The new Live Captions feature on Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL is an underrated addition to its flagship phones this year. You can see captions om any video directly on your device, be it a YouTube video or embedded video on your Twitter feed. This is how you can use it.
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- Why Should You Use Live Captions?
- How to turn on Live Captions
- How to tweak Live Captions settings
- How to use on Phone Calls (Coming Soon)
Why Should You Use Live Captions?
Have you ever sat on a train or in the office and someone sends you a great video to watch? Of course, you can increase the volume of your smartphone and play that video so that everyone can hear, but in some cases, it can be anti-social. You can also grab the headphones, but it can also be painful if they’re on the bottom of your bag or if you don’t have at that moment or worse don’t have at all.
Live Caption is the perfect solution for these moments. I don’t see this as a feature for watching longer videos or full movies, even if you could if you wanted to, but for situations where you just need to understand the dialog without confusing the volume controls and headphones, it’s perfect! Live Caption can add subtitles to any video on your phone. It is also surprisingly accurate and works quickly in real-time. It also works for video calls, which was not possible before.
How to turn on Live Captions
There are several ways to activate Live Caption activation on your Pixel 4 & 4XL smartphone. The fastest and easiest way is via the volume button. If Pixel is running on Android 10, just do the following:
- Press the volume button, up or down is ok.
- At the bottom, there is an icon that looks like a field with text (see image below). That is the icon of Live Captions.
- You can turn it on or off quickly and easily here.
- When it is off, it has a diagonal line through the box.
You can also enable and disable Live Captions in the Quick Settings menu. You will need to add an icon to the Quick Settings if you have not already done so. Follow the steps below:
- Drag from the top of the screen to open the Quick Settings menu.
- Tap the pencil icon to edit the tiles you have.
- You’ll find the same Live Caption icon we saw in the Volume Rocker menu.
- Add it to your Quick Setup menu for easy access
You can also activate Live Caption through the standard settings menu. It’s in the accessibility settings. Scroll down until “Live Label: automatically caption media” appears.
How to tweak Live Captions settings
Now that you know how to toggle Live Caption on and off, you can browse the Settings menu to customize the controls to your liking. You can search for “Live Caption” in your settings or find it as described above in the “Accessibility” menu.
From the screen below, you can change the language (English is currently only available, but you change it when more languages lunches), hide profanity and choose whether you want to activate voice tags for things like laughter, applause, and music, or if you can live without them.
You can also remove the Live Caption icon from the volume control if you don’t want to use this method to enable or disable it. This menu also contains information and tips on using Live Caption. For example, touch and hold the subtitles to move them while double-tapping the subtitles expands them.
How to use on Phone Calls (Coming Soon)
Thanks to Android 11 Developer Preview 3, we now know that Google intends to provide live captions for calls and video content. This would mean you could basically have subtitles for your chat partner!
XDA Developers reviewed Device Personalization Services version 2.13.302920511, which is a Live Captions application. They found strings of code that indicate that users can activate real-time captions during a call on Android 11.
Have you tried Live Caption on your Google Pixel 4 smartphone? What are you using it for? Share your experience in the comments below.