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You Can Delete YouTube TV Recordings, But Not Saved Recordings

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YouTube TV subscribers can delete recordings from their library although there isn’t an option to delete the stored recordings. While that might sound confusing and even contradictory, this is the way YouTube TV’s cloud DVR currently works.

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Consumers have a number of live TV streaming services to choose from. However, with the base plans from fuboTV, Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV all priced the same, the cost is not always the easiest way to choose between different services. This is where the additional features and user experience can come in and help to make the decision a little easier. For example, one of YouTube TV’s main selling points is its recording experience.

Put simply, with the option to record an unlimited number of videos, and have recordings separated into each family member account, YouTube TV offers one of the best cloud DVR experiences around. However, the unlimited nature of the cloud DVR can also result in some unexpected, and at times, unwanted side effects. One of them being the way deleting videos work.

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How to delete YouTube TV videos

First off, it is important to make clear the difference between the two types of deletion, considering one is possible and the other isn’t. Essentially, YouTube TV allows subscribers to manually delete and remove scheduled recordings from their library. That is, recordings that have yet to happen. In contrast, there is no option to manually remove show episodes and movies that have already been recorded are are available to watch in the library. This is also irrespective of whether the recorded videos have been watched or not.

How to delete recording through the website:

  1. Visit YouTube TV
  2. Sign in if required
  3. Click on the Library tab
  4. Find the show or movie to be deleted
  5. Click to access the show or movie page
  6. Click on the check mark icon to remove from library

How to delete through the app:

  1. Open the YouTube TV app
  2. Tap on Library
  3. Locate the show or movie to be deleted
  4. Tap to access the show or movie page
  5. Tap on the check mark icon to remove from library

Alternatively, users can simply search for any show or movie when on the service’s website or through any of the YouTube TV platform apps and then click/tap on the “Added to library” (check mark) button to remove recordings. Once again, this only affects upcoming scheduled recordings and not videos that have already been recorded.

Why saved recordings can’t be deleted

YouTube TV doesn’t intentionally stop stored recordings from being deleted, its cloud DVR just happens to work this way. To explain, although YouTube TV offers an unlimited cloud DVR, that’s only in relation to the quantity of videos that can be recorded. When it comes to how long they remain recorded for, the service is actually limited.

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Essentially, all recordings made on YouTube TV will only remain recorded for a maximum of nine months. This is one of the major downsides with YouTube TV’s cloud DVR compared to some other services, as there is no option to keep recordings indefinitely. At the same time, as all videos are automatically removed after 9 months, the user doesn’t have to worry about manually deleting any. The recorded movies and show episodes will simply expire when the time comes.

YouTube TV has never added an option to manually delete recordings and this is largely due to the service assuming there is no need for the subscriber to manage their recordings – as YouTube TV does the managing for them. While many subscribers will probably disagree with this and prefer an option to manually delete recordings from their library, there are currently no indications that YouTube TV plans to add manual removals in the future.

YouTube TV deleting recordings summary

YouTube TV subscribers can delete recordings from their library, but only those that have been scheduled and not recorded yet. The option to delete these scheduled recordings is possible by accessing the page for any show or move and clicking on the “Added to library” button.

For all the recordings that have already been made and are available to watch in the library, there’s no option to delete them. Instead subscribers are expected to simply wait until the stored recordings have expired. At present, there’s no suggestion YouTube TV plans to add the option to manually delete recordings.

Read more: How to Download YouTube TV Videos & Watch Offline

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John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

53 replies on “You Can Delete YouTube TV Recordings, But Not Saved Recordings”

Just silly in my book. I get it is unlimited DVR. So maybe “delete” is a strong word. The ability to “hide” a program already watched, or to be able to filter on programs that have been recorded and not watched would be a solution. Just something that would allow the end user to be able to clear their screen of shows they already watched to narrow it down to shows they want to watch…….again, even a simple filter by “watched”, “unwatched”, etc…. would do the job…..

I think you need to re-do the Cloud DVR. It is unorganized, Horrible housecleaning – just clutter, making it hard, frustrating just to fine recently recorded shows, instead of scrolling through so many old recordings that are no longer wanted. If they all (Streaming Apps) cost the, this may be a reason to consider other. Yes unlimited recording space is nice, but not sure it is worth the frustration.

99% of what I record is simply to be able to watch it at a time convenient for me, and to pause or ffw as desired. Having to keep these one-time programs for 9 months is just stupid. Deleting a saved program should be a one or two step process.

