TikTok’s auto caption feature allows users to easily add captions to their videos, making them more accessible for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
However, sometimes the auto captions don’t show up on TikTok videos. There are a few potential reasons why this happens and several troubleshooting steps you can take to try and fix it.
Why TikTok Auto Captions Might Not Be Showing Up
There are a few main reasons why auto captions may not be appearing on your TikTok videos:
Your Video is Too Short
TikTok requires videos to be at least one minute long for auto captions to generate. If your video is under 60 seconds, you won’t see the option to turn on auto captions. Try making your video longer and the auto caption option should appear.
Videos under one minute simply do not give TikTok’s caption algorithms enough audio data to accurately generate captions. The system needs a full minute of clear audio to “listen” to the words and transcribe them properly.
Recording shorter videos may be tempting when trying to make quick viral content, but it prevents accessibility features like captions from working.
Captions are Turned Off in Video Settings
Go to your video settings and make sure the “Captions” toggle is switched on. If it’s off, auto captions won’t generate. Tap the toggle to turn captions on.
The captions setting essentially gives TikTok permission to run its automated caption software on your video file. If the toggle is off, TikTok assumes you don’t want captions generated and thus won’t process the video audio. It only takes a second to double check this setting and flip the toggle on. Don’t forget to save your changes after enabling captions.
Your Account is Private
TikTok auto captions don’t work on private accounts. To use auto captions, you’ll need to make sure your account is set to public. Go to your profile, tap the three dot settings menu, choose “Privacy,” and toggle your account to public.
TikTok imposes this privacy limitation to protect user data and prevent any captions glitches from appearing on private videos. So you’ll have to choose between keeping your account fully private or enabling auto captions.
An alternative is to just make certain sensitive videos private while keeping your main account public.
The Video Language Isn’t Supported
TikTok auto captions currently support around 10 languages. If your video isn’t in one of the supported languages, no captions will be generated. Double check your video language and try recording in a supported language.
TikTok’s caption support varies by region but generally covers popular languages like English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Arabic, Turkish, Russian, Thai, Bahasa Indonesian. Auto captions work best on videos shot in a single language. Mixing multiple languages can confuse the caption algorithm.
There’s an Error or Bug
Like any technology, sometimes there are just bugs or errors that prevent auto captions from working properly. It may be a temporary technical issue on TikTok’s end. Trying re-uploading the video or wait a bit and try again later.
With millions of videos and captions being processed daily, TikTok’s systems sometimes malfunction or have temporary outages. Usually these get resolved within a few hours. But bugs do happen, preventing captions from loading correctly. Have patience and try again later before assuming it’s an issue on your end.
You Have Copyrighted Music
Due to copyright issues, TikTok auto captions don’t work on videos that use copyrighted music. If you want captions, you’ll either need to remove the copyrighted song or add captions manually.
The automated captions system scans the audio track to generate the text captions. If that audio contains copyrighted songs, record labels often prohibit it from being processed to avoid any licensing issues. Stick to royalty free music or original audio to ensure auto captions work properly.
Troubleshooting Steps to Fix TikTok Auto Captions Not Showing Up
If auto captions aren’t appearing on your TikTok videos, there are a number of troubleshooting steps you can take:
Double Check Video Length
Go back and check that your video is at least 1 minute long. Shorter videos won’t trigger the auto captions. If needed, film an extended version and re-upload.
Be sure to check the video length in the TikTok app itself rather than just estimating in a camera or editing app. The length shown on TikTok is what matters. If your video is even a few seconds shy of a full minute, delete it and stretch the runtime. You can simply let extra time elapse at the end or beginning.
Confirm Captions are Enabled
- Open the TikTok app and go to your profile page.
- Tap on the video that is having issues with captions.
- In the bottom left, tap the “Edit Video” button.
- On the editing page, tap the captions icon (CC) at the top.
- Make sure the switch is turned on for “Auto Captions.”
The captions toggle is easy to overlook when editing your video. Just because you enabled captions on a previous video doesn’t mean they carry over. Check each individual video to confirm auto captions are activated. If not, tap the switch on and be sure to save before exiting the editor.
Check Account Privacy Settings
- Go to your TikTok profile and tap the three dot menu.
- Choose “Settings and privacy” then select “Privacy.”
- Check that the “Account” toggle is switched to public, not private.
- Save your settings and try sharing the video again.
