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How to change the look of closed captions on Mac

Closed Captions on Mac
Closed Captions on Mac (Image credit: iMore)

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 to change the look of closed captions in macOS Monterey.

How to change the preset caption style on Mac

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

Click on the Apple menu button on your Mac, then select System Preferences, followed by Accessibility (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click Captions in the menu on the left. You'll have to scroll down just a bit.
  2. Click one of the caption style options:
    • Transparent Background
    • Classic
    • Large Text
    • Outline Text

Click Captions, then click one of the caption style options (Image credit: iMore)

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

How to create custom captions on Mac

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

Click on the Apple menu button on your Mac, then select System Preferences, followed by Accessibility (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click Captions in the menu on the left. You'll have to scroll down just a bit.
  2. Click the + button below the three style presets.

To create custom captions, click Captions in the menu on the left, then click the Plus button (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Enter a name for the style next to Style Name.
  2. Click the dropdown menu next to Background Color.
  3. Click a background color.

To create custom captions, enter a name for the style, click the dropdown, click a background color (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click the dropdown menu next to Background Opacity.
  2. Click an opacity option.
  3. Click the dropdown menu next to Text Color.
  4. Click a text color.

To create custom captions, click on the dropdown menu for Background Opacity, select an opacity option, select dropdown menu next to text color, then select a text color (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click the dropdown menu next to Text Size.
  2. Click a text size.
  3. Click the dropdown menu next to Font.
  4. Click a font.

To create custom captions, select the Text Size dropbox menu and select the text size, then click on the Font dropdown menu and choose a font (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click the checkbox next to each dropdown menu to allow or deny video the ability to override each setting.
  2. Click OK when you're finished.

To create custom captions, click the checkbox next to whatever dropdown menu to allow or deny video the ability to override each setting. Choose OK when finished (Image credit: iMore)

How to enable closed captions and SDH by default on Mac

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 on the Apple menu button on your Mac, then select System Preferences, followed by Accessibility (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click Captions in the menu on the left. You'll have to scroll down just a bit.
  2. Click the checkbox next to Prefer closed captions and SDH.

to enable closed captions and SDH by default, click Captions in the menu on the left, check the checkbox next to Prefer closed captions and SDH (Image credit: iMore)

Check out some other accessibility features

Apple has always tried to provide good Accessibility features, but in recent years they have really stepped up their game. One of our personal favorites is Voice Control, which lets you control your best Mac with only your voice.

In fact, our own writer, Luke Filipowicz, broke his hand a few years ago and came to rely on Voice Control quite extensively during his post-op recovery.

It just goes to show that having high-quality Accessibility features is good for everyone, because you never know when you might need them yourself.

Updated April 2022: Includes latest macOS Monterey information.

Mick is a staff writer who's as frugal as they come, so he always does extensive research (much to the exhaustion of his wife) before making a purchase. If it's not worth the price, Mick ain't buying.