HBO Max Audio Description Won’t Turn Off: How I Fixed It

HBO Max Audio Description Won’t Turn Off: How I Fixed It

I love catching up with exclusive HBO Max titles on weekends and have got a no-ads monthly subscription for seamless streaming. Based on a friend’s recommendation, I added Chernobyl to my watch list for the last weekend. 

I launched the HBO Max app on my Smart TV and clicked on the first episode. To my surprise, instead of the original audio, the episode started with audio narration. Pausing the playback, I checked the audio settings and turned the audio description off. 

Yet again, the scenes were being narrated even after the audio description was turned off. Annoyed, I hit Google in search of a solution that could help turn off the unwanted audio description. I spent the next two hours scrolling through relevant videos, and discussion threads. 

Not only did I get the audio description off, but also figured out a way to fix audio description randomly starting on specific episodes of HBO Max shows. Here’s how: 

If audio description won’t turn off on HBO Max, update the app from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Play any content and turn off audio description from the audio settings. 

Update The HBO Max App

Updates for HBO Max app are regularly released to fix technical glitches and minor bugs. The developers may have identified the audio description bug and fixed it in the latest released update. 

To update your HBO Max app on your Phone/Smart TV:

  • Go to your device app store (Google Play Store or Apple App Store)
  • Search for the HBO Max app in the app store 
  • Tap on Update if the app update is available and wait for the update to get installed
  • Now play any content in the HBO Max app and try turning off the audio description

You can also choose to set the update settings to Auto-Update to ensure that all the apps on your device are up to date. 

Clear HBO Max App Cache

If updating the app didn’t fix the audio description won’t turn off issue, it may be due to the corrupt app cache files. Every app on your device including HBO Max has cache files stored with user settings and data to make the app processing faster. 

However, if these cache files get corrupted, it may affect the smooth functioning of the app and also cause it to misbehave. In that case, clearing the app cache can help fix certain app issues. 

Here’s how to clear the HBO Max App cache for both Android and iOS devices.

For Android Devices:

  • Open the Settings of your android device
  • Navigate to the Apps or App Manager option
  • Search for the HBO Max app from the list of installed apps
  • Tap on the app, and then go to Storage
  • Select Clear Cache and tap on Confirm if the pop-up screen appears 

For iOS Devices:

  • Launch Settings of your iOS device
  • Go to iPhone Storage under General Menu
  • Search for the HBO Max app and tap Offload App
  • Now reinstall the HBO Max app 

Launch the HBO Max app after clearing the cache and check if the audio descriptions are turned off now.

Restart the HBO Max App 

A simple alternative that can help turn off the audio description on HBO Max is restarting the app. 

  • Close the HBO Max application on your Android or iOS device
  • Now close all other running applications as well
  • Try relaunching the HBO Max app and play any content to check if the audio description is off
  • If it’s still on, repeat the above steps and try restarting your device
  • Once the device reboots, launch the HBO Max app again

Sign Out of The HBO Max Account 

Simply signing out and signing back into your HBO Max account can also help fix the audio description won’t turn off bug. 

To sign out and sign back into your HBO Max account, follow these instructions:

  • Open the HBO Max app on your phone or other device
  • Select the profile button at the bottom right corner of the screen
  • Then select Settings from the top left of the screen
  • Tap on the drop-down menu and select Manage Devices
  • You should see a list of devices linked to your HBO Max account
  • Tap on Sign Out next to your current device name 
  • You can also choose to sign out of HBO max from all your devices
  • Once on the login screen, enter your credentials again to Sign back into your HBO max account on your preferred devices 
  • Finally, check if the audio description issue persists

Reinstall the HBO Max App

If the audio description is still on even after clearing the HBO Max app cache, uninstall the app from your device and reinstall it. 

Reinstallation guide for Android devices:

  • Press and hold the HBO Max app icon
  • Tap on the App info icon that appears
  • Now navigate and tap on the Uninstall option in the app info menu
  • Finally, go to Google Play Store and search for the HBO Max app to reinstall it on your device

Reinstallation guide for iOS devices:

  • Tap and hold the HBO Max app icon
  • From the Menu, select Remove App
  • Choose Delete App and confirm your action from the prompt screen that appears
  • Now go to the Apple App Store and search for the HBO Max app to install it again 

Once the reinstallation is complete, open the HBO Max app and play any show or movie to check if the audio description is turned off. 

Contact HBO Support 

If none of the above solutions have worked and the audio description is still on, you can get in touch with the HBO Support Team for professional assistance. 

