The Pixel 4's Live Caption Feature Is Now Available on Pixel 3 and 3a

Illustration for article titled The Pixel 4s Live Caption Feature Is Now Available on Pixel 3 and 3a
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

The Pixel 3a was already one of my favorite phones of the year, but now (alongside the standard Pixel 3) it’s getting even better: Google is porting over the Pixel 4's Live Caption feature to both versions of the Pixel 3.


With Live Caption, Pixel 3 owners will be able to simply tap a button below their phone’s volume slider to instantly add captions to practically any video or spoken audio playing on their phone. (Note: The one main situation Live Caption doesn’t work is on phone calls.)

This makes Live Caption a hugely important tool for people who are hard of hearing, while also being a handy solution for situations when you may not be able to turn the volume up on your phone, are having trouble following parts of dialog, or for non-native speakers trying to learn a new language.

Gif: Google

Because all the speech processing happens on device, Live Captions still works even if the phone isn’t connected to the internet. And in case the caption box ever gets in the way, you can quickly move it wherever you like by dragging it around with your finger. Unfortunately, Live Caption currently only supports English, though Google says it hopes to expand the feature to more languages in the future.

The update for Live Caption on the Pixel 3/3a follows a recent move by Google that added the Pixel 4's Astrophotography mode to older Pixels, and with Google having also promised to bring the Pixel 4's Voice Recorder app (which features Google Live Transcribe feature) to previous Pixel phones, Pixel 3 owners should have at least one more useful software upgrade headed their way.

Google is pushing out Live Caption to the Pixel 3 and 3a starting today, so if you haven’t gotten the update yet, keep checking back throughout the week until it hits your device.


Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.

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This and the voice recorder/transcriber app are by far my two favorite things about the Pixel 4 so far. Live Caption in particular is just incredibly handy for watching videos at night when I don’t want to bother anyone else in the room.

I only wish it integrated some of the features of the Recorder app, so that I could capture and save the video transcripts (hell, even being able to scroll them back would be great). It also doesn’t even /try/ to distinguish between multiple speakers, which can make following along tricky sometimes — they should make it assign each voice a separate colour or something.. But whatever; it’s super cool anyway. Hopefully one day they’ll give it a few more tricks and make it even better.