Instagram Stories adds auto-caption sticker so you can watch without sound

It's a feature accessibility advocates have long requested.

Abrar Al-Heeti Technology Reporter
Abrar Al-Heeti is a technology reporter for CNET, with an interest in phones, streaming, internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. She's also worked for CNET's video, culture and news teams. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
Expertise Abrar has spent her career at CNET analyzing tech trends while also writing news, reviews and commentaries across mobile, streaming and online culture. Credentials
  • Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has three times been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.
Abrar Al-Heeti
2 min read

Instagram Stories now has an auto caption feature.


Instagram on Tuesday rolled out an update to Stories that lets users add captions to their videos. The new captions sticker automatically takes what someone says in a video and turns it into text, so users can watch without sound. Instagram says it'll soon start testing the captions sticker in Reels, its TikTok competitor

"You may not always be somewhere where you want your sound on, yet you still want to see what your friends and creators are posting," the company said in a statement. "With captions, people can now express themselves in a more effortless yet still meaningful way, and their audience can watch and still engage."

Accessibility advocates like model and actress Tatiana Lee have long called on Instagram to roll out automated captions in Stories, so that a range of people including those with hearing loss can fully engage with content. Last year, the Facebook-owned company launched AI-powered automatic video captions for IGTV, and says it's hoping to make captions "more efficient, inclusive and easier for everyone to watch and understand."

A growing number of tech companies are rolling out features designed to expand access to their platforms. Google, for instance, launched Live Transcribe in 2019, which offers real-time speech-to-text transcriptions for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. In March, the search giant extended Android's Live Caption feature, which automatically generates real-time captions for media with audio, to its Chrome browserApple released a People Detection feature last year that lets blind and low-vision iPhone and iPad users know how close someone is to them. And Facebook has worked to improve photo descriptions for blind and visually impaired users while also launching other accessibility features lately like scalable font sizes and contextual headings.

Short form video app TikTok also rolled out auto captions last month, which automatically generate subtitles so viewers can either read or listen to content. Creators can choose auto captions on the editing page after they've uploaded or recorded a video. "We are working with our community to spread the word and encourage all creators to use auto captions and other features that make content more accessible," the company said in a release

Captions for Instagram Stories are currently only available in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore and Ireland. The company says it hopes to expand the update to more countries "soon."

Here's how to use the feature:

  1. Record a video via the Stories or Reels camera, or upload one from your phone's gallery.
  2. Click on the sticker tray and choose the "Captions" sticker.
  3. Now, your speech will be converted to text. You can change the caption's style, color and text, as well as its position. 
  4. Post the Story and you're good to go.