How to download subtitles for movies and TV shows on Mac

6 min read

Watching movies and TV shows in foreign languages does you a lot of good. Just think about it: You can get one step closer to learning a new language with every Rick and Morty episode. At the same time, challenges are unavoidable. There are many languages (English being one of them) that are not phonetic at all. It means there’s a huge difference between how you pronounce the words and how you write them. So if you don’t understand everything that’s being said, you’re totally fine. Just try adding subtitles to your movies and TV series. 

Now, where do you get the subtitles? Whether you watch your content on Mac, iPhone, or a TV device, there are many tools that will help you download and open subtitles anywhere. In this article, we review the best go-to spots for subtitle download and explain how to add subtitles to your video. 

Best subtitles download app for Mac

If you’re looking into Mac apps, try video downloaders that have support for subtitles. This is a huge win-win, because you can get a movie or a TV show episode with subtitles included, play it on your Mac, or even stream to a large screen. Don’t want to download video? No problem, there are video downloaders that allow you to extract subtitles from a movie without saving the movie itself. And we found a perfect app for the job. 

Download videos and subtitles with Pulltube

Pulltube is a one-stop Mac app that can download videos and subtitles in a variety of formats. You can choose to download video, video + subtitles, or subtitles only. Even more, Pulltube has a video trimming feature and a built-in converter that will bring your downloads into the right shape, in seconds. Here’s how to use Pulltube for movie subtitle download: 

  1. Paste or drop your movie link to Pulltube
  2. Once the movie preview appears, click on the CC button in the lower left corner
  3. Select “Download Videos and Subtitles” or “Download Subtitles Only” 
  4. Click on the Download button. 

Your video and/or movie subtitles will be automatically saved to the Downloads folder. If your file contains multiple subtitles, you can choose to save all or select the specific ones in the Pulltube Preferences. It’s also possible to set the app to convert your subtitles to SRT or other formats. 

Pulltube video and subtitles

Best websites to download subtitles online 

If you have a movie or a TV show downloaded on your computer and you only need to add subtitles, you can search for subtitles online. Here are the websites that are worth checking out. 

Download subtitles from Downsub 

Pulltube is the best choice for subtitles download via an URL. But what if you don’t want to use a Mac app? In this case, Downsub can be a good alternative. It’s a website that automatically generates subtitles for your videos and lets you save the subtitles on your computer: 

  1. Go to downsub.com and paste your movie URL 
  2. Wait a few seconds for Downsub to generate subtitles
  3. Click to download subtitles in TXT or SRT format.

That’s it. Add your subtitles to the video, and enjoy your movie night! 

Downsub for sub download

Subtitles search on English Subtitles 

If you don’t have a link to a movie or a TV show episode, Downsub won’t work for you. In this case, you should check websites with subtitle repositories such as English Subtitles. This online platform has a collection of subtitles you can search through. All you need to do is enter the name of your movie and click on the Search button. Note that the website will offer dozens or even hundreds of subtitles for popular entries, so make sure you choose the right format and the most optimal file size. 

English subtitles

Download subtitles from Subtitle Seeker 

Subtitle Seeker is another website that serves as an aggregator of different subtitle download platforms. Although it doesn’t have a good search option, Subtitle Seeker is worth checking out. The website usually adds the latest movie releases early on. You’ll also find detailed movie and TV show descriptions here. 

The problem with most web resources like Subtitle Seeker is that they are cluttered with ads and annoying pop-ups. So it’s definitely not the best experience. If you use the mentioned websites for subtitles download on Mac, we recommend at least to have AdGuard enabled. 

AdGuard is a superb ad blocker that hides distractions both on the web and in apps. It comes with personalized filters — so you can choose to hide specific parts of a web page or block ads on certain websites. You can also use AdGuard to block trackers and remove traces of your web activity. Enjoy zero distractions and 100% privacy protection. 

AdGuard use

How to load movie subtitles and TV subtitles

Now when you know where to download movie subtitles, how do you actually “insert” subtitles into your movie? It all depends on the player you use and whether it works with the format of your subtitles track. Most video players support SRT and TXT tracks, but make sure you check the requirements individually. 

Show subtitles in QuickTime 

If you want to watch your movie with subtitles on Mac, it’s pretty easy. Apple’s native QuickTime Player allows to show subtitles in a click — just make sure your video file contains subtitles: 

  1. Play your movie in QuickTime
  2. Click on View > Subtitles in the menu bar
  3. Choose the language. 

Load movie subtitles on a TV device with Beamer 

If you want to play a movie with subtitles on Apple TV, get Beamer. This native streaming app automatically detects embedded and external subtitles — you don’t even have to adjust any settings. Stream your movies and TV shows to a big screen in any format, from ASF to MPEG to VOB. 

