Simple Captioned Video Calling Solution?


My elderly mother, who is 85 and lives alone, has just been diagnosed as completely deaf.

I’m looking for a tablet which will support captioned video calls - ideally, using WhatsApp, because that’s what she’s used up until now. She didn’t need captions before. Now she does. WhatsApp doesn’t have captions in-built, so the tablet would have to provide the captions.

Or is there another solution maybe?

Thank you :slight_smile:

Both Android and iOS now support live transcription which provides a live captioning overlay. Android has had this a bit longer than iOS so I imagine it’s more stable and accurate (I don’t have Android so hopefully someone else can chime in) but my experience with the iOS transcription while using FaceTime was very good.

Note that the iOS option is only for iOS 17 and up and is still in beta. The WhatsApp help center doesn’t discuss the iOS live transcription option (probably because it’s still so new) but does discuss the Android options on their accessibility features page

Another option is Microsoft Teams (this is what I use for work) which has very good live transcription but in the interest of keeping things simple for your mom the live transcription built into the phone is probably your best bet.

Hi Ewan,

You can address this via app or platform. As pointed by @Heather_R, both iOS and Android has this feature built-in, which will work with all apps installed in the platform.

Some apps have the captions built-in, like Skype, Teams (both from Microsoft) and Google Meet.

WhatsApp doesn’t have built-in support, it can use the live caption from the operating system (Android or iOS).


Thanks Heather, IOS is too expensive, sadly. And sub-titles (Live Captions is Google speak) for video and voice calls are only supported on Google Pixel phones, no other Android devices, as I understand it - nobody at Google is able to tell me if the Pixel Tablet supports Live Captions.

I’ve steered clear of Teams, I’ve heard it’s too complicated.

Thanks Melvyn, Live Captions don’t work on all Android devices for voice or video calls. They only work on Google Pixel phones, and I’m still trying to find out about the Google Pixel tablet.

Sorry, you’re right, with some caveats:

  • Close captioning works in english on most recent phones (Android 10+), I guess at least 4 years old phones. I have a Moto G10, an entry level phone from 2021, and it have the feature (in english, see attachment). Also have a very old Pixel 3 (2018 model) where it works, only in english.
    Translate speech to text with Live Caption - Android Accessibility Help
    This type of captioning usually needs internet connection, and I don’t know if works “with everything”.

  • If you need more languages you’ll need a Pixel 6 or newer. That’s my case: I’m native spanish speaker, so I use a Pixel 7.
    Pixel 6, 7 and 8 don’t need internet for their live caption and works on the fly with any type of calls, video, everything.

  • With Apple (iPhone, iPad) it will work with most recent versions (only english), with iPhone 11 or later. It’s a beta feature that need to be activated somewhere.
    Get live captions in real time on iPhone - Apple Support

  • Also live caption are available on recent Macbook with M1 or M2 processor
    Use Live Captions on Mac - Apple Support

  • With Windows 11 works flawless in english, spanish and a lot of languages. I can guarantee that WhatsApp will work with Windows 11 (I use it with english and spanish)
    Customizing Your Caption Settings | Windows Learning Center

I recommend Windows 11 and Pixel 6+. My experience using both english and spanish have been very good. I have an iPhone but don’t use it becase only works in english. For your case if you only need english it will work with most affordable phones.

Attached screenshot with the Moto G10, I sent a voice note in english (my spoken english is horrendous) the black floating window is the close caption from the voice note.

I guess you preffer the tablet for better screen size which will be most comfortable for your mother. If there’s a Windows 11 laptop available I would recommend try with it, just to have a sight; also, you can visit a phone shop where they usually showcase their models and try them.

Best wishes



Hi Melvyn, and thanks very much for your detailed response, and taking all the time to answer. It is very much appreciated. Muchas gracias :slight_smile:

Yes, I have WhatsApp working with Microsoft Windows Live Captions on my laptop, and that works well. But a laptop wouldn’t be ideal for my Mum, although it will be my fallback.

It’s reassuring that you’re happy with the captions on your Pixel phone. Makes me think the tablet might be supported, too.

Thanks again :slight_smile:

Because the Android OS allows a lot of flexibility in how it is implemented by each device manufacturer it is not possible for Google to speak definitively about live caption support on any device except Pixels, which they own. You will need to check specifically for the devices you are interested in. With that said, I expect most if not all to support live captions in some form. I tried this with an ancient Samsung Galaxy Tab A and while it wasn’t directly integrated I was able to download the official Google app for live transcription. Looking around it seems to be fully integrated in newer Samsung models.

I don’t know what your budget is but you can get an iPad 9th Generation for $250 and it supports live transcription (I just picked one up to watch movies in our truck camper, it works great). Though I completely understand if you would prefer Android or a cheaper tablet, I just thought I would mention it as it’s a lot cheaper than you would expect for an Apple device :smile:

Thanks very much for your reply and advice Heather. Google have now confirmed that the Google Pixel tablet does support Live Captions for voice and video calls.

I’m in the UK, where, for some reason, an iPad 9th generation costs a lot more than $250 dollars. I suppose I could order from US, but I’m happy that I’ve found a solution and will be going with the Pixel tablet.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond, it’s very much appreciated

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Just to let you all know that Google have now confirmed that the Google Pixel tablet does support Live Captions for voice and video calls. So, I’ll be getting one for my Mum.

Thanks so much for all your help. You’ve all been very supportive and helpful. This is clearly a great community :slight_smile: x

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