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How to enable Live Captions in Android 12

Jack Wallen explains what the Android 12 Live Captions feature is and how to easily enable or disable it.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer

Android 12 introduced a ton of new features to the mobile operating system, some of which made a big difference in how users interacted with their devices. One such feature is called Live Captions and it's one of those features you had no idea you needed…until you used it.

What is Live Captions?

Simply put, it captions all audio that your device plays for better accessibility. Now, not every application works with Live Captions. For example, the built-in Recorder app does not, whereas the YouTube app does. 

What's remarkable about Live Captions is how accurate it is. And, even better, it works whether the video is on mute or not. The implications of that should be obvious. If you have a meeting you need to attend, you can mute it and read whatever is being said (to not disturb anyone around you). 

Of course, the main purpose of Live Captions is to make it easier for those with hearing problems to be able to consume the content they want without having to jump through unnecessary hoops. 

I will show you how easy it is to enable/disable Live Caption on Android 12. In fact, I'm going to show you two methods for doing so. To use Live Captions, you'll only need a device running Android 12 or later. 

How to enable Live Captions from the volume button

The first (and easiest) method of enabling Live Captions is to tap either the Volume Up or Volume Down button. When you do, you'll see the Live Captions icon (below the volume slider) with a line through it (Figure 1).


Live Captions is currently disabled.

Image: Jack Wallen

If you tap the Live Captions icon the line will disappear, indicating it is now enabled (Figure 2).

The Android Volume popup showing Live Captions is enabled.

Live Captions is now enabled.

Image: Jack Wallen

If you then open any app with audio, the live captions will appear on the screen (Figure 3).

Purple Rain as seen with Live Captions on.

Watching a bit of Purple Rain with Live Captions on.

Image: Jack Wallen

If you want to disable Live Captions, just reverse the process by tapping the Volume Up or Down button and tapping the Live Captions icon.

How to enable Live Captions from the Quick Tiles

The next method of enabling Live Captions requires you to add a new tile to the Quick Tiles section of the Notification Shade. I find this method a bit easier because you don't have to mess with the Volume buttons.

First, you must add the Live Captions tile. To do that, pull the Notification Shade down twice and tap the pencil icon (Figure 4).

The Android 12 Notification Shade.

The Quick Tiles edit button is found in the Notification Shade.

Image: Jack Wallen

Scroll down until you locate the Live Captions Quick Tile (Figure 5).

The Android Quick Tiles edit window.

The Live Captions Quick Tile button can be easily added to the Notification Shade.

Image: Jack Wallen

Drag the Live Captions Quick Tile button into the top portion of the Notification Shade and then, once you have it where you like it, tap the left-pointing arrow at the top left corner of the display. 

Now that the Live Captions Quick Tile has been added, you can easily enable/disable the feature by dragging down the Notification Shade twice and then tapping its Quick Tile (Figure 6).

The Live Captions Quick Tile has been added to Android.

The Live Captions Quick Tile has been added to the Notification Shade.

Image: Jack Wallen

Using this method makes it very easy to quickly enable/disable the Live Captions feature. 

I think you'll come to appreciate the Live Captions feature either way you interact with it. If you have a phone with Android 12 or newer, enable Live Captions and see if it doesn't improve your experience. This might not be a must-have feature for everyone, but for those who need it, Live Captions will help make Android far more accessible.

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