How to Turn Apple TV Closed Captions On or Off

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

Apple TV Home page.
Apple TV supports a number of accessibility features including closed caption and subtitles.

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

Instructions in this article apply to all Apple TV and Apple TV 4K models.

How to Turn Apple TV Closed Caption On or Off for All Content

Most streaming services available on Apple TV, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Apple's own video service, include support for closed captions or SDH (subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing). To enable closed captions for all content:

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

    Select the Settings icon on the Apple TV home screen.
  2. Select General from the list of options.

    Select General from the list of options.
  3. Select Accessibility.

    Select Accessibility.
  4. Select Subtitles and Captioning.

    Select Subtitles and Captioning.
  5. Select Closed Captions and SDH to toggle the feature On or Off.

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

Select Closed Captions and SDH to toggle the feature on or off.

How to Control Closed Captions and Subtitles for the Current Show

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

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

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

Apple Tv Info panel and subtitles control.
Enable subtitles for any show you're watching via the Info panel.

How to Control Subtitles With Siri

On the Siri enabled remote, hold down the Siri key and say "Turn on closed captions" or "Turn off closed captions." You can also access the closed caption options by triple tapping the touch surface of the Apple TV remote.

How to Customize Closed Captions and Subtitles

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.

    Select the Settings icon on the Apple TV home screen.
  2. Select General from the list of options.

    Select General from the list of options.
  3. Select Accessibility.

    Select Accessibility.
  4. Select Subtitles and Captioning.

    Select Subtitles and Captioning.
  5. Select Style.

    Select Closed Captions and SDH to toggle the feature on or off.
  6. What you see at this point depends on whether or not you've previously created or edited any styles. You'll likely see options to Edit Style, Create New Style, or use a predefined style. You may also see a number of styles you can select to edit.

The style editing page will include a list of changes you can make as well as a preview showing you what the style changes will look like. The options include:

  • Description: Change the name of the style.
  • Font: Change the font type.
  • Size: Adjust the size of text.
  • Color: Change the color of text.
  • Background: Set the color behind the text. Choose a background color that contrasts with the font color.
  • Opacity: Set the background opacity, or how transparent the subtitles will appear. 
  • Advanced Tools: Change the text opacity, edge style, and highlights.
Edit Apple TV subtitle styles.
You can modify the look of how closed captions and subtitles are displayed.