How to Enable Audio Description on Your Smartphone

March 27, 2018 BY PATRICK LOFTUS
Updated: March 2, 2021

Third-party mobile apps that contain audio description on videos typically allow smartphone users to enable audio descriptions within the app or video player itself.

But if you want to ensure your phone is playing audio description tracks when they are available for other content (on movies and TV shows you download, for example) then you can manually activate that feature. Here’s how that’s done on Apple devices and where to find audio description on Android devices:

iPhone & Apple Devices

Many movies and TV shows bought on iTunes and watched using the Videos app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch contain audio description. You can activate it in the Audio & Subtitles menu in the video playback controls if they are available.

If you want you iPhone to play audio description on videos by default when they’re available:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility.
  2. Scroll to the Media section and select Audio Descriptions.
  3. Turn on Prefer Audio Descriptions.

Android Devices

Unfortunately, Android devices currently do not have a universal setting that enables audio description by default like iPhones. Google Play does not provide any information about which videos, if any, contain audio description at this time.

However, if you visit the American Council of the Blind’s Audio Description Project you can view which mobile apps and streaming services include audio description already.

Additionally, you can view walkthroughs for how to enable audio description playback in Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, both of which you can download onto your Android device and browse through a large and growing list of audio described video content.

Looking for more movies and shows with audio description?

Check out these five streaming services making their video content accessible with both captions and audio description:

5 streaming services doing accessibility right

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