How to Turn on and Customize Captions for Videos on Android

Olanrewaju Sodiq

The video-on-demand platforms and streaming apps like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and others have popped like popcorn in the recent years. Millions love consuming video content on their phones on the move. And while there's a barrage of multi-lingual content, turning on the captions makes such videos enjoyable.

Enable Caption Android Guiding Tech

I love watching movies and other videos with caption turned on because I always want to know everything everyone says. Yes, I'm the type that pays close attention to detail. Personal preference aside, there are other beneficial uses of caption and we shall talk about them all in this post. Also, you'll also learn how to turn on captions on your Android smartphone.

How Does Caption Work on Android?

The captions are the text that appear at the bottom of your mobile, TV, or computer screen when you watch movies, cartoons, any video materials in general. We also call them subtitles. That text displays the words that characters in a video speak.

On Android smartphones, the caption feature is powered by Google and helps add texts to videos you play on your device. The feature majorly works with Google-powered streaming services and apps (e.g. YouTube), offline videos (saved on your device), and YouTube videos played in your mobile browsers.

Note: For offline videos, captions only appear when you play videos with your phone's default media player.

Benefits of Enabling Captions in Videos

Captions play a very vital role in assisting people with hearing difficulties understand things being said and done in videos. It also helps some people without any hearing difficulties focus and better comprehend the contents of a video file.

Additionally, since captions come with support for multiple languages, it improves the reach and accessibility of video contents.

Now that we've established the grounds for enabling captions on your device let's talk about how to get captions rolling on your Android device.

Activating Captions in Android

Turning on system-wide captions on your Android smartphone is as easy as it can get. Here's how to go about it.

Step 1: Launch the Settings menu of your device.

Step 2: Scroll to the bottom of the Settings menu and select Accessibility.

How To Turn On Captions On Your Android Smartphone

Step 3: Scroll to the bottom of the Accessibility page and under the 'Audio & on-screen text' section, tap Captions.

Turn On Captions On Your Android Smartphone

That will open the Captions page where you can activate captions and also personalize your device's caption to your taste.

Step 4: On the Captions page, tap the Use caption option to toggle it on.

Turn On Captions Android

If you follow these steps correctly, the subtitles should appear on every YouTube videos and other supported content on your Android phone or tablet.

Customizing Captions on Android

The Caption feature on the Android operating system is not just good; it's great. As mentioned earlier, Google designed the feature in such a way that users can personalize it to their taste and preference. Let's take a look at the Caption customization options available on your Android smartphone, what they do, and how you can use them to your advantage.

Choosing Caption Language

Currently, the caption feature on Android devices supports 81 different languages (yes, I counted it). There is a possibility that Google adds support for more languages in the future. For now, here's how to choose and change caption language on your Android device.

Note: When you turn on captions, the language is set to Default, i.e., your device's default language.

Navigate to the Captions page of your device (Settings > Accessibility > Captions).

Step 1: On the Caption page, tap the Language option.

Enable Caption Android

Step 2: Select language of choice from the list.

Android Caption Supported Languages



Adjusting Caption Size

This is also a pretty straightforward process.

Step 1: On the Captions page, tap the Text size option.

Text Size Android Caption

Step 2: Select how small or how large you want texts in the captions of your videos to be.

Customize Caption Size Android

As seen in the image above, the available options are Very small, Small, Normal, Large, and Very Large. You should adjust the caption size to your visual preference.

How To Enbale Captions In Android

You can preview how the different caption sizes would look in the provided window.

Choosing Caption Style

You can also customize how you want captions to appear on your videos. Here's how you can customize captions on your Android smartphone.

Step 1: On the Captions page, tap the Caption style option.

Turn On Caption On Android

Step 2: Pick your preferred caption style from the list of options.

Caption Styles Android
  • White on black — captions will have white text on a black background. This is also the default caption style.
  • Black on white — captions will have black text on a white background.
  • Yellow on black — captions will have yellow text on a black background.
  • Yellow on blue — captions will have yellow text on a blue background.
Custom Captions Android
Custom Captions Android 01

Tapping Customize option allows you adjust your caption style with different text color, background color, background color opacity, fonts, and more.

Imperfect, but Really Awesome

Since Google developed and powered the caption feature, it majorly works efficiently on Google-owned apps and services like YouTube. I also tried to watch some movies on my phone's Netflix app, but no captions were displayed.

Customized Caption Yellow On Blue 01
Customized (Yellow on blue) caption in a video playing in the YouTube app

When I played offline videos with Files, Android's native File manager, captions come on neatly on all movies I watched. The best part is that the customizations I made to my captions appeared instantly.

Customized Caption On Default Player
Customized (Yellow on black) caption in a movie played with Files app

The Android caption feature is super awesome but not perfect yet. Hopefully, Google develops the feature to integrate with third-party apps in the future smoothly.

Next up: Do you always find it difficult to come across the interesting movies and series on Netflix? Check out our detailed tutorial on how to find top-rated movies and TV shows on Netflix.

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