The list of supported subtitles is impressive as well. Beamer works with SRT, Subviewer, MPL, MicroDVD, and even BlueRay subtitle files. So if your video player can’t handle the format, Beamer certainly will. You can set Beamer to always select specific subtitles via Preferences. 

movie subtitles with Beamer

Open subtitles on your iOS device

Let’s say you’ve downloaded and loaded subtitles on your Mac. How to make sure you can watch your movie with subtitles on other devices? This is where iFlicks comes to help. 

iFlicks is a Mac app you can use to import movies to iTunes or Plex, so it’s easy to watch them on iOS devices. With subtitles! iFlicks works with both embedded and external subtitles. If the subtitles you download with your video are in a compatible format, the app will process them automatically. You can also download subtitle files separately, and then add them to a movie. 

Here’s how to set iFlicks to load subtitles automatically: 

  1. Add your movie or TV show to iFlicks
  2. Navigate to Preferences in the menu bar
  3. Click on Rules > Add Rule
  4. Create a rule to download subtitles in a selected language for movies and TV shows
  5. Click Ok to save the rule

open subtitles iFlicks

To add an external subtitle file to your iFlicks video: 

  1. Add your movie or TV show to iFlicks
  2. Click on the plus button in the lower left corner of the sidebar 
  3. Select and upload your subtitle track from Mac
  4. Edit the language and encoding of your subtitle track in the sidebar. 

Alternatively, you can drag and drop your subtitle track onto the iFlicks window. Note that you should add subtitles after you’ve uploaded the video file. Once it’s all done, go ahead and open the video from your iFlicks collection on iPhone or iPad. 

How to manually switch subtitle tracks in a video 

Obviously, not all subtitles are good. Sometimes, the captions might be a bit off or the translation is not accurate. Unfortunately, default players like QuickTime don’t give you an easy option to switch between different subtitle tracks. A solution? Get a pro movie player. 

Movist Pro is a 4K video player for Mac that can enhance any movie night. It’s designed to open and play movies with any custom decoder while consuming minimum CPU. When it comes to subtitles, Movist Pro is the easiest way to manually switch between tracks. And not only that. It allows you to save subtitle presets, place subtitles into letterboxes for visual clarity, or even turn on audio subtitles. 

Here’s how to get total control over your subtitle tracks: 

  1. Play your movie in Movist Pro 
  2. Open Preferences > Subtitles 
  3. Choose between external, embedded, and remote subtitles 
  4. Customize the style of your subtitles. 

manually switch subtitle tracks

Once you save your defaults, there’s no need to dive into settings every time you watch a new movie. Movist Pro will display all available subtitles in the menu bar — just click on “Subtitle” whenever you want to switch tracks or adjust display type. 

If you don’t have access to Movist Pro, we recommend VLC player. This free open-source video player is a great alternative to QuickTime in terms of subtitle support. Here’s how to switch subtitle tracks in VLC: 

  1. Play a movie in VLC 
  2. Click on Subtitles in the main menu > Subtitle Track 
  3. Choose the subtitle file you want to use 
  4. To upload new subtitles, click on Subtitles > Add Subtitle File

You can also open subtitles by uploading them along with your movie file to VLC. To change the visual style or subtitles language, go to Preferences > Subtitles/OSD. 

VLC player Setapp

If you’re used to native macOS apps, VLC’s interface will feel a bit bland and outdated — but it’s a decent free tool for subtitles switching. Otherwise, Movist Pro is better in terms of UX, functionality, and ease of use.

Summing it up, the best subtitle downloader and video downloader for Mac is called Pulltube. If you download subtitle files online, try a reliable ad blocker like AdGuard to improve your experience. Beamer will help you load subtitles and stream content to TV, and iFlicks is the best way to open subtitles on an iOS device. Finally, there’s no better app for switching between subtitle tracks than Movist Pro. And you know what’s the best thing? All of these apps are free. 

Setapp is a productivity tool that gives you an all-access pass to 200+ Mac and iOS apps for 7 days free, then $9.99/month. Get to try Pulltube, Beamer, AdGuard, Movist Pro and other world-known software like CleanMyMac X and Bartender for free. Curate apps into workflows and achieve your goals faster. Including the movie goals — they are all important! 

Get 200+ Mac apps for any job

Sign up to Setapp and try them for free.