How to Use Live Text on iOS 15

How to copy text from a photo on your iPhone

What to Know

  • Live Text lets you copy text from the camera app, photos, and images on the internet on your iPhone.
  • In the Camera app or Photos app: tap the Live Text icon, tap some text, and then copy it, translate it, or look up more information about it.
  • Once you’ve copied text, you can paste it into a message or document.

This article explains how to use Live Text on iOS 15, including copying text from photos and websites and what to do with the text once you’ve copied it.

How Do You Do Live Text On iPhone?

Live Text lets you pull text from images and paste it just about wherever you want. The feature works with both handwritten and typed text, and it works in the Camera app, the Photos app, and Safari. That means you can use Live Text to grab text from any of those locations and then paste it into a document, message, email, or wherever else you want. You can also choose to translate the text you have selected or search for more information about the text.

Can I Use Live Text on My iPhone?

To use Live Text on an iPhone, you need to have iOS 15 or newer. Live Text is also one of the features that older iPhones don't fully support, so you need to have an iPhone XS or later if you want to use Live Text directly in the Camera app. If your phone satisfies those requirements, you can tap the Live Text icon in the Camera app, Photos app, or Safari, copy the text, and paste it elsewhere.

How Do I Use Live Text in the Camera App?

If your phone supports it, you can use Live Text in the Camera app to copy text in real-time. The way it works is that you open the camera app, point it at something that has text on it, and activate the Live Text feature. There’s no need to actually take a photo, as Live Text works right in the Camera app.

Here’s how to use Live Text in the Camera app in iOS 15:

  1. Open the Camera app.

  2. Point the camera at something that has text.

  3. Tap the Live Text icon.

  4. Tap Copy.

    You can also tap Select All to select all of the text, or tap a specific location of the text to bring up the blue markers in that location.

  5. Use the blue markers to highlight the text you want, and tap Copy.

    Copying text using Live Text in the Camera app on iOS 15.
  6. Open another app where text can be pasted.

  7. Paste the text into the other app.

    The Paste option and copied text highlighted in the Notes app in iOS 15.

How Do I Use Live Text in the Photos App?

Live Text works the same in the Photos app as it does in the camera app. You can use it with photos you took with your phone, photos that someone sent to you, and even photos you downloaded off the internet.

Here’s how to use Live Text in the Photos app:

  1. Open the Photos app.

  2. Open a photo that contains some text.

  3. Tap the Live Text icon.

  4. Use the blue selection markers to select some text.

    Text from a book spine highlighted with the Live Text tool in the Photos app.
  5. Tap the option you want to use, i.e., Look Up, to see information about the text you selected.

    The text will copy to your clipboard if you tap Copy, as shown in the previous section. You can also translate text in this way with the Translate option.

  6. Swipe up for more information if you selected Look Up.

    The Look up option selected from highlighted text in the Photos app using Live Text.

    How Do I Use Live Text in Safari?

    Live Text also works in Safari, allowing you to copy, translate, and look up text from images on the internet.

    Here’s how to use Live Text in Safari:

  7. Use Safari to navigate to a website.

  8. Long press any image that contains text.

  9. Tap Show Text.

  10. Tap the text you want to copy or translate.

    The Show Text Live Text tool used on an image on a web page in Safari.
  11. Tap the option you want to use, i.e. Translate.

  12. If you’re translating, you’ll see a pop-up that translates the text.

    Translate highlighted in Safari Live Text.

    If you tap Copy, it will copy the text to your clipboard. If you tap Learn, you’ll see a pop-up with information about the text you selected.

What Is Live Text for?

Live Text is an iOS 15 feature that’s able to identify text in images. After it does that, you can copy the text and paste it into another app, translate the text if it’s in a foreign language, or look up more information about the text.

The most obvious use of this feature is to copy text automatically without manually typing it out. For example, you could take a photo of a physical letter, copy it with Live Text, and then paste the text into an email instead of manually copying it over.

There are also many other uses for Live Text since it can automatically search for information and translate text into different languages.

For example, if you use Live Text on a book in the Camera app or a photo of a book in the Photos app, and you select the title, you can use the Look Up option to learn more about the book. Or, if you’re trying to read instructions in a language you don’t understand or street signs in a foreign country, you can open the Camera app, point it at the text, and automatically translate the text into a language you do understand in real-time.

  • What is Live Text?

    The iOS 15 Live Text feature is a built-in optical character recognition (OCR) reader. This technology scans characters and text from images and makes them editable.

  • How do I turn on Live Text?

    The Live Text feature comes enabled with iOS 15 apps such as the Camera and Photos apps. You'll also find this feature built into iPadOS 15.

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