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How to turn closed captions on or off on Roku

As long as an app chooses to play nice with Roku OS, you can quickly toggle captions on or off across the board.
By
October 13, 2022
A Roku soundbar and speakers
Roku

Closed captioning is a pretty essential option on any streaming device. Even if you’re not hard of hearing, dialogue can sometimes be tough to understand, especially in loud action scenes. Here’s how to turn closed captions on and off on Roku.

Read more: Roku buyer’s guide

QUICK ANSWER

To turn closed captions on and off on Roku, go to Settings > Accessibility > Captions mode from the Roku home screen. Choose from one of the four options that appear.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to turn off closed captions on Roku

roku remote in basket
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Closed captions should be off by default. If they’re on when you don’t need them, however, disabling them is simple. Using your Roku remote:

  • Hit the Home button to go to the homescreen (if you’re not already there).
  • Select and open the Accessibility menu. On some devices, there might be a straight-up Captions menu.
  • Within Accessibility, click Captions mode.
  • Choose Off.

You can also toggle captions during playback by hitting the star/asterisk button and going into the Closed captioning menu. Either method has a system-wide impact.

How to turn on closed captions on Roku (including different modes)

The process here is similar to the one for turning captions off, but there are a few things to note. First, switching captions on doesn’t guarantee them in every movie or TV show — videos have to include them, specifically. Some apps may also force you to use their own closed caption settings, in which case you may have to check support websites for specific instructions.

Roku offers three different “on” modes:

  • On always forces captions to appear whenever they’re supported.
  • On replay enables captions whenever you hit the Replay button on your remote, as long as that content supports Roku’s instant replay functions.
  • On mute leaves captions off most of the time but turns them on whenever audio is completely muted. Only some Roku devices support this.

Most people should choose On always if they want captioning. The other options do have their uses, of course — On mute is great if you usually avoid captions but, say, want to catch news updates while listening to something else.


Frequently asked questions

Typically, you should be able to tap the star/asterisk button to bring up a mid-video window with a Closed captioning menu.

Yes, but you may need to turn these on separately from Roku’s general settings. During a video, hit the up or down button, then select Audio and Subtitles (a speech bubble) to see options.

On most recent Roku devices, Disney Plus captions can be toggled using system-wide controls. If not, you’ll have to do it from a video’s description page in the app.

Yes, but support is provided by app developers, so the way of toggling it on and off varies. As a rule, you should look for an app’s audio/language settings during playback, then choose between tracks with or without Descriptive Audio (a.k.a Audio Description).