

As soon as you selecting YouTub and before going on, two options will be available to you.

The first one is called Various formats. By clicking in here, you will be prompted by how your data will be downloaded and its formats (e.g, video metadata will be in CVS files as well as video interactions, playlist, channels, subscriptions, etc). It’s worth mentioning that the record information (Youtube search and watch history) is the only one that allows you to select in which format you want that specific data to be downloaded. You can choose between HTML and JSON.

The second option is called All YouTube data included (as default but it will change depending on how many data types you choose to download). Here, you will be able to choose specific YouTube data for export. You can choose among several options including channels, songs-library-music, comments, video history, kids, playlists, etc.

Once you’ve chosen your formats and data types, click on Next step. In the next page you will be able to select the destinations in which your data will transfer to. Among the available options are: Send download link by email (could be the most useful), Add to Drive, Add to OneDrive, etc. Then, you need to select the frequency in which your data will be downloaded. You can agree to do a complete export or do 6 exports during the course of a year (exports will happen every 2 months).


Downloading yourself

Now you just need to wait for your data to be ready to be downloaded. You will receive an email that will allow you to download it according to the destination you choose. Google does this process very quickly so you won’t have to wait more than a couple of minutes. Lastly, once Google has finished the process and the data was able to be downloaded, you can see the folders and its formations according to your previous selections (mostly CSV files).

Sending to Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Box

Although your Youtube data can be transfered to these online storage options, consider this an online backup or extension of your local storage: once at the destination, your data will be static, and not part of any service. It may be useful to you as an archive or as a way to get the small segment of data you want without downloading it all immediately to a device.

What it does not do

The data export does not show how long you watched a video for. As far as we could tell, watching for only a few seconds still counts as a view.

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The source code (markdown) for this article can be found on GitHub.