This FAQ covers many of the most common questions and issues around account setup and configuration. Before posting your question please read the FAQ below to see if your issue has already been answered.
Also consider reading the YouTube Help Center’s Create and Manage Account section. The articles there contain more details than are in this FAQ, and may help answer your questions.
Jump to the section relevant to you by using your browser Find function (CTRL+F or CMD/Apple+F) and typing in the name of the section.
How is my YouTube channel connected to my Google Account? Are they the same?
Which email should I log in with?
My YouTube account is separate from my Google Account.
Are there different kinds of accounts? Why can one account do things that others can not?
What's the difference between an account and a channel?
What about Google+? How does that change things?
There are multiple settings menus. What are they for?
I can't access my account because I forgot my username or password. What can I do?
I believe my account was compromised. What can I do?
My real name appears on my channel. I didn't mean to do this and/or want a channel username; how can I change it?
My channel URL is a long code. How can I change it?
What happens to my YouTube account if I delete my Google Account or Google+ account?
Can I change my username?
I want another channel's username, since they have been inactive. How can I get it?
[-] How is my YouTube channel connected to my Google Account? Are they the same?
When you create a profile on a Google product (like YouTube), you are also creating a Google Account.Google Account is a single account that can be used for multiple services.
A Google Account provides a single sign-in across multiple services (Gmail, Blogger, YouTube, etc.)
For most users, your YouTube channel is built into your Google Account. You can log in to Gmail with the same email address and password that you would use to log in to your YouTube channel.
[-] Which email should I use to log in with? Can I log in in any other way?
Use the email attached to the Google Account where your YouTube channel lives. For Google Accounts made in 2012, this will be a Gmail. For Google Accounts created prior to 2012 this could be any other email type such as Hotmail, Yahoo or private domain even.
You can also log in with a username. At YouTube you can use your YouTube username if you have made one, or the Google username tied to your Google Account.
[-] My YouTube account is separate from any Google Account.
Since May 2009 all YouTube channels are created on a Google Account, but much older YouTube channels may not yet be linked to a Google Account. These YouTubes are referred to as legacy accounts. You should see prompts to link to a Google Account when you attempt to sign on to a legacy YouTube account.
Note: You must link to a Google Account if you want to use your legacy YouTube account.
[-] Are there different kinds of accounts? Why can one account do things that others can not?
Features like being able to create and add to Playlists are available when you create a YouTube channel for your Google Account. You can tell the difference between a Google Account which has a YouTube channel and an Account that doesn’t have a channel by looking at how the username appears in the upper right of YouTube. Click here to learn how to make a YouTube channel for your Google Account.
If you have a channel, your username in the upper right will look like one of the above images, depending on how your channel and Google+ idenity are set up. A Google Account which doesn't have a YouTube channel just has its email address in the upper right, complete with the @ symbol.
There are other abilities such as longer uploads, custom thumbnails, and more, which depend on more than just your Google Account setup. See the Help Center for more info.
[-] What’s the difference between an Account and a channel?
Your Account is what you use to log in to any Google service.
Your channel is what represents you on YouTube itself , where you can share your uploads, favorite videos, and more. Your channel page is what you’ll find at www.youtube.com/user/[insert your channel name here].
If you have a Google+ connected YouTube channel, your URL will have a long ID code at the end of it, ie www.youtube.com/channel/NimhyukHP5tdka3a9zi9Nw Think of a Google Account as a management panel only you can see. Your Google Account's YouTube channel is the outward facing video-sharing facility of this Google Account - the part which others can see.
[-] What about Google+? Does that change anything?
If you create a new Google Account or are using a Google Account that has Google+ you will get the option to create a Google+ enabled YouTube channel.
Google+ YouTube channels use the name tied to your Google Account instead of a YouTube username. That YouTube name will appear in the upper right of YouTube, your channel title, and comments you make with it. If you don’t want your name appearing on the site, see the section below.
[-] There are multiple Settings menus. What are they for?
With YouTube channels, Google Accounts, Google+ connected YouTube channels it can be confusing to keep track of everything. Here’s a quick guide on the differences between the different settings:
1. YouTube channel Settings
These are found at http://www.youtube.com/account?feature=mhee. This controls most YouTube-specific settings, like your YouTube avatar, profile info, playback settings, and more. You can change your YouTube password here (as this is actually its Google Account password and you will be redirected to your Google Account settings page). If you’re on a Google+-connected YouTube channel and have your real name as your username, this can be changed here as well (see below).
2. Google Account Settings:
These are the settings for the Google Account that your YouTube channel is part of. You can change your login password (which is also your YouTube login password), privacy settings, alternate email address, and more. You can not change things like your playback settings or YouTube sharing settings here as that must be done at YouTube, using the YouTube channel's settings.
3. Channel Settings:
These are entirely separate from your YouTube and Google Account settings, and are used to change the appearance and content of your channel. They can be found by going to your channel (right-click your username from the upper right, click My Channel), and clicking the Settings button at the top left of the page.
[-] I can’t access my account because I forgot my username or password. What can I do?
See this Help Center article. Make sure to log out of any Google Accounts you are currently logged into before following the troubleshooting steps.