subtitles on bbc iplayer

How to Get Subtitles on BBC iPlayer – Quick Guide

Wondering how to get subtitles on BBC iPlayer? Or want a quick guide on enabling the same?

Don’t you just love the fact that you can catch up on all the beloved and frequently watched BBC programmes via BBC iPlayer, it is a true blessing.

What if someone from your family wants to join as well, but has some sort of hearing problems.

Or maybe you just want to practice a language, just to catch some new words, or phrases.

In that case you will need subtitles on the player. Subtitles availability depends on which version of the streaming service you are using to watch.

We are going to lead you step by step  how to get subtitles on BBC iPlayer, regardless which device you are using.

BBC iPlayer Versions That Supports Subtitles

subtitles supported devices

In addition to on- demands programmes, even downloads have a subtitle option.

You can find the list of versions that support subtitles here:

  • BBC iPlayer app for mobiles and tablets on Android and iOS or Amazon Fire.
  • The Official website on mobile browsers and tablets on Amazon Fire (Android and iOS)
  • The official website on Macs and PCs
  • Sky Q (through the BBC iPlayer app)
  • Freesat G2
  • Almost all smart TVs
  • YouView
  • Virgin Media TiVo
  • BT Vision
  • Games consoles
  • Chromecast with black and white subtitles only

However, at the time of the writing, BBC iPlayer subtitles are not yet available for Sky on Demand and Apple TV(4th generation).

So be aware of the version you have before you lose your mind if you try to get subtitles for a version that does not support it.

Also, worth noting is the fact that if you are not in the UK you will not be able to watch the streaming service.

That is because of the right issues problems.

You will get the message that content is not available in your country.

One way around the problem is to connect to the Internet via a VPN.

Now after clarifying a few things, we can start with the instructions.

BBC iPlayer App on Your TV

subtitles on bbc iplayer tv

To get the feature enabled on your TV using the official of BBC, follow the steps as mentioned below:

  • Begin by starting a programme
  • Choose the playback menu (you can press the same button you used to get the programme going)
  • Find the S icon and select it. You can locate it on left side of the screen down at the bottom
  • The menu is going to vanish after a couple of seconds
bbc iplayer subtitles

Image Credit : BBC UK

If you wish to discontinue using subtitles, use the same steps.

These settings will be on until you decide to switch off the TV.

BBC iPlayer Website Played on Personal Devices

subtitles on bbc iplayer website

To get the subtitles on your mobile, tablet or your laptop you can follow the steps mentioned below:

Step 1. Begin by playing the programme (there is a possibility that you see an option for a trailer beforehand)

Step 2. Press the subtitle icon (You can compare it with a speech dialogue, easy to find) it is located in the bottom corner on the right side of the screen

Step 3. If the subtitles are active, there will be a pink line underlier directly under the subtitle icon to indicate that you have managed to switch them on

There is an option to enlarge, or to decrease the subtitles as well, just click on subtitle icon.

subtitles on bbc iplayer mobile

If you wish to watch live TV channels streams, that feature is available on BBC iPlayer website only.

Subtitles on BBC iPlayer App 

subtitles on bbc iplayer app

To enable the feature on the official app for mobile and tablet you can do the following:

  • Begin by playing the programme
  • Find the S icon and select it.
  • You can locate it on the right side of the screen at the very bottom

In order to discontinue with the subtitles, simply press the S icon again.

BBC iPlayer on Sky

As we mentioned before, regarding Sky, you can only watch BBC programmes on Sky+HD and Sky Q.

Subtitles are accessible on Sky Q box only through an BBC iPlayer app.

It is an issue that BBC is trying to solve, and it is related to the fact that Sky uses a different subtitle format to the BBC.

Subtitles Not Working?

Sometimes you may not be able to see the subtitles or your BBC iPlayer may not work.

Or when you press “S” to get the subtitles, it returns with an error message.

To fix this issue you can do the following:

  • First check for any recent updates
  • Go to TV/Mobile Settings
  • Open the Apps settings
  • Clear the “cache” of iPlayer app
  • Restart TV
  • If problem exists, reinstall the app

Delayed Subtitles 

Sometimes you will encounter a delay in what is said and when subtitles are actually displayed on the screen.

This is due to the fact that subtitles are created in advance for the recorded programmes.

Technicians will sync the picture and the audio.

Recorded programmes allowed them to do that, there is enough time for them to adjust the picture and the sound so, there shouldn’t be any delays.

When you watch news or any other live programme, or even close to live, the subtitles are generated during broadcast.

This often means that you will experience some form of delay.

On the other hand, if you experience a delay with BBC iPlayer subtitles in recorded programmes.

If you are facing these issues, you need to contact BBC for resolution as this issue is from BBC end and not from user end.


We hope after reading this article, you have understood how to get subtitles on BBC iPlayer.

Technology is evolving by the day and failures and bugs are quite possible even after you have done everything you should do.

So, in case of any issues, you can reach out to the company for resolution.

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