How to View Captions on Your Smartphone

December 21, 2017 BY PATRICK LOFTUS
Updated: January 8, 2018

Given that a quarter of people watch movies and TV shows on their smartphones daily, it’s worth mentioning how to enable closed captions on your mobile device.

Millions of Americans have some form of hearing loss and need to read closed captions when watching video content. But even for those who are hearing, closed captions are a useful visual aid and come in handy for several everyday situations like commuting to work on the train, or spending time in noise-sensitive environments in which you’d rather not use the audio on your device.

To enable captions on iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select General, then Accessibility
  3. Scroll down and under Media select Subtitles & Captioning
  4. Enable the Closed Captions & SDH feature

From within the Subtitles & Captioning menu, you can also select Style to customize caption appearance settings like size, font, color, and background.

To enable captions on Android devices:

  1. Open your device’s Settings app
  2. Tap Accessibility, then tap Captions
  3. At the top, tap the On/Off switch

In the Captions menu, you can also adjust the language, text size, and caption style. Note that your settings may not apply in certain applications.


If the publisher has uploaded closed captions, videos in your Facebook newsfeed will autoplay with closed captions and no sound. As long as you’ve enabled captioning on your phone, captions will not turn off when you click into the video to hear the audio.

How to Add Captions & Subtitles to Facebook Videos


Just like with Facebook or other applications, closed captions on YouTube will appear once you start playing a video as long as you have the feature enabled on your phone.

How to Add Captions and Subtitles to YouTube Videos

Open Captions

Certain apps like Instagram and Twitter do not currently allow publisher to upload closed captions with videos.

Instead, publishers must upload videos with open captions — captions that are burned into the video itself and cannot be turned on or off. Regardless of the caption setting on your mobile device, these captions will always appear when the video plays.

How to Add Captions and Subtitles to Instagram Videos

How to Add Captions and Subtitles to Twitter Videos

Need closed captions, subtitles, or both? Get started with 3Play Media today!

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Read the free report: 2017 State of Captioning.

The closed caption CC icon shown in the middle of a TV.