How-to: Enable and customize subtitles and captioning during video playback on iOS 7

Screenshot 2014-02-13 17.29.57iOS devices are built with all users in mind: they come with several accessibility features for low-vision or legally blind users, hard-of-hearing or deaf users, individuals who have physical and motor difficulties, and individuals with learning

In this accessibility segment, we will be discussing how to use and customize subtitles and captioning.

To enable subtitles and captioning, open up Settings and tap on General. Then select Accessibility. Scroll down until you see Subtitles & Captioning.

Tapping on the switch next to Closed Captions + SDH turns subtitles and captioning on. When playing a video that supports subtitles and closed captions they will be shown automatically. With iOS 7, you can customize the appearance by tapping on Style.


There are three different styles to choose from. You can preview how each style will look in the image above the selection.

You can even create your own style by tapping on the Create New Style button. Here you are able to give your style a name, select a font, font size, text color, background color, opacity and the style around the text’s edge.

Some videos can override the selected style and use a custom style included with the video. If you’d prefer to use your own style every time, just turn off Video Override. By leaving Video Override on, whatever style comes with the video will be displayed.

To see the font in full screen, tap on the icon of the arrows pointing in the opposite direction in the upper right hand corner.

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There are several different ways to find and play content that supports closed captioning. For example, in the iTunes Store some movies and TV shows are available to rent or purchase that have closed captioning. In the iTunes Store app, underneath the title of the movie or TV show, you will see “CC” listed if the video supports this feature. Scrolling all the way down towards the bottom shows you what other languages are available for subtitles.

The content that is purchased from the iTunes Store is found in the Videos app. The first time you play a video, closed captioning might be turned off. In the lower right hand corner, the second icon from the right, which has a bubble with some lines going through, allows you to turn on closed captioning.


Tapping on the bubble gives you different options for closed captioning. For example, you have the option to display subtitles in a different language than the original language the movie was filmed in, which could be a handy feature if you are trying to learn a new language. Different content will have different foreign languages to choose from. Auto (Recommended) does not display any closed captioning or subtitles. Choosing English CC will display the customized subtitles in English.

Popular video apps such as YouTube, Netflix and Hulu + support closed captioning and subtitles.

Now you are able to create custom subtitles and closed captioning on your iOS device.

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  1. Frank Lowney - 9 years ago

    This is fine if the closed captions or subtitles (what’s the difference?) are already present in the video file but how can one add subtitles in a language not included in the released version? There is a large community of people who create such subtitles called fan-subbers so the files are available for many popular movies and TV shows.

  2. There’s a great article that discusses this in detail: Captions and Subtitles for iPhone and iOS:

  3. Randy Bond - 7 years ago

    MY PROBLEM IS THAT I AM GETTING A CAPTION BAR AND CAN NOT FIND OUT HOW TO GET RID OF IT? ANY IDEAS THIS IS right across my screen but can be moved to any position. but is still annoying. Anyone had this issue and know how to fix?

  4. Aslam Meman - 7 years ago

    when i tap n screen while playing video, there is not bubble icon on screen showing and also not showing other options like changing video side, air play mode, etc