Accessibility features offered by Youtube.

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Accessibility features on YouTube

Accessibility features on YouTube

YouTube is an OTT platform that allows video streaming over an internet connection. Initially, YouTube generated revenue from advertisements. But now, it offers paid content to its subscribers. Watch, share, and download videos easily with Youtube. You can stream any number of videos, upload anything you wish to, and share it across all social media platforms. You can also embed these videos on your websites. You can create your music videos, short films, documentaries, movie trailers, live streams, vlogs, and more. 

Log into to YouTube with your Google account to create or view videos. Once you log in to the account, you will find a range of accessibility features. Some of its features are extremely useful for the hard of hearing and visually impaired individuals.

General Accessibility

Keyboard shortcuts:

All your navigation on Youtube is made easy when you know how to access a combination of keys on your keyboard. The shortcuts here guide you to use this combination efficiently. Efforts made simple. 

To access the keyboard shortcuts on YouTube, click your profile picture and select the Keyboard shortcuts. Else just use the shift key and ? (SHIFT+?) on the keyboard. 

If you are using the new computer experience, click the video player before using the shortcuts. You can return to the classic computer experience anytime by clicking your profile picture and then ‘Restore old YouTube.’

Keyboard ShortcutAction
SpacebarPlay/ Pause when the seek bar is selected
Play/ Pause Media keys on KeyboardPlay/ Pause
kPlay/ Pause in Player
mMute/ Unmute the video
Stop Media Key on KeyboardStop
Next Track Media Key on KeyboardMoves to the next track in a playlist
Left/Right arrow on the seek barSeek backward/forward 5 seconds.
jSeek backward 10 seconds in player.
lSeek forward 10 seconds in player.
.Skip to the next frame when the video is paused.
,Skip to the previous frame when the video is paused.
>Speed up the video playback rate.
<Speed down the video playback rate.
Home/End on the seek barSeek to the beginning/last seconds of the video.
Up/Down arrow on the seek barIncrease/Decrease volume 5%
Numbers 1 to 9 on the seek bar (not on the numeric pad)Seek to 10% to 90% of the video.
Number 0 on the seek bar (not on the numeric pad)Seek to the beginning of the video.
/Go to the search box.
fActivate full screen. If full-screen mode is enabled, press F again or press escape to exit full-screen mode
cActivate closed captions and subtitles if available. To hide captions and subtitles, press C again.
Shift+NMove to the next video (If you’re using a playlist, you will move to the next of the playlist. Else to the following YouTube suggested video).
Shift+PMove to the previous video. (Only when using a playlist)
iOpen the Mini player

Accessibility features on YouTube Android mobile App

The YouTube Android app is compatible with Android’s accessibility features. It offers accessibility support for blind and low vision users with Google’s TalkBack and other special accessibility features. The TalkBack is a screen reader that speaks text and image content on your screen. Turn this setting on or off on your Android device. Here are three options to turn TalkBack On and Off.

Volume key shortcut

  • With the Volume key shortcut:
  • Use the volume key shortcut the first time you turn it on and set up your device. The volume key shortcut won’t work if you haven’t enabled it. 
  • You find both your volume keys at the side of your device.
  • Press and hold both volume keys for 3 seconds.
  • To reassure that you want to turn TalkBack on/ Of, press both the volume keys for 3 seconds again. 


With Google Assistant:

  • Use the wake-word ‘Hey Google.’
  • Say ‘Turn on TalkBack’ or ‘Turn Off TalkBack’


With device Settings:

People with low vision can navigate with the settings icon to turn on/off TalkBack.

  • Open Settings in your device
  • Find and click accessibility and click TalkBack
  • Select Ok.

For iPhone and iPad users, refer to the following link to get access to a screen reader.

Getting Started.

After turning on the Android accessibility settings, TalkBack and Explore By Touch can assist you in taking a tour around Youtube’s content and elements. 

 How do you navigate your device with TalkBack?

You either touch or swipe your screen to explore. Make sure to turn on TalkBack before you navigate. (Steps to turn on are mentioned below). 

Explore by touch

TalkBack announces icons, buttons, and other items when you slowly drag one finger around the screen. After a pause, TalkBack can suggest actions like how to activate or view the content. Double-tap anything you want and anywhere on the screen to select it.

