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Google's Live Caption feature for Android phones is too cool -- here's how to use it

Live Caption will create subtitles for any video you play on your phone, and it's now available on more Pixel phones.

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Live Caption is a Pixel 4 exclusive for now. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Google's Live Caption feature first launched alongside the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, with a promise that it would eventually come to more devices. With the rollout of Live Caption to the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3A and Pixel 3A XL yesterday, that time has come. 

Live Caption is an impressive technology that you can use to create real-time captions for videos, podcasts or even voice notes on your phone all without sending any information to Google. 

Not only is Live Caption useful when watching videos, but it's even more important for accessibility.

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Live Caption has a few options you should check out. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

How to turn on Live Caption

After setting up your Pixel 4, you'll need to turn on Live Caption in the Settings app (Settings > Sound > Live Caption). Slide the switch next to Live Caption to the On position, and then go through the options below to customize how the feature works. 

I recommend leaving Live Caption in volume control turned on, as it places a handy toggle in the volume control you can use to quickly turn Live Caption on or off without needing to dig through the Settings app again.

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With Live Caption turned on, a black bar will automatically show up whenever you begin watching a video. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

How to use Live Caption

Using Live Caption is a seamless experience. Simply start playing a video, podcast or audio note and a black bar will show up on your screen, auto-filling with captions for the audio currently playing on your phone. Live Caption doesn't work with music or phone calls.

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You can drag the black Live Caption bar around the display to reposition it. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

You can reposition the black caption bar around your screen, or drag it all the way down and off the bottom of the screen to deactivate Live Caption. Alternatively, you can press the volume-up or -down button, followed by the Live Caption icon at the bottom of the volume slider to turn the feature on or off. All of the transcriptions are done in real time, regardless if you have an internet connection or not. Nothing is ever sent to Google for processing.

My favorite part of Live Caption is its ability to caption a video even when the video is muted. Meaning I can watch a short prank video when scrolling through Facebook and read the captions without having to subject myself to unmuting all of the loud autoplay videos in the Facebook app.

If you're looking for more tips and tricks for the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, we have a helpful roundup of guides. From getting the hang of its Android 10 gesture navigation to helpful tips and tricks for Android 10 as a whole -- we have you covered.

Originally published earlier this year. Updated with new information.