Subtitles Always Turning On In Apple TV? 8 Steps To Fix It

Researched & Written by
Couple stuck with Apple TV+ issue on TV

Are subtitles always turning on in your Apple TV?

That sucks! I can only imagine how annoying this must be for you. After all, I bet the last thing you want to do once you get home is having to figure out why this is happening.

But don’t worry, fixing this is easier than you might think. If you can spare a couple of minutes and don’t mind following a few simple steps, we’ll solve this problem in no time.

The 8 main steps you can take to stop subtitles from always turning on in your Apple TV are:

  1. Restart your Apple TV
  2. Update your Apple TV
  3. Disable CC & SDH
  4. Check your internet connection
  5. Check your platforms’ servers
  6. Clear the cache
  7. Disable your VPN
  8. Reset your Apple TV

Keep reading to make streaming enjoyable again!

#1 Restart Your Apple TV

First, let’s try something simple.

If subtitles are always turning on in your Apple TV, there’s a good chance that restarting the device might stop this from happening.

Why? Simple.

Whenever we use our favorite apps or streaming devices, there are thousands of background processes running at the same time. More often than not, they work as you’d expect, and that’s that. But sometimes, a bug, glitch, or corrupted file can make them crash, causing your Apple TV to act weird.

When this happens, you’ll likely encounter issues, such as being constantly returned to your Apple TV’s Home Screen, stuttering navigation, and much more.

By restarting your device, you’ll be giving it a chance to get rid of any troublemakers and reload most of its processes.

This is a very useful fix that can work for several other technical issues, so don’t hesitate to try it out.

Solution: Restarting your Apple TV is very easy. Any of the options below should help you do it successfully.

  1. On your Siri Remote, press and hold both the “<” and the “TV” button (it looks like a screen) at the same time until your Apple TV status light starts blinking rapidly. For first-gen Siri Remotes, replace the “<” button with the “MENU” button
  2. Disconnect the device from its power source, wait 5 seconds and then reconnect it
  3. Go to Settings>System>Restart

#2 Update Your Apple TV

How to Update Apple TV to stop subtitles from turning on
Keeping your Apple TV updated is essential to guarantee the proper functioning of the device

I know what you’re thinking, “there’s no way that keeping my device outdated could cause this”. And while I’d love to agree with you, I can’t.

You see, with every new release, software developers try their best to fix as many bugs and install as many new features as humanly possible. Moreover, newer apps and network versions are designed and optimized to work with the latest streaming device software.

Using an older version of your device’s software with fully updated programs could be the reason subtitles are always turning on in your Apple TV.

Now, usually, this shouldn’t be something that keeps you up at night, as there’s automatic updating. But sometimes, a weak network or a coding bug can prevent this.

In such a case, you’ll have to manually download and install the latest Apple TV software version.

Solution: I know this sounds very technical, but don’t call your hacker friends yet. The process is very simple:

  1. Go to Settings>System>Software Updates, and select “Update Software”
  2. If there’s an update available, you’ll see an option that says “Update and Install”
  3. Wait for the process to be completed and keep your Apple TV connected to its power source at all times

#3 Disable CC & SDH

Moving on, let’s try disabling subtitles from the core.

If you’re here, you’ve probably already tried (unsuccessfully) to turn them off through your favorite platform’s menu. It was a great idea, and I congratulate you on the effort! But sometimes, you need to dig a little deeper.

I want us to try disabling closed captions from your Apple TV’s settings. Granted, this will turn subtitles off across all platforms, but you can always reactivate them within each one.

This is one of the most effective ways to solve this issue for good. And the best part is that it doesn’t even take 5 minutes.

Solution: Here’s what you have to do:

  1. On your Apple TV, go to Settings>Accessibility
  2. On the new menu, find “Hearing”. Then, choose “Subtitles and Captioning”
  3. Select “Closed Captions + SDH” and toggle it off

#4 Check Your Internet Connection

Now, I want us to take a look at your connection.

Although it’s true that noticing a bad network is normally very easy, sometimes things can get a little more complicated. Yes, total service failure equals being cut off from the internet, but now and then, your signal might only be weak.

This would allow you to still be able to browse the web lightly and text your friends, while also noticing that subtitles are always turning on in your Apple TV.

And there’s a good reason for that.

You see, your favorite platforms need at least 5 Mbps to work normally and load all their resources. If your current internet plan does not meet these requirements or your network is saturated, it could explain why you’re having this issue.

And to make matters worse, a network with insufficient speed or capacity can also be the source of other problems, such as Error 3905.

Solution: A good rule of thumb is to take the number of people you live with and multiply it by the Mbps your desired streaming resolution requires (5 for Full HD, and 25 for 4K). Let’s say you live with 3 other people, and you all love 4K content.

In such a case, you’ll need a plan that offers at least 100 Mbps (4 people x 25 Mbps).

Assuming that your current plan is already fast enough, try calling your provider and asking if they’re having issues. If they tell you they’re not, then resetting your modem is not a bad idea.

If you’ve never done it before, that’s ok. It’s very easy:

  1. Without unplugging the modem, turn it around so that you can see the back of the unit
  1. Locate the reset button (more often than not, it’s not a button, but a small hole with a “Reset” label on it)
  1. Use a paper clip or a thin toothpick to press down on the actual button inside this hole. Hold it down until all the lights at the front of the unit turn on, and then turn off
  1. For a brief moment, all lights on the modem will be off, that’s your cue to stop holding down the reset button
  1. Wait a couple of minutes and try streaming something on your Apple TV. If your modem or provider were to blame, your subtitles should no longer keep turning on.

