Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

YouTube’s awful notification system is finally being changed, but it’s still confusing users

YouTube has switched up how notifications work on the platform, following it up with an instructional video about how this new system actually works.

Right now, today, to get notifications for a YouTube channel you’re subscribed to, you need to hit the subscribe button, then click the little bell, and then go to your account to ensure notifications are enabled on your account.

Related: E3 2019


Don’t do all three of these steps, and it’s a bit of a lottery whether or not YouTube will actually notify you about a new video from one of the creators you are subscribed to. In the video talking about the changes, YouTube admitted it was because people quickly get overwhelmed when they are subscribed to many channels.

However, If this all seems a bit much, you’re not the only one to be confused. YouTube admits they made the video, visible below, to clear up confusion about their notification system. This new system starts everyone off with “personalised” notifications, meaning you go through the process described above.

The fact that this is the “improved” system says a lot about the grim swamp that was YouTube notifications before the change. Team Trusted are gutted about the slow erosion of cool YouTube features to make your subscriptions more manageable, including the removal of the folders feature, which made it easy to organise your subscriptions into different, easily watchable, piles.

“Through a series of tests and user research, we’ve found this updated name and visual design improves overall understanding of the default bell setting and makes it more clear that you won’t be notified about every new video upload,” reads a blog post on the matter.

The whole change seems to be a response to outcry from video creators back in early 2018 when creators claimed most of their subscribed audience wasn’t being told they had a new video to check out, which was hitting creators right in the ad revenue, hitting them in the wallet as if consumers don’t know about a video, they won’t be able to watch it and generate revenue.

As part of the change, YouTube will be introducing metrics to let YouTubers better understand how their subscribers are getting notifications

In general, creators seem to have a mixed response to the change, although from a general look, people are happy with the way the company is trying to communicate openly and honestly about the way they’re trying to change YouTube for the better. We’ll see if that continues as the company moves forwards.

The changes are being rolled out as we speak, so you’ll see the changes soon.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.