Easily Bring Up Subtitles
Sometimes even those of us with the best of ears can’t make out what characters are trying to say. Subtitles and closed captions can be helpful in this case. While it’s already fairly easy to turn these on from the normal menu — just swipe down to bring up the playback controls, choose Subtitles, and then your preferred language, there are easier ways.
If you simply want to quickly find out what was just said, you can use Siri — hold down the microphone button on your remote and ask “What did he (or she) say” and Siri will automatically jump back a few seconds and temporarily enable subtitles. This is a quick and handy feature, but you can actually enable an even easier way:
- Open the Apple TV Settings app
- Select General
- Select Accessibility
- Scroll to the bottom and select Accessibility Shortcut
- Select Closed Captions; ensure that none of the other options are checked
- Press the Home button to return to the home screen.
Once you’ve configured this, you will be able to triple-click the Menu button on your remote to quickly toggle subtitles on or off at any point in a program you’re watching.
Note that at one point Apple also allowed you to do this by triple-tapping the touchpad on your Siri Remote, and in fact Apple’s tvOS documentation still says that this is possible, but it seems to have gone away in tvOS 12. Regardless, we generally find the tactile menu button to be far easier to triple-click quickly than the touchpad, so we think the Accessibility Shortcut is a better option anyway.
Again, as with some of the other tips we’ve talked about, this only works in Apple’s own apps and third-party apps that either use Apple’s own video player or have implemented the accessibility features themselves. It should also go without saying that the program in question has to actually include closed captions; the Apple TV can’t show you what’s not already there.