How to extract text from photos with Live Text on iPhone and iPad in iOS 15

Live Text is a new feature introduced in iOS 15, and is similar to Google Lens. You can use this feature to recognize and extract text from photos, using the camera, within apps, and more. Unlike Google Lens, which requires you to use the Google Search app, Apple’s Live Text is available anywhere across iOS and iPadOS. It may not be as accurate as the competition from Google, but works great and is available in an instant.

In this article, you will learn how to extract text from photos with Live Text, how to recognize text inside any app, and how to use Live Text in the iPhone camera app to recognize text on objects.

Also see: How to install the iOS 15 beta on your iPhone or iPad

What can you do with Live Text?

There are a couple of things you can do with the new Live Text feature in iOS 15. Firstly, you can use on the iPhone camera app to recognize text, numbers, addresses, and other things on virtually any object. You can also use to extract text from photos that are on your iPhone or iPad. The feature works across Apple’s ecosystem and inside all apps, which means that you can recognize text from one app or OS and paste it onto another.

Live Text also offers translation in seven languages including English, German, Chinese, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. This feature is even available in iOS Spotlight search, where you can look for people, scenes, locations, and so on. It can also find text in photos via Spotlight search.

Devices that support Live Text

As with most of the features on iOS 15, Live Text isn’t supported on all iPhones or iPads. Here’s a list of devices this will work on.

  • iPhone XS and later
  • iPad mini 5th generation
  • iPad Pro 2020 and later
  • iPad 2020 and later
  • iPad Air 2019 and later

If you own and iPhone or iPad that comes with the A12 Bionic chip or newer, then your device supports Live Text.

Extract text from an existing photo

Say you took a photo of an article using your iPhone, or some text that you want to copy into the Notes app or use as a caption on Instagram. With Live Text, you can simply grab the text and copy/paste it. Here’s how to do this.

1) Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad

2) Tap on the photo with the text you want to copy.

3) You should see a Live Text button in the bottom right corner. Tap this button to open the Live Text view.

Extract text from photos

4) Select the text you want using your finger.

5) You will now get options to copy, select all, share, look-up, and translate the text.

Once you’ve copied the text, you can paste it in any app.

How to extract text using iPhone camera and Live Text

Using Live Text, you can also use the iPhone camera to extract text from anything seen in the viewfinder. Here’s how this works.

1) Open the Camera app on your iPhone or iPad.

2) Point the camera at any object that has text on it and tap on the area where the text is.

3) A yellow bracket will now show up around the text.

extract text from the camera

4) Tap the Live Text button on the bottom right corner. You can now drag your finger on the text to select parts of it. You may also choose to copy, share, look-up, translate, and select all.

Pointing the camera at things such as a phone number allows you can place a call directly from the iPhone camera viewfinder. This also works with addresses, which open up directly in Apple Maps, and email IDs, which launches the default Mail app.

Insert text with Live Text in any app

You can also use the Live Text in almost any app that lets you enter text. Here’s how you can use Live Text to insert text and then automatically paste it into the app.

1) Launch any app where you want to paste extracted text into.

2) Press and hold the area where you input text. An option saying ‘Text from Camera‘ should appear. Tap this option. The screen will now be split into two sections, with a camera viewfinder appearing at the bottom.

Insert text from camera app

3) Place the camera over the text you want to copy and Live Text should start recognizing the text automatically. Select the text you want to copy, and paste it in the text field of the app.

Wrapping up

Live Text is a really useful feature that’ll help a lot of users. The best part is that it’s available all across the software and the entire Apple ecosystem. Although it may not be as good as Google Lens when it comes to recognizing text and symbols, it certainly is much more easier to use.