How to change the look of closed captions on Mac

Just like enabling closed captions on your TV, you can do the same in Accessibility on your Mac, and they'll be there for you when available. And you don't just have to stick with one style. If the default reverse text is too hard to read, you can switch it up to different presets or create your own.

Here's how!

How to change the preset caption style

  1. Click the Apple menu button () on the top left of your screen.
  2. Click System Preferences.
  3. Click Accessibility.

    Click System Preferences, click Accessibility

  4. Click Captions in the menu on the left. You'll have to scroll down just a bit.
  5. Click one of the caption style options:

    • Transparent Background
    • Classic
    • Large Text
    • Outline Text

      macOS subtitles

The window above the choices will preview each one so you can decide which works best for you.

How to create custom captions

  1. Click the Apple menu button () on the top left of your screen.
  2. Click System Preferences.
  3. Click Accessibility.

    Click System Preferences, click Accessibility

  4. Click Captions in the menu on the left. You'll have to scroll down just a bit.
  5. Click the + button below the three style presets.

    Click Captions, click the + button

  6. Enter a name for the style next to Style Name.
  7. Click the dropdown menu next to Background Color.
  8. Click a background color.

    Enter a name for the style, click the dropdown, click a background color

  9. Click the dropdown menu next to Background Opacity.
  10. Click an opacity option.
  11. Click the dropdown menu next to Text Color.
  12. Click a text color.

    Click a background opacity color, click a text color

  13. Click the dropdown menu next to Text Size.
  14. Click a text size.
  15. Click the dropdown menu next to Font.
  16. Click a font.

    Click a text size, click a font

  17. Click the checkbox next to each dropdown menu to allow or deny video the ability to override each setting.
  18. Click OK when you're finished.

    Click the checkbox to allow video to override the setting, click OK when finished

How to enable closed captions and SDH by default

When available, you can use closed captions and subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH) by default.

  1. Click the Apple menu button () on the top left of your screen.
  2. Click System Preferences.
  3. Click Accessibility.

    Click System Preferences, click Accessibility

  4. Click Captions in the menu on the left. You'll have to scroll down just a bit.
  5. Click the checkbox next to Prefer closed captions and SDH.

    Click Captions, click the checkbox next to Prefer closed captions and SDH

Enhance your Mac with these solutions

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Beats Studio3 Wireless Headphones ($350 at Amazon)

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Samsung T5 SSD (From $88 at Amazon)

This solid state drive from Samsung is speedy, tiny, and portable. It also connects using USB-C, making it a perfect companion for your new Mac.

Apple Magic Keyboard ($89 at Amazon)

Apple's official Bluetooth keyboard is a great basic option that provides a consistently solid typing experience and pairs easily with your Mac or iPad.

Questions?

Anything else you need to know? Sound off in the comments below!

Updated July 2019: Includes latest macOS information.

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