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    Apple Enhances Podcast Accessibility: Introducing Transcripts in iOS 17.4 Update

      TL;DR: The upcoming iOS 17.4 update will introduce a new feature in the Apple Podcasts app, offering auto-generated transcripts for podcast episodes. This accessibility enhancement supports English, French, German, and Spanish languages and will be available in over 170 countries. The transcripts will allow users to follow along with a live text version that highlights words in sync with the audio. Users can access these transcripts via a “quote” icon and can navigate to specific parts of the episode directly from the transcript. Apple's software will automatically generate transcripts for new and existing episodes, with creators having the option to upload their transcripts, subject to Apple's quality standards. The update also includes various changes for EU developers, with its public release expected in March.

    Introduction to New Feature

    The upcoming iOS 17.4 update is set to introduce a significant enhancement to the Apple Podcasts app, aimed at improving user experience and accessibility. This update will bring support for auto-generated transcripts for podcasts, facilitating an easier and more engaging listening experience for users.

    Transcript Features and Accessibility

    The new feature will offer live text versions of podcast episodes, similar to the lyrics feature in Apple Music. As users listen to an episode, the words will be highlighted in real-time. This transcript feature will initially support English, French, German, and Spanish-language podcasts and will be accessible in over 170 countries and regions. Users can access the transcript by clicking on a “quote” icon at the bottom of the Now Playing screen, and they can jump to specific parts of the episode by tapping on the transcript. Additionally, transcripts can be viewed separately from the episode details page.

    Creation and Limitations of Transcripts

    Apple’s software will automatically generate transcripts for each new podcast episode, though there may be a slight delay in availability post-upload. Transcripts for back catalog episodes will be rolled out gradually. Podcast creators also have the option to upload their transcripts through Apple Podcasts Connect, but they must adhere to Apple's quality standards, including correct spelling and punctuation. Episodes with overlapping dialogue or explicit content (when restrictions are applied) may face limitations in transcript quality. Notably, music lyrics within podcasts will not be transcribed.

    Additional iOS 17.4 Updates

    The iOS 17.4 update, currently in beta, introduces other changes primarily affecting EU developers, including a new fee structure, alternative browser engine support, and options for distributing iOS apps through alternative app stores. The public release of iOS 17.4 is anticipated in March.

    Image Credit: Midjourney

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