How to Turn on Apple TV Subtitles and Captions

Control subtitles on all versions of Apple TV and Apple TV 4K

Apple TV supports several ways to control subtitles. You can set closed captions to be always active or enable captioning on a show-by-show basis. You can also alter the style of the subtitle text to make it easier to read.

Information in this article applies to all Apple TV models, except as noted.

How to Turn on Apple TV Subtitles for All Content

Most streaming services available on Apple TV, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV+, include support for closed captions or SDH (subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing). To enable closed captions for all content that supports this feature on the Apple TV:

  1. Select the Settings icon on the Apple TV home screen using the Siri Remote or Apple TV Remote.

    The Settings app
  2. Select General from the list of options.

    The General heading
  3. Select Accessibility.

    The Accessibility heading
  4. Select Subtitles and Captioning.

    Subtitles and Captioning
  5. Select Closed Captions and SDH to toggle the feature On or Off for all content that supports the feature.

Press the Menu button on the remote or select the Home icon to return to the home screen.

Apple TV Settings for subtitles and captioning

How to Turn on Subtitles for the Current Show

You may not want to leave closed captions or SDH on all the time. You can also turn Apple TV subtitles on or off on a show-by-show basis.

On the Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K, swipe down on the touch surface of the Apple TV remote while viewing a program to open an Info panel. With the Subtitles option highlighted, swipe down and select the option to turn subtitles On or Off. The option names may differ based on the service you're watching, but in general, you see Auto, On, and Off.

On older Apple TVs, press and hold the Select button on the remote for about three seconds to display the Subtitle tab.

Apple TV Info panel and subtitles control.

How to Change the Language of Subtitles

You can change the language used for subtitles in the Info panel that you access by pulling down on the touch surface of the Siri Remote. You may need to tap Audio first, or the current language may display, in which case, tap it. Make your language selection from the list of options.

How to Control Apple TV Subtitles With the Siri Remote

On the Siri Remote, hold down the Siri microphone key and say Turn on closed captions or Turn off closed captions.

If you miss some dialog, hold down the Siri key on the remote and say What did she say? or What did he say? When you release the button, the Apple TV replays the last 15 seconds of video with closed captions turned on so you can hear or read it again.

The Siri remote is compatible only with Apple TV HD (formerly called Apple TV 4th generation) and Apple TV 4K.

You can also access the closed caption option for individual programs by triple-tapping the touch surface of the Siri remote. Set up the triple-click action by going to the home screen of the Apple TV and selecting Settings > General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut and choosing Closed Captions for the shortcut.

Accessibility Shortcut on Apple TV

How to Customize Subtitles and Captions

It's possible to alter the font, size, and color of subtitles. You can also set the background color for the text and adjust the opacity. To customize closed captions:

  1. Select the Settings icon on the Apple TV home screen.

    The Settings app
  2. Select General from the list of options.

    The General heading
  3. Select Accessibility.

    The Accessibility heading
  4. Select Subtitles and Captioning.

    Subtitles and Captioning
  5. Select Style.

    Subtitles and captioning preferences on Apple TV
  6. Choose an existing style to edit or choose New Style.

    Edit Styles on Apple TV
  7. Make a selection in each category where you want to change the style. The Style editing page includes a list of changes you can make and a preview that shows how the style changes appear. The options include:

  • Description: Change the name of the style.
  • Font: Change the font type.
  • Size: Adjust the size of the text.
  • Color: Change the color of the text.
  • Background: Set the color behind the text. Choose a background color that contrasts with the font color.
  • Opacity: Set the background opacity.
  • Advanced Tools: Change the text opacity, edge style, and highlights.
Edit Apple TV subtitle styles.