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How to choose your YouTube handle

How to choose your YouTube handle


YouTube is now rolling out customizable @ handles to all its users. Here’s how to choose yours.

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An illustration of the YouTube logo
Illustration by Samar Haddad / The Verge

Handles, usually indicated by an @ sign in front of a name or nickname, are useful for people who want to create an identity, indicate their opinions, or make a joke — and many social networks, such as Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook, have adopted it. Now, finally, YouTube is as well — and not just for its established creators.

Until recently, the only people who had YouTube handles — individual URLs that allow people to find your videos — were those who had at least 100 subscribers. The rest of us were using URLs that went something like Now, YouTube is rolling out handles to all its users — @ names that will be used to identify you in channel pages, Shorts, and other YouTube areas.

YouTube is sending out notifications via email or, if you’re already a creator, via YouTube Studio; at that point, you will then be able to choose your handle. If you’ve already created a personalized URL for your channel, YouTube will automatically assign that as your default handle; but if you’re tired of it, you will be given the option to change it.

I haven’t created many YouTube videos — last I looked, I had two, neither of which is worth mentioning — but I received my invitation yesterday. So here is how the relatively simple process for choosing a handle works.

  • When you get the email or the notice in YouTube Studio, click on the blue Choose a Handle button.
  • You will be sent to, where you’ll see your personal icon, name, and another message that says it’s time to choose your handle. If you want, you can watch a video further down on that page that further explains the concept. Otherwise, click on Choose handle.
  • If you have created YouTube videos and so already have a personalized URL, according to YouTube, you should already have that as your handle. Otherwise, the system will automatically select a handle for you. If it selects something unmemorable or ridiculous — such as mine, which was BarbaraKrasnoff8966 — don’t panic.
  • You can change your assigned handle in the lower field, labeled (of course) Handle. Just type in a different handle (you can use up to 30 characters); the system will then tell you if it’s already been taken. Be aware that you can add numbers, underscores, or periods to adjust it — in other words, if your original selection is taken, putting periods or underscores between the words might work.
  • When you’re happy with your handle, click on Confirm Selection. And that’s it!

Apparently, the new handles are simply reserved right now — they will actually go into use later this year. At that point, you will be able to access your videos by going to, say, However, your old URL will still work. And if you decide you’re not happy with your choice, you can go back to, where the formerly Choose handle button will now read Change handle.

For more info, you can go to YouTube’s support page.