How to use Live Text on iPhone & iPad

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With the release of iOS 15 came a lot of new features, and that meant some handy features flew under the radar. Such is the case with Live Text, a new feature for iPhone and iPad available as part of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 respectively. The new feature uses built-in smarts to analyze photos for text and make them interactive so you can copy, translate, or do just about anything else you can do with digital text on an iPhone or iPad.

Put simply, you could use your iPhone’s camera app to translate a restaurant menu abroad, quickly copy text from a slideshow, or call a number on a poster without having to type it yourself. Once you know how to use it, it’s really a powerful tool for iOS users.

So what can you do with live text? Once the text has been analyzed by the device, you can perform actions such as opening addresses in the Maps app, creating events based on time and date, copying and pasting pieces of text, loading websites directly into Safari, adding numbers to your address book ( as well as directly call) and it can even translate texts into English, Chinese, French, Italian, German, Portuguese and Spanish.

It works best with larger fonts, but it also works with handwritten notes – although depending on how messy the handwriting is, it can give a little more hit.

How to Enable Live Text on iPhone and iPad

Live text is enabled by default in iOS 15 and iPad OS 15but in case you disabled it without knowing what it was, you can re-enable the handy feature by going to Settings > Camera > Live Text.

How to use live text in the camera app

The easiest way to copy or translate text from a poster, flyer, or handwritten note right now is through the camera app itself. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open the Camera app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Point the camera at the text you want to select.
  3. The Live Text feature should activate when the device detects text, represented by a yellow box surrounding the text and a new icon in the lower right corner. Tap the icon to “grab” the text.
  4. Select the section of text you want to use and tap to either copy, select all, translate, or share, depending on what you want to do with the text. To select a specific portion of captured text, simply long-press the text to make a selection. If it’s a phone number, tap the number on the screen to make a call on your device.

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How to use Live Text in the Photos app

Live text doesn’t just however, works in the camera app; You can also access the feature in the Photos app – and it applies to all photos in the library too, not just those taken since the release of iOS 15 in September 2021. How to use them:

  1. Open the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Select the photo with the text you want to interact with.
  3. Long press on the text to start the selection process. From here you can select as little or as much text in the image as you like.
  4. Tap the selection, then tap Copy, Select All, Translate, or Share depending on what you want to do with it. As in the Camera app, you can also tap phone numbers — like restaurant menus — to initiate a call right from your iPhone or iPad.

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How to use Live Text in the Messages app

You can also use Live Text in the Messages app in iOS 15 if you want to quickly share text with a friend or family member. It’s also a breeze to use:

  1. Open the Messages app and select the person you want to message.
  2. Tap the message field, then tap Scan Text.
  3. A small preview window should appear instead of the keyboard. Align the camera preview with the text and tap Paste to paste the captured text into the message.

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Have you found Live Text useful in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15? How did you use it? Let us know Twitter or Instagram. To learn more about how to get the most out of Apple’s latest software update, take a look at our The best iOS 15 tips and tricks.

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