How to get live captions on audio and video with iOS 16

iOS 16 logo on iPhone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The introduction of iOS Live Captions on audio and video apps could present a serious benefit for those with hearing impairments. After all, iPhones are for everyone and their huge range of accessibility features has long been one of the many reasons that iPhones are considered among the best phones on the market. 

In this vein, a new iOS 16 feature that enables live captions on video and audio is well worth switching on. Live Captions does what it says on the tin: it provides captions to audio and video, including calls and FaceTime, in real time. It's a great feature for those with hearing impairments, increasing their access to audio and video, but may also prove useful generally, if an unstable internet connection is distorting the video on Facetime for example. It could also be a big help for people learning new languages too, who may find it easier reading words than deciphering fast-paced speaking.

It’s a very simple to activate iOS Live Captions, but we'll can walk you through it with this simple guide. 

Note: This feature is currently in Beta and available only in the U.S. Apple has also emphasized that the accuracy of Live Captions may vary and shouldn’t be relied upon in high-risk or emergency situations.

How to enable iOS live captions

1. Open the Settings app, then tap Accessibility.

2. Under Hearing, tap Live Captions

(Image credit: Future)

3. Now, toggle Live Captions to on.

(Image credit: Future)

Your iPhone will now automatically display captions on all apps to accompany audio and video. You can also set it to work only in specific apps. At the moment, while this feature is in beta, these are limited to FaceTime and RTT.

4. Toggle Live Captions in FaceTime to on. You will now see captions on video calls. You can also turn on Live Captions in RTT.

(Image credit: Future)

5. Tap Appearance to change the font size — it can be tricky to read the text at speed on even the largest iPhone screens.

(Image credit: Future)

And there you go, all done! Another great way to help those with hearing impairments is to make sure any sound is crystal clear, it could be worth it to learn how to record stereo sound on iPhone. To find out what else your iPhone is capable of, like controlling nearby devices, check out 7 hidden iOS 16 features that will make your life way easier and how to lock iOS Notes using Face ID.

Andy Sansom
Trainee Writer

Andy is Tom’s Guide’s Trainee Writer, which means that he currently writes about pretty much everything we cover. He has previously worked in copywriting and content writing both freelance and for a leading business magazine. His interests include gaming, music and sports- particularly Formula One, football and badminton. Andy’s degree is in Creative Writing and he enjoys writing his own screenplays and submitting them to competitions in an attempt to justify three years of studying.