How to extract text from an image or video using Live Text on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Live Text is a built-in feature on iPhone, iPad, and Mac that recognizes text inside an image or video. From there, you can copy the text, translate it, look up its definition, and much more.

Here’s how to use Live Text on your Apple devices.

Three iPhone mockups that show using Live Text to recognize and copy, translate, or use words, sentences and text found in the video

Supported devices

You can use Live Text on Mac running macOS Monterey or later, and on iPhone and iPad running iOS 15 or later:

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

Note: The Live Text feature introduced in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey lets you recognize text in an image. But to recognize text in a video, make sure your iPhone, iPad, and Mac are on iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura.

Supported apps

Live Text works in several built-in Apple apps like Camera, Photos, Safari, Files, Preview, Finder Quick View, etc.

Supported languages

As of now, Live Text works if the text is in one of the following languages:

  • Cantonese
  • Chinese
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Ukrainian

What you can do with Live Text

You can use the iPhone camera app to recognize text, numbers, addresses, and other things on virtually any object. You can also use it to extract text from photos and videos that are on your device or in Safari. The feature works across Apple’s ecosystem and inside several Apple apps, which means that you can recognize text from one app or OS and paste it onto another. It can even find text in photos via Spotlight search!

Use Live Text on existing photos or videos

Important: Note that if you’re trying to use Live Text for a video, make sure you pause the video at the right time when the text appears on the screen.

iPhone and iPad

Say you took a photo of a physical note 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.

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, Look Up, Translate, Search Web, or  Share the text.

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


At times, Live Text can be very useful. You can use it to recognize text from older photos or on a webpage in Safari. Here’s how to use Live Text on Mac:

1) Open a photo in Photos or Preview or view it in Quick View in Finder (by selecting the image and pressing the Space Bar). You may also open a webpage in Safari with image having text.

2) Live Text should recognize text automatically in the background. Take your mouse pointer over the text and drag to select it.

Use Live Text in video on Mac

3) You can copy the selected text by using right-click and copy or with the Command + C shortcut. When you right-click, it will also show the option to translate, Look Up, share, search the web, etc.

Extract text using the 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 to 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 inside an app with Live Text

You can also use 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 the extracted text. This can be Mail, Notes, etc.

2) Press and hold the area where you want to 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 into the text field of the app.

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