Tuesday, June 25, 2024


Where your horizon expands every day.


If you’re not reviewing video transcripts, you’re not using YouTube correctly.

youtube video transcript android

Credit: Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Were you aware that instead of viewing a YouTube video, you have the option to read it? This may seem counter-intuitive in a world dominated by video content, but YouTube actually has a hidden feature that allows you to access the entire transcript of a video. This feature can be extremely helpful if used correctly, as it makes it easier to locate specific information and saves time by directly jumping to the relevant timestamp in the video. Additionally, it can also help avoid some advertisements for non-Premium users.

Transcripts have become my favorite YouTube feature, so let me explain how to see them, use them, and save them.

The transcripts on YouTube are fantastic.

youtube transcripts web search find

Credit: Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

In addition to Reddit and online forums, YouTube has become my preferred platform for finding solutions to problems and obtaining answers to questions. It saves me from sifting through numerous web pages on Google that may contain irrelevant or outdated information. Additionally, seeing a solution or fix demonstrated on video makes it feel more concrete and trustworthy compared to just reading about it on a webpage.

However, those familiar with using YouTube are aware that it contains a significant amount of videos that are not helpful, along with those that are. It can be quite tedious to sift through clickbait content in order to find the specific information you are seeking. This often requires spending a considerable amount of time watching a video, fast-forwarding and rewinding, just to determine if it contains the desired information. This is where video transcripts come in, which have been my preferred YouTube feature for the past year.

Instead of using chapters, transcripts allow you to easily navigate to the specific moment you are interested in within a video.

Since transcripts consist of written text, it is more time-effective to quickly scan through them to find the relevant information. On a computer, you can use your browser’s Find feature (CTRL+F on Windows or CMD+F on macOS) to easily locate specific keywords. This feature is also available on mobile devices and the web, allowing you to tap on the corresponding timestamp to immediately access that particular moment in the video. This saves both time and bandwidth.

As an illustration, I wrote an article regarding Apple’s September keynote a few days ago and was curious about the details of their announcement for the on-device Siri feature on the Watch Series 9. The press conference’s video includes a 21-minute segment dedicated to the Series 9, and I did not want to waste time searching for the specific moment when this feature was discussed by scrubbing through the video. Instead, I used the YouTube transcript, pressed CMD+F, searched for “on-device,” and quickly located the exact moment when the on-device Siri support was mentioned. With a click, the video promptly jumped to that moment.

Consider utilizing this method for all your troubleshooting needs, product reviews where you wish to witness a particular feature in use, or longer videos where you are curious if a specific keyword was mentioned. This technique is much more efficient than randomly searching and skipping through the video, hoping to find what you’re looking for.

What do YouTube transcripts entail? Are they available for all YouTube videos?

Transcripts are written versions of the spoken content in a video. They are created using closed captioning that is either uploaded by the original uploader or automatically generated by Google’s captioning algorithms. They are not available for all videos and not all languages. Auto-generated transcripts may contain errors due to potential flaws in Google’s captioning.

How to view YouTube transcripts on a mobile device.

This process is applicable for users using the YouTube app on an Android phone, tablet, iPhone, or iPad. Please follow these instructions:

  1. Begin watching a video.

  2. Click on the title of the video (for iOS and iPadOS) or the “more” option (for Android) to view the full description.

  3. Please scroll down and locate the “Show transcript” button in the Transcript section. Note that this feature may not be available for all videos. Once found, click on it to view the complete transcript of the video.

How can you display transcripts from YouTube on a website?

The process is identical when using the web.

  1. Begin watching a video.

  2. To see the full description of the video, click on the “more” button.

youtube transcripts web step 1 description more

Credit: Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
  1. Navigate to the Transcript section and select the option to Display transcript. This action will display the transcript on the right side of the video. From there, you can use the shortcut CTRL+F (Windows) or CMD+F (macOS) on your device to search for the desired keyword.

youtube transcripts web step 2 show transcript


Rita El Khoury, a writer for Android Authority, is the author of this text.

Regrettably, there is no keyboard shortcut for displaying and hiding video transcripts on the internet. Therefore, you will need to do it manually every time. I hope Google implements a quick shortcut for this feature.

Instructions for downloading and saving a transcript from YouTube.

In order to obtain a transcript from YouTube, you will need to access the web version of the platform. Once you have followed the necessary steps to display the transcript, proceed with the following instructions:

  1. Press the three-dot icon at the top right of the conversation screen and select Toggle timestamps to conceal them. This action will show only the text without the time stamp for each sentence, if that is your preference.

youtube transcripts web toggle timestamp

Credit: Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
  1. To select the text, use the same method as you would on your computer. If the text is too long, you can place the cursor at the beginning, hold down Shift on your keyboard, scroll down, and place the cursor at the end of the transcript to select the entire text.

youtube transcripts web select text


Rita El Khoury, from Android Authority

  1. Lastly, open a text document program and paste the copied text before saving it.

youtube transcripts paste text document

Credit: Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

How can I obtain a transcript of a YouTube video on an Android or iPhone?

Unfortunately, the text selection feature is not available on the YouTube mobile app. As a result, you are unable to copy the transcript of a video and paste it into another application. However, there are alternative options such as using a third-party service like youtubetranscript.com to access and copy the transcript.