Apple Podcasts is getting auto-generated transcripts with iOS 17.4

Screenshot of transcript in Apple Podcasts app.
Words in a transcript will light up as the episode progresses. | Image: Apple

Apple’s first-party Podcasts app is getting support for transcripts in the forthcoming iOS 17.4 update. The company says transcripts will be automatically generated by Apple’s software, will appear for English, French, German, and Spanish-language podcasts shortly after they’re uploaded, and will be viewable across “over 170 countries and regions.”

The feature should make it far easier to find and skip to the point in a podcast you’re most interested in. Transcripts can be searched for specific words and phrases which can be tapped to go directly to the corresponding point in the episode. You can also read along with a transcript as an episode plays, and watch each word be highlighted as it’s said out loud. Per 9to5Mac, the feature is accessible via a new “quote” icon in the app’s bottom toolbar.

Although Apple’s software is able to auto-generate transcripts, it says podcasters can provide their own transcripts. Alternatively they can download and edit one of Apple’s auto-generated transcripts before re-uploading it. Although Apple’s transcripts will cover spoken words, the company says it won’t transcribe music lyrics. Transcripts for back catalog episodes will be “added over time.”

Podcast transcripts will be widely available with iOS 17.4, which is expected to release by March. The update also includes major changes in the European Union in order to comply with the bloc’s new Digital Markets Act. There, the update will add alternative app stores and sideloading, as well as browser engines other than Apple’s own WebKit.