How to Fix Android Live Captions

Allan X
3 min readMay 25, 2021

From my experience, after certain system/Google app updates, Live Captions suddenly stops working. Being deaf and having bought a Pixel phone just for this… it’s really annoying. More so that the best advice Google Support can give is to reset all app preferences. Well they are morons and after several calls offering them better solutions and telling them to escalate the issue to fix this for good, shows that Google is also behaving like a monopoly.

Here’s a less painful way you can try. It has worked for me and quite frankly highlights why Android OS needs to be broken up from Google. Live Captions is an Android 10+ feature, but Google decides which devices can use it. Basically it has special access to the OS but is using it to sell it’s own devices. My old phone (OnePlus 6) has better specs still, other than the camera, and was cheaper.

Disable Live Captions

Open the Settings app and search for Live Captions and turn the feature off. This just makes sure everything is in a clean/fresh state.

Clear App Settings and Reinstall Device Personalization Services (DPS)

This Google app, contains the special on/off switch that tells the supported devices when to start captioning. Some apps will tell DPS to disable the feature like Netflix. Or others such as Zoom (or phone-related apps) will tell DPS to announce that we are using Live Captions on the call. This latter one feels discriminatory as Google Play Store has tons of call recording apps which silently record calls. How can Google even justify selling these?

And DPS or the presence of it on a supported Android device is required to enable Live Captions, a built-in Android 10+ feature.

Then click Storage and Cache and clear both, everything.

The reinstall part is 2-steps. First uninstall all updates, resetting it to the version that came with the device.

Then restart your phone and open the Play Store and install new updates. DPS should be one of them. This will get it back to the latest version but in a clean state. Much better than resetting all apps on your phone… and why Google Support are morons… can’t even fix their own problems without messing up all the other apps on the phone.

Finally, enable Live Captions again and restart the device which should turn it on again.

Test it out, maybe by watch a video

Let me know if this works for you. I’ve tried another ways where I download a non-Play store version, install and than uninstall that one before updating it to the update step. But not sure if that’s necessary and the steps for that are a bit more technical.

And as for Google, this entire issue makes it clear to me why they changed their slogan from “Don’t be evil” to “Do the right thing"

And well for the latter, I have just one question… For whom?