Apple Podcasts in iOS 17.4 offers automatic episode transcript text — A huge win in accessibility for hearing-impaired users

Apple Podcasts transcription
(Image credit: Future / Apple)

The iOS 17.4 beta will bring the ability for shows in Apple Podcasts to have a transcript, which can be viewed soon after an episode has been published.

In a post detailing the new feature, Apple described how transcripts would work in iOS 17.4. “Apple automatically generates transcripts after a new episode is published. Your episode will be available for listening right away, and the transcript will be available shortly afterward. There will be a short delay while we process your transcript.”

When you use the Apple Podcasts app in the new update, there will be a new 'quote icon' when playing an episode. Pressing this will make the transcript appear — much like how you can show lyrics in the Apple Music app on iOS when a song is playing. This will follow the hosts as they speak throughout the episode, so you can scroll back and forth to get back to a certain point you may have missed.

Podcast creators on Apple’s service were sent emails about the new change — but they haven’t been given the opportunity to let this new feature transcribe existing and upcoming episodes. We suspect that will appear once iOS 17.4 is released.

Another win for accessibility — iMore’s take

As a listener of The iMore Show for many years — way before I became the co-host, I’d see a transcript that would have been written by those at iMore at the time, then published alongside a new episode. It was useful, but that meant having the webpage available somewhere so that users with hearing impairments could read the transcription.

For listeners who use Apple Podcasts, it’s about to get far easier to keep track of an episode. It’s great that this will be automatically generated, as long as the proprietors of the podcasts allow it, that is. It’s another example of how seriously Apple takes accessibility — if this can be made available in Apple Podcasts on macOS and Apple TV as well, there’s going to be plenty of happy users out there, waiting to try this out. 

I’ve used Overcast, another podcast app, for years now. I simply prefer its layout and features more than what Apple Podcasts has provided — but once iOS 17.4 arrives, I’m tempted to give it another try and see just how well Apple’s transcription feature really works.

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Daryl Baxter
Features Editor

Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use every day to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.

Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a monthly newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64, and Daily Star.