How you can find 10-year-old YouTube videos Easily

YouTube actually does a terrible of job with their current features on their website to filter for their oldest content. Millions of videos are uploaded monthly which blankets the platform with abysmal content, hiding the classic nostalgic videos we watched almost a decade ago. You may be able to easily find a video if you know the title, but what if you don’t? lets look at the official methods as well a unconventional methods that I have tried to easily find YouTube videos from any year.

The [Before: ] Tag

You can easily find any video on YouTube from any phone/computer browser by typing the tag [before:2012] at the end of your search. The year can be modified to any year after 2005. Entering the desired year will give you videos from the prior year. so with the example of  [before:2012], if I looked up “Let’s plays Before:2012″ I would get videos from 2011

videos will now show results for anything older than the Jan 1st 2012

YouTube's Video Search Filters

Only 6 tags are relevant to the current fiscal year

YouTube’s Search Filters are hit or miss for me. The only reason I would have wanted to use a search filter was when I wanted to filter for older content. These limiting options only operate by the current year. A total bummer with no option to filter out by oldest to newest. Upload date as a sort-by option does newest to oldest.

Navigating YouTube’s ecosystem is rather annoying too. If I want to locate an official company’s channel, Searching for the company topic would show video results from other users. Rarely will the official channel appear at the top. Having to filter out for channels instead of videos is still an odd problem to have in 2023.

User Created YouTube Playlists

Filtering from Oldest Videos on a Channel Page

Created playlists like this one can be the best way to quickly find content in bulk if you don’t have a topic in mind. However this approach is also limited to a user’s experience of what is and what isn’t considered a great nostalgic video. What if you want to find a video that you remembered watching with only 4,000 views? I would still use the [before:2012] tag when searching for content.

This may be a great option to find your favorite content creator’s videos from oldest to newest. A phenominal example is checking out Mr. Beast’s Channel. You can still find videos of him playing Minecraft and Black Ops 2 before he became viral to the status he’s at today. This isn’t a great method as many landmark creator’s have hundreds of videos. Also what if you don’t even remember the Creator entirely but remembered the topic and time frame (i.e. Year 2012) ? That’s where the practical [before: ] tag is super useful.

Internet Archive's Wayback Machine

I have never really had great luck navigating Wayback Machine. It is a very technical tool with incomplete and broken backups of websites. It is possible to use the Internet Archive to search for content, however it is not useful for all content and is situational to what was saved to Internet Archive. It is great for seeing a handful of popular creator’s old design oriented channel backgrounds like Smosh’s.


Amongst efforts to revive the older nostalgic feeling of 2000s websites, projects like BitView emulates the 2009 YouTube Experience. with an equally funny tagline BitView – Express Yourself: A parody to YouTube Broadcast Yourself. This site is definitely a must for those seeking the Old School experience and you can learn more about the project’s history here. The site is not the best for actual content preservation and should be viewed from an enthusiast’s point of view. Something you can load up and enjoy content thematically similar to the time period of the 2000s.

The biggest tool you can use is the tag Google has created that can be used at the end of a search string, Typing [before:2012] will help you easily find content from the year 2011 on the platform, and the year can be completely customizable to any year after the creation of youtube in 2005. Happy nostalgia hunting!

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