How do I use subtitles on BBC iPlayer?

You can get subtitles on programmes you watch on the BBC iPlayer website and apps, including programmes you download.

The icon to select subtitles is a speech bubble which you'll see on the playback screen. On the website and TV app, you can choose the size of the subtitles to suit your needs. We’re planning to bring this feature to the BBC iPlayer mobile/tablet apps in the future, but can’t confirm when that would be.

BBC iPlayer app on connected TVs

  1. Start playing an on-demand programme or live stream
  2. Bring up the playback menu (you can use the enter/select, play/pause or arrow/direction buttons on your remote)
  3. Use the arrow/direction button then the enter/select button to select the speech bubble icon at the top left of the screen

In the subtitle menu, you can switch subtitles on and off, and you can also adjust the size.

You can turn off subtitles in the same way. We’ll remember your subtitle preferences until you switch off the device, or turn off or change subtitles.

Screenshot of an on-demand programme on TV, highlighting the speech bubble icon for subtitles

Screenshot showing accessibility options on TV iPlayer playback screen

BBC iPlayer website on a computer, mobile or tablet

  1. Start playing a live or on-demand programme (you might see a trailer first)
  2. Click on the subtitle (speech bubble) icon at the bottom right corner of the playback screen
  3. You'll see a pink line under the subtitles icon when subtitles are switched on

Screenshot of the playback screen on the website with the Subtitles speech bubble icon highlighted on the bottom right

You can change the size of subtitles at any time via the subtitle icon. 

Playback screen on the BBC iPlayer website with the subtitle options open and highlighted on the bottom right

BBC iPlayer app for mobiles and tablets

  1. Start playing an on-demand programme
  2. Tap anywhere on the playback screen to display the playback options.
  3. Tap on the speech bubble on the top right

The BBC iPlayer mobile/tablet app playback screen with the Subtitles speech bubble icon highlighted

You'll see a few accessibility options: AD, SL and Subtitles. There is a toggle next to each one. To switch on subtitles, tap the toggle and it will switch to pink. You can switch subtitles off in the same way. 

BBC iPlayer mobile/tablet app playback screen with the accessibility options open and the subtitles toggle highlighted

Are subtitles available on downloaded programmes?

Yes - just download the programme you want to watch and follow the steps above depending on what device you're using.

Are subtitles available on live channels?

Subtitles are available on our live TV channel streams on the BBC iPlayer website and on our TV app. This is a trial which is available on all channels apart from BBC Parliament, BBC Alba and S4C. We hope to roll out this functionality to the BBC iPlayer mobile/tablet app in the future.

Whilst we try to make subtitles available on as many browsers and operating systems as possible, there are times when this isn't possible, particularly on older devices.