Describe your problem in detail in case the audio description issue is limited to a specific show/movie. If the issue is with the HBO Max app on your Smart TV, you can also reach out to your TV manufacturer’s customer support. 

Audio Description Randomly Starts on Roku Devices 

If you’re watching Lovecraft Country or any other HBO Max content on the Roku TV or device, the audio description may suddenly turn on while watching a random episode. (Usually on Episode 6 of Lovecraft Country)

This occurs due to a bug turning audio description on when any show’s episode switches to a foreign language other than English. 

Here are some proven troubleshooting methods to help fix this issue on your Roku device:

Change the Roku TV/device audio language

  • Press the Home button on your Roku remote
  • Scroll and select Settings
  • Now click on Audio 
  • Select Audio Preferred Language
  • From the list of available languages, select the one your show is trying to switch to. (In case of Lovecraft Country, select the language as Korean)

Select the Correct Audio Track

  • While the HBO Max content is playing, press the * button on your Roku Remote to open the options menu
  • Now navigate and select Audio Track 
  • From the list of available audio tracks, check if the audio is set to English [Audio Description] 
  • Change the audio track to English instead
  • Now click OK to confirm your Settings
  • Check if the audio description is turned off and original audio has started playing 

No More Annoying Narration 

The HBO Max audio description can be turned off while you’re playing any content on the app. Simply pause the playback and tap on the Audio and Subtitles icon on the lower right corner. Check the audio section and select English- Original instead of English- Audio Description. 

However, even after turning off the audio description, the narration might still be on while you play any content. The best way to fix this audio description bug is to update the HBO Max app from your device’s app store. 

Clearing the app cache, and restarting or reinstalling the HBO Max app can also help get rid of unwanted audio descriptions. Additionally, you can also try signing out of your HBO Max account and signing back in to check if the audio description is turned off. 

The audio description might randomly start playing on specific HBO Max shows or movies on Roku TVs or devices. You’ll need to change the device’s preferred audio language to the one that’s playing in the episode to get rid of audio descriptions. An alternative way is to open the Options menu on the playback screen and change language to the original audio. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why won’t Audio Description turn off on HBO Max?

The reason why audio description on HBO Max won’t turn off could be due to a software glitch or a compatibility issue with your device. Ensure that your HBO Max app is up to date from the app store. 

The latest released app updates may have solved the audio description issue.  In some cases, a simple restart or reinstallation of the app can resolve the issue. If not, reaching out to HBO Max customer support for further assistance is recommended.

Why is HBO Max adding audio description?

HBO Max provides audio description for visually impaired individuals to enhance their viewing experience by providing additional audio information about the visual elements of a show or movie. Audio description is mainly used to describe the key elements or moments via descriptive narration of a video. 

Audio descriptions typically include narrations about gestures, actions, scene changes, and other vital visual information. This allows blind or low-vision communities to listen and get a clear idea of what’s going on in the show. 

How do I turn off audio description on HBO Max?

The steps to turn off audio description narration on HBO Max may vary depending on your device. On some devices, the option to turn off audio description can be found in the app’s settings or audio options. On others, it can be accessed through the device’s accessibility settings. 

In general, while the content is playing on HBO Max, you can click on the Audio and Subtitles icon in the lower right corner to access HBO Max audio settings. In the audio section, switch from audio description to your preferred audio language. If you are unable to find the option, check the HBO Max website or reach out to their customer support for further assistance.

Why do audio descriptions randomly start on my Roku device? 

Audio descriptions randomly start on specific episodes while streaming on Roku TV or a streaming device due to a minor bug. It occurs when any episode of a TV show might switch to a foreign language other than English. Roku device usually starts audio descriptions in this case. 

To fix this bug, you can set your TV or device’s preferred audio language same as the episode. Alternatively, go to the Options menu by pressing * on Roku Remote and change the language from English-Audio Description to English-Original to fix the bug. 

How do I get my TV to stop narrating everything?  

To turn off the narrator on your TV or streaming device. simply go to Settings and navigate to the accessibility section. Find the audio settings based on your TV model and open it. There should be an option titled Audio Guide or Voice Guide. Toggle the option off to stop your TV’s voice narration. 

About the author

Maria Chan, or MC, as we call her, is the genius girl-boss who gave up on her cushy silicon-valley job to grind it out with us. Her undying pursuit of wanting Zeebox to the best makes it very clear that she has no interest in running a generic tech-site.

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