I agree 100%. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve started watching something only to realize I already watched it. Tried Hulu and Fubo too. Fubo has the best setup but lacks one of my favorite networks. Just may have to go back though.

I just signed up for YouTube TV and was unaware of the problem with their DVR. I previously had Spectrum DVR which allowed me to delete programs that were no longer wanted. This cleared my screen for new recorded programs. It is unfortunate that the YouTube programmers failed to resolve this issue. I will probably cancel YouTube when the promotional period expires for this very reason

I agree. Silly to not be able to delete or hide programs that have been watched.

They also need to add options to only record new programs.

I don’t understand how this great service missed the mark with the feature of deleting or hiding the shows I’ve watched. Isn’t this basic DVR functionality?

Yes, not being able to mark episodes as watched is frustrating. Supposedly it is something you can do from your browser, but not the TV app. I followed instructions to do that, but the option to mark as watched wasn’t there. I also don’t appreciate not being able to resume a program where I left off if I need to stop playback. I’m forced to remember the time stamp of where I left off and fast forward to that. Not cool.

How amazing is it that the obviously very smart people at google can’t include the option to delete/hide a recording that has been watched or even not watched, just no longer desired. I have only been a customer for a week and cannot imagine what my library is going to look like after 3, 6 or 9 months. I’m wondering how long it’s going to take me to find the one video I’m looking for. Again…. amazing

My Library sceen is a total mess. Impossible to find one show among the hundreds of watched, canceled, and unwanted shows.

I too I’m frustrated with the recorded show problems. Once my trial subcription is over, I will cancel. Much too confusing and too much clutter.

Not being able to delete programs is definitely going to be a big problem for me I may have to change at a later date

Got YouTube TV a couple weeks ago. First of all I like service, sort of. Been looking for a streaming service to replace my present cable tv service. Problem is You Tube TV has a few issues that need to be ironed out. When it comes to the DVR, I agree with everyone above. They do have a easy method to schedule events but after that it’s all down hill. Maybe I’m just to use present cable service DVR that lets me manage my records to my liking. Another issue is the use and set up of additional remotes other than my regular TV remote, but that’s for another day.

Google Are You Listening to your Customers?

I have been a subscriber for 18 months, You can not imagine what my DVR Library looks like now where I can not delete any of the recorded shows…Youtube TV is owned by GOOGLE and google can’t fix this delete issue? Really. It just does not make any sense keeping all of this data on their servers for each accounts subscriber. It cost them cloud storage to keep our DVR recorded shows that we no longer want or have watched. It is not hard to add a soft DELETE button on the YouTube TV APP to delete recorded shows we watched. After adding shows I want to watch on the DVR system, (18 months) I have to spend lots of time to get to the shows I want to watch that might be at the bottom of the listings….
This is kind of typical what software designers do, with no common sense as to that might happen after they design an APP, but there is no reason they can’t do a update to their APP to fix this requested delete issue. I knew not having a delete button was going to be an issue when I started my subscription with Youtube TV, and looks like Google is losing customers because of this simple delete function that should have been a basic operation in the APP.

I’m 6 mos. into my subscription with YoutubeTV. The absolute one feature that is missing, totally driving me crazy, is not having an option to remove recorded shows that I did watch. A very poorly executed feature. I love everything else about YTV, but the recording/viewing process is frustrating when you can’t tell if you’ve seen that episode, or not.

Another option would be to simply add a new user setting that allows the user to set the time period for automatic deletion, say 30 days For example. This would certainly reduce the clutter factor in removing those recordings unwatched or watched

The DVR does let you see “recently recorded” shows first, or sort on most watched, movies, sports, shows, events. Its not perfect, but its usable. It makes sense why they do this–its like all recordings are actually youtube videos–anyone can watch any youtube video over and over — so they have the software write to do this…as long as they have enough computer memory to store everything…evidently they think they have 9 months worth of storage….

Regarding not being able to delete recorded programs: Apparently Youtubetv is like Uncle Joe. They just ignore the question and walk away!! Put a “delete” button in your software!! Is it really THAT hard?

I hate the clutter of not being able to delete or mark as watched. Whole interface reminds me of 1990’s. Looking for alternative service as they are all same $.

youtubetv really SUCKS by not allowing you to either “delete” or “hide” shows! Must be a bunch of IDIOTS at youtubetv programming this. I put one show into my library and its vod is not marked for deletion until 2030! Can’t believe Susan Wojcicki puts up with this kind of crap being done on her watch.

