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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Please note that this post is over a year old and may contain outdated information.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 (7)

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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YouTube Gear
Logitech 200W 2.1 Speakers
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USB YouTube Microphone
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YouTube Guide Books
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Headphones with Mics
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