How to Fix It When Roku Closed Captioning Won't Turn On

Figure out how to activate closed captioning when it's not working

Closed captioning is helpful you're hearing-impaired, prefer to read what people are saying, are unable to understand the language, etc. Here's how to get closed captioning working again on a Roku.

The most likely "fix" for closed captions not working, is to simply learn how they work. There are, surprisingly, a few ways to enable subtitles on the Roku, depending on the app you're using.

How Do I Activate Closed Captions on Roku?

There's an option in the Roku settings that needs to be enabled in order for closed captioning to work:

This is the "normal" way to enable subtitles on a Roku. Doing this turns on the system-wide captions, hence why you need to go into the device's settings to enable it. However, some streaming services control captions within their own apps, so if this method doesn't work, be sure to see the other tips at the bottom of this page.

  1. Press the Home button to go to the home screen.

  2. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Captions mode.

    If you don't see Accessibility, select Captions to open the captions menu.

  3. Choose On always.

    Roku captions mode options with On Always highlighted

What to Do When Roku Closed Captions Aren't Working

Enabling closed captions is just as simple as the above steps make it out to be. However, captions might still not work as you expect, either because of a software glitch or an app that uses its own subtitle options.

  1. Make sure the Roku's closed captioning setting is toggled on. This seems obvious, but they might have been turned off without you realizing it.

    Follow the steps outlined above to confirm captions are enabled. If they already are, shut them off, reboot the Roku, and then turn them back on.

    Don't skip over this step. Even if captions are already enabled, a reboot might be all that's needed to get them to show up. Do this through Settings > System > System restart > Restart.

  2. Verify that caption styles aren't customized to the point they aren't showing up properly. It's possible that they're working just fine, but you just can't see them very well.

    Go to Settings > Accessibility > Captions style, and walk through the Text size, Text color, Text opacity, and other relevant options, adjusting them as needed.

    Roku Captions style menu options with Captions Style highlighted
  3. Use the app's built-in closed captioning control, if it has one. For example, if you're on YouTube, press the up arrow using the Roku remote, until you reach the small menu right above the progress bar. Select the captions button and then choose an option from that menu, such as English (auto-generated).

    Other apps are different, like Netflix's, where you need to press the down arrow on the remote to use the menu. One example of an option there is English [Original] with Subtitles.

    Netflix Roku app closed captioning menu highlighted
  4. Use the mobile app's captioning button, if possible. If the Roku remote or TV app won't let you enable closed captions, and the service you're using has a mobile app that supports Roku, look for an option there.

    Streaming services like Netflix and YouTube have their own mobile app you can use to cast video to the TV via the Roku. When you do this, playback and subtitle controls are available directly from the app.

    YouTube uses a CC button for this purpose, and there's a similar option on the Netflix app and other streaming apps.

  5. Similar to the previous step, try casting from the service's desktop site. If enabling captions via the Roku app or mobile app isn't possible, there's likely an option through the desktop site.

    YouTube subtitle options
  6. Check for a Roku update. A bug could be to blame, and the only way to fix that is through a system update.

    Update checks occur automatically, but you can also check manually through Settings > System > System update > Check now.

  7. Reset your Roku. An issue with closed captioning is fully software-related, so if none of the above has fixed the problem, a full software reset is your final option.

FAQ
  • How do I turn off closed captioning on Roku?

    To turn off closed captioning on your Roku device, press the Home button on the remote control, then navigate to Settings > Accessibility > Captions Mode. In Captions Mode, turn subtitles to Off.

  • How do I turn on closed captioning on Hulu on Roku?

    If you're using the Hulu app on your Roku, press the Up button (or swipe down) on your remote to reveal the playback bar, then swipe up to access Settings. Under Captions & Subtitles, select On.

  • How do I put closed captions on Sling on Roku?

    If you're using the Sling TV app within Roku, launch Player Controls by pressing OK on the remote, then select the CC icon to enable captions. Select it again to disable closed captions.

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