YouTube – Apple’s Lack of Caption Support

Being an all-round Apple customer – having a MacBook, an iPad, an iPhone, I love their great products. However, I have noticed that the lack of captioning support for YouTube videos on their portable devices, specifically iPhone and iPad, is a shortcoming.

When viewing a YouTube video on a computer, I see captions as well as an interactive transcript. However, neither captions nor a transcript show up when I view that same video on an iPhone or an iPad. Those devices have settings for captions, but it seems that they are applied for other players than YouTube.

Here’s a blogpost written by Robert Goodwin 2 years ago about this lack of caption support, and the video is embedded here to show the difference between caption support on a computer an an iPad:

Below are also screenshots of the captioned video that works well on my computer, but not my iPad.

YouTube captioned video

YouTube video player on iPhone without captions

The screenshot on left shows a YouTube player on a computer that shows captions and an interactive transcript while the screenshot on right shows a YouTube player on an iPhone that doesn’t show any captions or transcript.

Since YouTube videos are based on Flash and Apple does not support Flash on their devices, this explains the lack of caption support. I hope Apple is going to do something about this lack of feature for the very commonly used player on their portable devices. If anyone knows the solution to this, please contact me.

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