Having a private account is common on TikTok but will restrict certain features. Take a moment to consider if keeping your entire account private is completely necessary or if you can live with a public profile to access auto captions. You can always toggle specific videos private as needed for privacy.
Review Video Language
- On the video editing page, tap the captions icon (CC).
- At the bottom, check the language that is selected.
- If it’s not one of the supported languages, you’ll need to re-record the video in a different language.
Be sure the language setting matches what is actively spoken in your video. Don’t just select your default device language if you are actually speaking another one. TikTok needs the correct language input to generate accurate matching captions.
Retry Uploading the Video
- Delete the existing video from your TikTok.
- Re-record and re-upload the video.
- Double check captions are enabled in the video editor.
- Let the video process for 5-10 minutes after uploading.
Sometimes a simple re-upload can help trigger the caption process, especially if you made changes like lengthening the video or changing account settings. Give the video enough processing time after the upload too before checking for captions.
Check for App Updates
- Go to the App Store if on iOS or Play Store on Android.
- Search for TikTok.
- If there is an update available, install it.
- Updates sometimes fix bugs that affect captions.
Staying on the latest version of the TikTok app ensures you have all the newest features and stability fixes. Updates routinely address caption bugs reported by users. Installing them only takes a minute and can often resolve quirky issues.
Remove Copyrighted Music
- Delete the existing video containing copyrighted music.
- Re-record using royalty-free music or no music.
- Upload the new video and confirm captions are enabled.
Legally, TikTok cannot scan and caption copyrighted content unless permission is explicitly granted. Avoid this roadblock by using original audio, creative commons music, or muted clips. Read licensing carefully.
Try Manually Adding Captions
If auto captions persistently don’t work, you may have to manually add captions:
- In the video editor, tap the captions icon.
- Tap “Add captions.”
- Type out your captions for each section.
- Tap “Done” when finished.
- Save and post your video.
While time consuming, adding custom captions gives you full creative control. You can ensure caption accuracy, stylistic choices, proper punctuation, and errors are fixed. Some prefer this method over glitchy auto-captions anyway.
Contact TikTok Support
If you can’t resolve the auto caption issues, reach out to TikTok’s support team:
- Open the TikTok app and go to your profile.
- Tap the three dot menu and choose “Settings and privacy.”
- Tap “Report a Problem.”
- Choose the issue category and explain your caption problem.
- Include details like when it started and troubleshooting steps tried.
- Submit your report. TikTok should follow up within a few days.
Going directly to the source, TikTok support can look into technical issues on their end or escalate persistent bugs. Provide as much helpful detail as you can about the caption problem. TikTok relies on user feedback to improve features.
Why TikTok Auto Captions Are Important
Adding auto captions to your TikTok videos makes them accessible for deaf and hard of hearing viewers. Here are some key reasons why captions are so important:
The auto captioning removes barriers for those in the deaf community. It lets them enjoy videos by reading subtitles. Captions make content truly available to all potential audiences.
Improves Viewer Retention
Studies show that captions help keep all viewers watching for longer. People are more likely to watch a full video if it has captions. When users can both read and listen, they engage at a deeper level.
Aids in Comprehension
Captions allow people to both read and hear the words. This improves overall comprehension, especially in noisy environments. The pairing of text and audio caters to different learning styles as well.
Helps Videos Get Discovered
Videos with captions tend to rank better in TikTok’s recommendation algorithm. Captions boost content distribution and discovery. TikTok rewards inclusive videos that cater to more user needs.
Expands Your Audience
Captions allow your content to reach those with hearing issues plus anyone who simply likes reading along. It grows your overall audience. You gain access to a broader pool of potential viewers.
You May Learn Something
Reading captions of your own videos can help you catch muddled words and refine your message. The text can make you aware of unclear speech habits to improve.
Key Takeaways on Enabling TikTok Auto Captions
Fixing issues with missing TikTok auto captions involves:
- Checking video length and account privacy settings
- Confirming captions are enabled in the video editor
- Retrying uploading the video after updates
- Using one of the supported languages
- Removing any copyrighted music
- Manually adding captions as a last resort
- Contacting TikTok support if needed
Captions make content more inclusive and should be enabled whenever possible. Troubleshoot issues systematically and your captions should show up properly.
Just have patience and follow TikTok’s best practices for auto captioning. Accessible videos benefit viewers and creators alike.