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How To Get The 2160p (4K) YouTube Quality Option For Your Video

Please note that this post is over a year old and may contain outdated information.
If you upload a video that has a resolution of 3840 pixels wide by 2160 pixels high, YouTube will display the 2160p quality option in the settings (cog) for your video.

It may take several minutes or longer before it shows up after you've uploaded the video. This is because YouTube creates individual videos for each quality level based on your uploaded file. With 2160p, that means YouTube is creating 8 videos from your upload (this is why "processing" takes so long).


The Test


I created a short 3840x2160 test video using the mp4 format and H.264 codec (YouTube recommended). This is what the quality options look like. You can see that it functions in both the HTML5 player and Flash player.

2160p YouTube HTML5 Player

2160p YouTube Flash Player


Creating 2160p Video


Many free video editors are limited to exporting video in 1080p (1920x1080 pixels). You'll need something more robust to export to higher resolutions, such as Adobe Premiere. Unfortunately that program is not free, but you may be able to find a free alternative online. I recommend searching at AlternativeTo.net.
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Comments (25)

David   Jan 20, 2021
Is anyone on this thread answering questions or is this just a place to rant, because I have the same problem, I render at 4K and youtube caps it at 1080 - any answers please
Epic Movie Maker   Jan 11, 2021
Same problem here
AGENT-9   Jan 10, 2021
Actually many free movie makers can handle 4k resolutions of 3840x2160 , in fact windows movie maker can support 4k resolution and its 100% free https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/movie-maker-10-free/9mvfq4lmz6c9?activetab=pivot:overviewtab
Heiko   Sep 05, 2020
The solution is to render as a master file in 1440p out of, fe FCPX, into a folder on your computer and from there upload to YouTube. Don't use the "YouTube" direct export in FCPX. Upload and processing into HD on YouTube server takes a few min but works.
Seb   Aug 28, 2020
i have the same problem youtube I think youtube only give 4k to the bigger channels.
VYZE   Apr 05, 2020
can someone plz helm me, i render my videos in 4k and when i upload to YouTube its 1080p.
jay   Nov 20, 2019
I got it to work after rendering the vid in 3840x2160. The 4K option takes a while to pop up but it will. There's not much improvement in 4k mode. It actually looks better in 1080HD to me. The only plus is actually knowing it was shot in 4k bc of the option being presented.
Anthony   Nov 06, 2019
I upload in 4K and in both 30 and 60fps frame rates and neither allows the 4K options ever even after weeks what gives?!?! Can some accounts be restricted or something SO frustrating!
Jack J   May 19, 2019
i cant choose 4k because for me they is not an opcoin but mummys computer can but i doesnt work
Dj Martin Dus   Feb 09, 2019
Hey guys i was having the same issue. After I Uplouded my video in 4k 30p. I noticed it played at 4K in Chrome but 1080 in Safari. This is the video. Try it in both browser, Hopefully this helps you. https://youtu.be/JJTS60yLzus
Al   Jan 31, 2019
Same here. uploading 4K and stuck at 360p forever. It's like that both straight upload from FCPX and Master file upload.
Troy   Jan 29, 2019
Same problem yesterday also. I've uploaded 2160p .mp4 and it's still at 360p. I even deleted and tried today as well. Same results.
Bloodyspasm   Jan 28, 2019
yeah, my 4K/HDR footage from Xbox One X will no longer encode past 360p :(
ElĂ­as   Jan 27, 2019
I have the same problem, I uploaded my video yesterday (Which is 2 minutes long) and it still doesn't show any higher resolution than 360p.
Jeremy polizzi   Jan 27, 2019
Same thing, uploaded in 4K 60fps and it is in 360p :-(
Dave   Jan 26, 2019
Same here Carlos. 360 a few hours after upload. That's the only option.
Carlos   Jan 26, 2019
Cant get my videos at 4k 60 FPS. Waited days and it only stays at 360. How to fix it
Chris   Jun 12, 2018
VSDC Video Editor let's you output 4K and works pretty good for basic stuff.
Attraction Spot   May 29, 2018
@Luca De Gregorio not anymore. You can now to 4k at 60 FPS for YouTube.
Luca De Gregorio   Jun 26, 2017
Aparently you can have the 4k only at 30 fps and below, for some reason they cap higher frame rates to 1080p :-\
Viki Ayiyaa Vikramarathna   Mar 24, 2017
Connor Richard White Hi, I too add 2160p Mpeg-4H.264 but as all u guys have said ....at times even below 1080p...crazy..how to overcome this?
Connor Richard White   Dec 15, 2016
Ezra Burger Thank you for the info I'll give it a try
Ezra Burger   Dec 14, 2016
Same thing here and I do Cinematics at 4096 x 2160 which is Cinema Display. I convert to Youtube and it's 1080p which it shouldn't be doing. Now this was because I used AVC/H.264 not Mpeg-4/H.264 so I switched and hopefully it will display 4K but there is a huge chance it won't.
Connor Richard White   Dec 14, 2016
In Premiere Pro Im exporting my videos at 3840, 2160 but youtube keeps capping it at 1080p?
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