Explore by swiping

Swipe up or down with one finger to explore the screen one at a time. When you focus on an item, TalkBack reads that item aloud and can also suggest actions for you.

Getting Started. 

Use TalkBack and Explore by Touch to explore all the content and elements on Youtube.

The three main tabs to make a note of are the Home, Subscriptions, and the Library. 

Home lets you find the recommended videos.

Subscriptions shows you the channels you have subscribed to. You need to sign in to YouTube to see the Subscriptions tab.

Library is where you can find your viewing history, uploads, purchases, and playlists.

The profile picture at the top corner helps you manage some essential features like your settings, Google’s privacy, help, and sign in. 

You can sign in and sign out of your account by just tapping your profile picture and selecting Sign in/ Sign out.

Explore YouTube: Browse videos and playlists.

Use one finger to scroll through videos in Home , playlists, or channels. With TalkBack, you will hear the name of the video and the associated metadata as you scroll.

Search for videos and playlists

To search videos using the Explore By Touch, you need to find the search button. To find the search button, tap the top of the screen. The search button will be next to the ‘More options’ element. 

  1. Double-tap on the search button to add your search to the “edit box.”
  2. Use Explore By Touch to browse the displayed search results.

Play and control videos

Once you’ve found a video of your choice to play, double-tap to begin playback. To access the player controls, double-tap the “Player” at the top of the screen.

Player Controls and Options

Pause: Double-tap ‘pause video’ to pause the video

Minimize: Double-tap the ‘minimize’ button to minimize a video during playback 

Dismiss minimized video: Double-tap the ‘Close mini-player button to the right to dismiss the minimized video.

Expand minimized video: Double-tap “Player” and swipe up using two fingers to expand the minimized video player.

Add to Playlist: Double-tap the “Save video to playlist” button to open the “Save video to” alert. You can use Explore by Touch to select a playlist. If you would wish to create a playlist, double-tap “New playlist.”

  • Tap the ‘Title- Edit box’ to name your playlist
  • Double-tap the ‘Drop-down list- Private.’ You can make your playlist private, public, or unlisted. 

Find these options when you click the ‘More options’ button in the top right corner. Double-tap the ‘More options.’

  • Change video quality: Double-tap the “Quality” button
  • Report a video: Double-tap the “Report” button.
  • Closed captions: Double-tap the “Captions” button.

Find the following features below each video:

  • Video description and metadata.
  • Like and dislike buttons.
  • Channel subscribe button.
  • Video suggestions.
  • An option to add a comment.
  • Comments about the video.


All the videos you upload to YouTube can be accessed from the Library . Select your videos from the library. Use one finger to scroll through videos that you’ve uploaded to your channel.

Turn accessibility setting on/off

If your accessibility setting is on, an X icon will appear on the video player. You can turn this accessibility setting off on your Android device or within the YouTube app. On your Android device:

  1. Go to your Android device Settings .
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Select the appropriate accessibility option.
  4. Select Off.

Within your YouTube app:

  1. At the top of the app, tap your profile picture .
  2. Select Settings .
  3. Select Accessibility.
  4. If you want to override the Android device-level setting, turn off “Accessibility Player.”
  5. You can also set a timer to hide the video player controls after X seconds automatically.

Accessibility for visual impairments

Use YouTube with a screen reader

You can use computer screen readers on YouTube to enhance the user experience. Use the tips given below. Keyboard shortcuts are automatically turned on when you use YouTube.

Search for YouTube videos

  1. Go to YouTube.
  2. Go to the Search box at the top of the page with the ‘/’ keyboard key. 
  3. Enter a search term and press Enter.

Search results

We can misspell words when we search. But the search results page has a “Did you mean” section that suggests proper words. Each search result displayed has the following information:

  • The title of the video- selecting it will play the video. 
  • The name of the channel that posted the video.
  • When the video was uploaded and the number of times it has been viewed.
  • A snippet from the description of the video.


YouTube Video player

Click a video to go to the YouTube video player. Here are the features you will use in the player.

