How to Use Live Subtitles on Your Android Phone



Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

One of the most understated cool features that have been added to Android phones is live subtitles. Google even recently added it to desktop Chrome browsers. Most of this is billed as an accessibility feature, but it can be useful for a variety of purposes. It can record any audio your phone creates from video or music and display subtitles of what is being said. This is available on most Android phones, but not all yet. And best of all, it’s easy for anyone to turn on live subtitles with just two taps.

How to enable live subtitles on Android phones

This method of enabling live subtitles works with most Android phones, including Pixels and OnePlus phones.

  1. Press the Increase volume or Decrease volume Key.
  2. Tap the Live subtitle icon below the volume control.

    Tap the subtitle switchLive subtitles on!Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

On Samsung phones, you need to take an extra step.

  1. Press the Increase volume or Decrease volume Key.
  2. Tap the three points on top of the volume control.
  3. Tap the Live subtitle icon in the upper left corner of the volume menu.

    How to enable Live Subtitles Samsung SsHow to enable Live Subtitles Samsung SsSource: Adam Doud / Android Central

Live Captions is activated and starts filtering your phone’s audio through the speech recognition algorithms. There may be a slight crack in the video or podcast audio you’re listening to – especially if you’ve listened over bluetooth – and the live subtitle popup will appear when the app detects it. Subtitles can be delayed 5 to 10 seconds after the first few words have been spoken.

If you want to turn live subtitles off again, you can tap the volume slider toggle or close it from the permanent notification that stays in the notification shadow as long as live subtitles is on.

How to add live subtitles to quick settings

Assuming you don’t want to mess around with the volume settings to enable live subtitles, good news! You can add it to quick settings so it’s just a swipe away.

  1. Swipe down from the Top edge Your screen to open the notification shade.
  2. Swipe down from the Top edge Your screen again to open quick settings.
  3. Tap the Pencil icon to edit the quick setting buttons.
  4. Drag the Link for live subtitles from the menu to the quick settings button grid. If you want the switch to appear on the top bar of your notification shade, make sure it’s in the first six icons of the button order.
  5. Tap the Back arrow in the upper left corner to exit the edit menu.

    Tap the pencilDraw a dropTap the back arrowSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

Now you can turn off live subtitles without having to take the volume down from the perfect volume. Instead, just swipe down twice from the top of the screen and tap the switch – or tap it on the notification shade if you paste it into the first six icons, the most important of your Quick Settings.

Here’s how to customize your live subtitle settings

There aren’t that many granular controls for live captions, at least not yet, but there are a few small options that you can toggle on or off at will. These options are more easily accessible when live captioning is enabled:

  1. Swipe down from the Top edge Your screen to open the notification shade.
  2. Tap the Permanent notification for live subtitles.
  3. If you want to beep bad words, tap Hide profanity to turn it on.
  4. Tap on Sound sound labels to turn it off.
  5. If you don’t want the Live Subtitle Switch to clutter your volume control menu, tap Live subtitles in the volume control.

    Swipe downTap Live Subtitle NotificationsLive subtitle optionsSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

Where live subtitles fail

If subtitles are not showing – or are very inaccurate – keep in mind that Live Captions is still in its infancy and has limitations:

  • Live subtitles do not work on music and videos with louder background music can trigger the same interruption.
  • Live captions don’t work well with heavy accents. I saw the Bastille prison scene in Good Omens Episodes 3 and almost nothing the Frenchman said was right. Slang, accents and drawls can put the algorithms in a loop.
  • Live Captions currently only works in English. If a scene during an English video contains phrases or sentences in other languages ​​- like French in the Bastille scene mentioned above – it tends to display word soup when trying unsuccessfully to match foreign words to the US alphabet.

Also, keep in mind that not all phones have live subtitles. The TCL 20 Pro 5G is a notable example of a phone that lacks this feature. If live subtitles are available on your phone, controls can be found in the volume menu. If the option is absent, then live subtitles may not be available on your phone at all.

Caption everything

Pixel 4

OnePlus 9 Pro

This accessibility option can be great for all users

If you want to sign it all, you can do so on one of our favorite Android phones of 2021 too. This is the best phone from OnePlus and comes with a Snapdragon 888, 120Hz refresh rate, super fast warp loading, and more.

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