Google, fix these issues. Update your DVR features. Navigating thru old recordings is aggravating. Put original air dates instead of 1,2,3, etc “new episodes”. Allow deleting recordings we have watched, that alone would free up a gazillion hrs of storage you would not have to provide, and then allow us to set how long a recording is kept instead an arbitrary 9 months. New recordings don’t always show up in the “new in your library” Why not? Way too many glitches in this system that have not been problems in other systems for many years. This is no longer “new technology”. Fix it.

I agree with all comments regarding ‘delete’ function. Just convinced the wife to switch from Hulu to sign up trial period because of advertised great DVR. But we are greatly disappointed. Back to Hulu until Google fixes this issue.

Google PLEASE LISTEN! Add a function so that individual episodes may be deleted from the DVR library. This is a major flaw and you are losing many customers because of it.

I do agree with all of you. There must be a simple way to write a program allowing us to delete what we’ve watched or lost interest in. Is there a Google employee out there who can hear our pleas? Would you write this code and sell it to us directly or give to the company to make the change? Bonded in frustration.

Agree that inability to delete videos from the library is a major problem. Just subscribed to YouTube TV, but will start looking for a better alternative.

It depends on your situation. For families that don’t watch things necessarily together, deleting/hiding things can be problematic. For sole-watchers or members that rule their DVR, its very frustrating. From a design stand-point, its developed for simplicity to the lowest common denominator which usually resembles chaos for organizers.

New to YouTube TV, but at least the newest program recorded shows up 1st and watched is on the program that I have watched already and newly programs show when recorded. My problem is the buffering, but I am still learning. Yes I agree programs should be able to be deleted and when I do record or add to library, it shouldn’t bring up the entire season. My other option is to pay more and go back to my cable company, but I want the extra money.

Eve does showing a program has been watched not sure why everybody can’t see that red line goes all the way across the bottom if you watched it it also allows you to resume were you finished so I’m not sure who is not being able to see that. I just got a new in your library look for the newest shows that have recorded and pick the ones that shows I have not watched it yet and as far is it not deleting doesn’t really matter as long as you just continue to watch the new episodes

For the vast majority of shows I want to watch it and delete it immediately. Having the option to delete shows I would save space in their cloud storage and have a better experience as a customer. Adding the feature would reduce costs for google in cloud storage costs and give the customer a better experience. It is unbelievable to me they don’t already have the feature.

I found this site because I have the second day of my trial with YouTube TV and was frustrated why I couldn’t figure out how to delete shows I’ve already seen that it recorded. It’s already too messy and cluttered to not be frustrating. I think I will cancel YouTube TV until they figure out how to allow us to delete shows we’ve already seen. What a bummer!

Yes! The unlimited DVR is great however, not being able to delete or hide the shows I’ve already watched is something that will stop me from using YouTube tv! Who are they to say that I don’t need to be able to manage my DVR? Why would I want to keep all these recordings that I’ve already watched? Having to start watching a program only to realize I’ve already watched it is very time consuming and I don’t like wasting time! I will not be staying with this service unless they offer a solution.

Oh my God. I would hate to see how badly all you people would fall apart if something really traumatic happened to you! The sky is falling, the sky is falling because I can’t delete recordings and it’s just so difficult to figure out what I’ve watched and what I haven’t!

Wait until you’ve been with them a while and EVERY SHOW you’ve EVER WATCHED is still on your Library page. You’ll have to scroll down through dozens of pages to find ONE show you’re looking for. It’s a mess.

I’m new to utube tv. It was frustrating for me to learn how to record. Now, I can’t delete watched shows, and all shows delete at 9 mos. No keeping a favorite. I see me shopping again.

Yeah yt tv must come up with a solution to be able to delete already watched shows in the library. Too much clutter to go through just to find my next show.

It totally makes sense for Google, but not for the user.
Google doesn’t need space to store my recordings; it just provides a shortcut to their server where they’re all stored. Then it deletes them from the server after nine months.
It would take them a lot more space to save all our “old” shows, I guess.
Still, they SHOULD provide a way for us to mark shows as watched or remove those shortcuts.

New subscriber. Very frustrating not being able to delete items from library. Looking for alternative.

Into the third week of YTTV……found out I can’t delete what I’ve watched. Does HULU allow deletion? This is a mess.

Yes Jim, both Hulu and Fubo allow deletion. Hulu’s live guide is a real shitshow though. I’d rather deal with YouTube’s recording clutter than Hulu’s horrible live guide. All things considered, Fubo has the best customer experience, but they also have hidden fees and the do not have the Turner channels.

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