How to use Apple Live Captions for iPhone, iPad and Mac devices – Mashable | Hot Mobile Press

Apple launches a new suite of accessibility features in the soon to be announced iOS 16and (finally) adding a live subtitles feature for all audio content on all devices.

The new option allows users to easily turn on automatic captioning in their settings menu, which applies to all audio played on the device, from phone calls to FaceTime sessions to videos. The subtitles are displayed at the top of the screen while audio is played in real-time, and users can also adjust the font size of the subtitles to better suit their needs.

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It’s a great addition to the many accessibility features on Apple devices that include customizable customizations vision, mobilityand even cognitive needs. But the company is lagging behind other brands and devices that already offer accessible subtitles right in the device, including the Subtitles and real-time text-to-speech capabilities of Google Pixel phones announced earlier this year.

In his iOS 16 accessibility previewApple described the new Live Captions Listen Featured as a tool for the deaf and hard of hearing community to better navigate their devices, calls, video conferencing and social media apps, with live device-only text generation to protect the privacy and security of speaker conversations.

The best part – for both deaf and active iPhone users trying to stay connected across a variety of social connections – is that the captions accommodate multiple speakers and tones. Devices automatically recognize and associate a different language with each person in the call, using your friends’ contact information already stored.

The live subtitles are not only limited to iPhone users but can be enabled in the settings menus of iPad and Mac devices. For Mac users, the update also includes a live text-to-speech feature for calls, similar to the Google Pixel update, where users can type in an answer and have it speak out loud to others in the call.

This is how live subtitles work

During an audio or video call or when watching a video on your device, live subtitles are automatically displayed in a separate pop-up window at the top of your screen, similar to a push notification. For calls, Facetime sessions, or conference meetings, speaker names are determined based on contact information you already have stored, including contact picture and first name.

For video, live captions do not contain the same audio descriptions as general captions, but only transcribe live narrator voices and not all sounds played on screen.

If you are an iPhone user and interested in the new live subtitles, here’s how to make sure the feature is enabled and customized to your liking:

Go to “Settings” and select the “Accessibility” menu.

First go to your phone settings and then select “Accessibility” a third of the menu options.
Photo credit: Apple/Mashable

All Apple accessibility settings can be found in your iPhone’s settings menu.

Scroll to the section labeled Listen and select Live Captions.

A screenshot of the iPhone's accessibility settings with a red circle around the word

In your accessibility settings, scroll down about halfway to find the Live Captions option.
Photo credit: Apple/Mashable

You’ll also likely see a choice for Closed Captioning settings (other than Live Captions) that control how already generated captioning services are displayed on your devices.

Enable subtitles system-wide or in the app

A screenshot of the live subtitles

The current Live Captions beta shows options to enable captions for your entire device or to target apps.
Photo credit: Apple/Mashable

To enable live subtitles on your entire device, toggle the top button to the “on” position. For calling apps like FaceTime, you can manually choose which app allows live captions. Note that turning it on will alert people you’re speaking to that their audio is being transcribed to text.

Customize with “Appearance” to your liking

A screenshot of the display settings for a

You can customize the font size and color of both the live caption text and the popup window.
Photo credit: Apple/Mashable

You can also customize how live captions appear on your device using the Appearance Settings. In this menu you will find customization tools for font size, font color and the background color of caption text windows.

A screenshot of the text size settings, showing the smallest possible font size.

Adjust the captions to your desired font size.
Photo credit: Apple/Mashable

A screenshot of the text size settings, showing a much larger font size.

Photo credit: Apple/Mashable

The new feature is only available in English for now and is accessible on iPhone 11 models and later, iPad with A12 Bionic and later and Mac with Apple Silicon.

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