    • Seek slider: The seek slider is used for fast-forwarding or rewinding the video. Turn off the Virtual cursor to use the seek slider. Use the left/right or up/down arrow keys to fast forward/rewind the video.
  • Play/pause: The button text changes based on the status of the video. To replay the video after it stops playing, select the Play or K button.
  • Next: This button allows you to skip to the following video. In the absence of media buttons, skip to the next video using Shift+N.
  • Mute/unmute: This button changes depending on whether the video is muted or not muted.
  • Volume slider: Use the left/right or up/down arrow keys to increase/decrease volume.
  • Time elapsed/total duration: Time elapsed is the time until which you have watched the show. You get to see the time elapsed over the total duration of the video. You can know how much there’s still left to play. 
  • CC (Subtitles): If a video has subtitles, use the shortcut key C to enable them. The subtitles will appear at the bottom of the video. To turn off subtitles, use the C shortcut again.


This Settings button shows you a menu and allows you to make the following changes:

  • Annotations: Turn annotations on or off.
  • Playback speed: You have normal, speed up, or slowed down playback speeds given. Choose yours.
  • Subtitles/CC: Turn subtitles on or off. You can also choose the language of the subtitles or opt for auto-translation.
  • Quality: Choose the pixel quality of the video you’re watching. The available resolutions depend on the quality of the video uploaded and your internet speed. YouTube recommends leaving this option on Auto, choosing your video quality based on your internet speed.


Theater mode

Select Theater mode to expand the player. To go back to the original player size, select the icon again.



Fullscreen maximizes the player to the size of your screen and removes everything outside the player. Press Escape to exit fullscreen mode.

Use YouTube with a screen reader on Apple TV

Apple TVs are compatible with VoiceOver screen readers. The information below explains how to use the YouTube app with a screen reader on Apple TV (4th and 5th generations). 

To use a screen reader on Apple TV: 

  1. Open Settings in Apple TV.
  2. Select General.  
  3. Select Accessibility. 
  4. Select VoiceOver. 
  5. Select VoiceOver again to turn it on.
  6. Rotate two fingers on the Siri remote touchpad until the rotor dial displays “DirectTouch.”

Turn on “DirectTouch” open the YouTube app.

Accessibility for hearing impaired

Search for videos with captions

Videos with captions will have “CC” below the video summary in search results. If you prefer to see video suggestions that have captions available, turn on this search filter:

  1. Enter the keywords in the YouTube search bar and click search
  2. Click Filters icon
  3. Click Subtitles/ CC

Manage Subtitle Settings

You can turn on the captions and customize them by changing their appearance and language.

Volume key shortcut

Turn captions on or off

  1. If the video you are watching has captions available, the icon will be visible on the bottom right of the video player.
  2. To turn on the player, click . To turn it off again, click .


Turn default setting to on or off

  1. Click your profile picture to access Settings .
  2. From the left-hand menu, click Playback and performance.
  3. Check or uncheck- always show captions.
  4. Check or uncheck- Include auto-generated captions (when available). This option would turn on or turn off the automatic captions for videos that originally do not have captions added.

Change default size & style of captions

  1. At the bottom right of the video player, click Settings .
  2. Click Subtitles/CC.
  3. Click Options.

You can customize the font, color, opacity, size, background color and opacity, window color and opacity, and Character edge style.

To reset the changes made, click Reset to go back to the default captions format.


Select caption language

To choose a different caption language:

  1. At the bottom right, click Settings .
  2. Click Subtitles/CC.
  3. Select a language.

If the language you’re looking for isn’t listed when you click Subtitles/CC, click auto-translate, and select the language of your choice. 

Volume key shortcut 2

View captions transcript

If the owner has added the captions, you can view the full captions transcript and jump to specific parts of the video.

  1. Below the bottom-right corner of the video player, click More .
  2. Click Open Transcript. As you watch the video, the transcript will scroll to show you the current caption text.
  3. Click any word in the transcript to jump that part of the video.

Caption settings on TV & game consoles

You can select or change your caption settings on any TV, game console, or media device that supports YouTube.

  1. Pause the video you’re playing.
  2. Tap Captions .
  3. Select the language you want Captions in.
  4. Select Caption style.
  5. Select the settings to customize the captions. You can change the font, appearance, background, and window that the captions are displayed in.
  6. Services provided by CaptioningStarAt CaptioningStar, we offer 
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