If this didn’t work, don’t worry. We still have a lot of ground to cover. Read on to discover more fixes to this issue.

#5 Check Your Platforms’ Servers

Moving on, let’s make sure your favorite platforms’ servers are not failing.

As you may know, these are responsible for storing important information and giving billions of online content lovers a high-quality service.

Given how vital they are, most companies have put a lot of work into making them as resistant as possible. And while they’ve made some headway, it still wouldn’t be safe to say that they’ve managed to make them failproof.

A coding bug, a broken hard drive, or even minor hacking can affect how your favorite services work and cause subtitles to always turn on in your Apple TV.

This can also result in blurry video, login difficulties, and much more.

Solution: To confirm our suspicions, let’s check your favorite platforms’ servers. For this example, I’ll show you how to do it for the Apple TV+ app. You can either do it by using Downdetector, which will also work for other streaming platforms, or by using Apple’s proprietary server status website.

Let’s start with the former:

  1. Open Google, and type “Is Apple TV down?”, then hit Enter to search your query
  1. Locate “Downdetector” on the search results, and click on it (or click on this link:
How to search for Downdetector for Apple TV
Make sure you’re entering the official Downdetector website
  1. Once you’ve entered the webpage, you’ll see a bunch of data, and a large graph
How to check Apple Tv's Downdetector graph
The taller the spikes, the more likely you are to be having trouble

Assuming that you want to try checking the servers through Apple’s proprietary website, here’s how to do it:

  1. Open your preferred browser
  2. Search for “Apple System Status”
  3. Click on the first option. This will show the Apple system status for your country
  4. Look for Apple TV on the list of services and check the status. If it’s green, you’re in the clear
How to check Apple TV's server status on Apple's website
If you spot server failure, patience is key

Sadly, if any of your platforms’ servers are, in fact, down, your hands are tied.

But I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Most streaming companies have very capable IT departments, so I’d be surprised if this issue lasts longer than a day at the most.

#6 Clear the Cache

If you read the title and had no idea what this is, that’s ok. A lot of people find themselves in the same situation.

Now that you’re here, I’d love to shed some light on the concept.

Your apps’ cache is where a lot of important information is stored. In it, you’ll find video, audio, user preferences, and login credentials. By keeping this data handy, your favorite platforms can load quicker when launched and make your experience better.

More often than not, leaving your cache untouched is best. But sometimes, a file stored within it can become corrupted and start causing trouble.

In such a case, you’re better off clearing it.

Solution: Deleting your favorite apps’ cache on your Apple TV is very easy. Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Go to Settings>General>Manage Storage
  2. Find the app you want to delete the cache for and hover above the trash can icon. Select it and confirm
  3. Wait until the process is completed

Clearing your cache frequently can help you have a wonderful streaming experience at all times.

#7 Disable Your VPN

VPNs are simply amazing.

Not only do they make our browsing secure, but also open up a world of possibilities and international content we can enjoy. There’s a lot to love and very little to complain about.

… what a shame that streaming companies dislike them so much.

Believe it or not, many of them, like Disney Plus, Netflix, Prime Video, and several others have been very clear about this. They’ve even tried to make their services incompatible with devices that stream with VPNs often.

While I don’t agree with their actions, I can understand them. And when I tell you why, you might too.

You see, a lot of the content available on these platforms is only licensed to be played in certain countries. Since VPNs allow people from all over the world to stream it, actions must be taken.

It’s either that or face million-dollar lawsuits.

If you can’t live without streaming with a VPN, I’d recommend getting a premium subscription. Free alternatives use only 20% or so of your plan’s speed and do not offer obfuscated servers, which are great at disguising your VPN traffic.

Solution: When you want to know whether your current VPN is to blame for this, try disabling it and streaming without it for a while. If subtitles are no longer turning on in your Apple TV, there’s your answer. It’s time to look into some premium alternatives.

There are great options out there for as little as $60.

#8 Reset Your Apple TV

Let’s try one last thing.

When all else fails, Factory Resetting your Apple TV is not the worst of ideas. As its name suggests, this process will revert your device to brand-new condition, deleting user preferences, downloaded apps, and your favorite settings.

I know this is far from ideal, but sometimes it might be the only way to get things back up and running.

This probably won’t be the last time you’ll ever have to do this, so here’s a useful tip for you. Keep a list of all your downloaded apps and their respective login credentials written down somewhere safe. This will save you the trouble of having to remember what to re-download once everything’s been done.

Solution: Again, this should be our last resort. If you’re certain that there’s nothing else you want to try, here’s what you have to do:

  1. On your Apple TV, go to Settings>System>Reset
  2. Once you’re asked for confirmation, select “Reset” again


Having subtitles always turning on in your Apple TV can be very annoying. Who wants to troubleshoot and play technician after several hours of hard work? This device should be making your life easier, not more complicated.

What a mess.

Luckily, as I hope you’ve learned in this piece, addressing most of the causes behind this is very easy. More often than not, double-checking your favorite platforms’ servers, and disabling Closed Captions on your device, should do the trick.

Thank you so much for sticking with me all the way to the end. If you found this article helpful, you’ll be happy to know that we upload new content every week. Check out our other incredible resources below to become a Tech Detective yourself!

I wish you all the best.