How to Turn Off Subtitles on Disney+

By: Verbit Editorial

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According to estimates, nearly 150 million people worldwide subscribe to Disney’s digital streaming service, Disney+. Since 2019, the popularity of the streaming service has been steadily increasing, and its user base continues to become more diverse and engaged. Disney+ offers content of various genres that appeal to viewers of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities and is constantly adding new assets to its digital library to keep subscribers’ interest.

There are many Disney+ accessibility features that users can harness for enhancing the Disney+ streaming experience. Subtitles are a valuable tool for enhancing and customizing the Disney+ viewing experience for audience members across the globe. In this article, we will cover some of the basics of subtitle technology and discuss how to control subtitles for Disney+ on different devices. 

Back to Basics: What Are Subtitles?

Before we dive into the available subtitle options on Disney+, let’s cover the basics of subtitling technology. Subtitles serve as a textual representation of the audio of a movie or television show. To create subtitles, service providers may convert a transcript of a screenplay to real time text that syncs with the audio of a film or other video recording. Although those in the UK and many others use subtitles and captions to describe the same solution, in the US, subtitles refer to text that translates the audio into another language. For instance, subtitles might allow English speakers to watch a French film.

Subtitles may appear in many different languages, making them an extremely valuable resource for viewers consuming content in a non-native language. In this context, subtitles serve as an on-screen, real-time translation of a video’s dialogue. Disney+ supports multi-lingual subtitle capabilities, though most titles offer users only limited language options.

Subtitles also differ from closed captions in another way. Captions provide a textual representation of non-speech audio elements like slamming doors or barking dogs. In a way, subtitles are a form of captioning that converts dialogue to text rather than trying to represent every audio element of a video on-screen.

The Disney+ platform often uses the terms subtitles and captions interchangeably, but most of the content available to consumers will feature closed captions rather than subtitles. These captions will include text-based representations of audio elements like sound effects and music cues and notation of speech elements like repeated words, inaudible speech, laughter, stammering and more. We will continue using the word “subtitles” because that is the terminology on the Disney+ interface. However, users should keep in mind that most of the English subtitle tracks they encounter are technically closed captions.

a black controller that says "lang" and "subtitle" on the buttons

How to Turn Subtitles On and Off on Disney+

Disney+ makes it easy for users to enable and disable subtitles according to their viewing preferences. Users can turn subtitles on while viewing a video via the following steps:

  • Step 1: Open Disney+ on your device
  • Step 2: Select and play the title you want to view.
  • Step 3: Click on the keyboard icon at your screen’s top right or bottom right corner.
  • Step 4: Select the subtitle language.
  • Step 5: Click the X to exit the subtitle menu.
  • Step 6: Resume playing your video.

After following these steps, the subtitles for the video should appear at the bottom of your screen.

If the subtitles are on but you prefer watching Disney+ without subtitles, you can follow many of the same easy steps to disable subtitles via the Disney+ subtitle settings. When you’re ready to turn off subtitles, Disney+ makes it fast and easy. Simply follow the steps outlined above, but select OFF from the drop-down menu rather than selecting a language for your subtitles. This should disable subtitles on streaming and allow you to consume the content without subtitles visible on-screen.

The user-friendly menu makes adjusting Disney+ audio and subtitles fast and easy for viewers. In addition to the streaming service subtitle options, users can also take advantage of audio options on Disney+ to change the language of the title’s audio track or to enable audio description during viewing.

a computer with "Disney+" on the screen.

Additional Tips and Options

Disney+ offers a robust set of accessibility features and high customizability for subscribers. In addition to offering captions and subtitles in various languages, some other Disney+ user preferences give subscribers more control over their viewing experiences. For example, users can customize the style, size, and font of their captions.

The specific steps for adjusting the subtitle settings for TV shows and movies will depend on your viewing device. For example, the subtitle menu options will appear differently for iOS and Android users. You can find more specific information about customizing your subtitles and captions on Disney+ by consulting the Disney+ app subtitle guide.

Who Benefits Do Viewers Get from Subtitles?

Subtitles are great for delivering more engaging, inclusive viewing experiences to audience members consuming content in a non-native language. Also, subtitles are a meaningful resource for viewers with ADHD and other neurodivergent conditions because they make auditory information available in an alternative format. It’s important to understand, however, that subtitles – in a technical sense – are not the best option for accessibility because they do not provide textual representations of every audio element.

Closed captions are better for supporting viewers with disabilities, such as those who are Deaf or hard of hearing. This is because captions accurately represent ALL audio elements – not just spoken dialogue. Quality captions provide more equitable viewing experiences to audience members with disabilities and support accessibility guidelines like the ADA and WCAG.

a mobile phone with "Disney+" on the screen

Learn More About Subtitles and Captions

Media platforms like Disney+ increasingly recognize the importance of providing their subscribers comprehensive accessibility tools to improve viewing experiences and support accessibility standards and guidelines. With so many customers tuning into their favorite streaming platforms from multiple devices and locations, easy access to assistive technologies is a must-have for any media company looking to appeal to more diverse audiences.

If you’re interested in learning more about assistive technology solutions like captioning and subtitles, reach out to speak to a member of the Verbit team.