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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Apple iOS 15’s ‘Live Text’ feature: Here’s how it works and why is it so useful

Apple’s iOS 15 brings a major feature to the camera and it is called ‘Live Text’. Here's how it works on the iPhone, iPad.

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: September 23, 2021 9:06:38 am
Apple, Apple iOS 15, iOS 15, iOS 15 Live Text, What is Live Text, Live Text in iOS 15, how to use Live TextApple iOS 15 has a new Live Text feature: Here's how it works.

Apple’s iOS 15 brings a major feature to the camera and it is called ‘Live Text’. This feature is similar to how Google Lens works on Android phones, and on the Google Search and Photos app on iOS. With Live Text, iOS will now recognise any text in a photo, screenshot, or camera preview thanks to the optical character recognition (OCR) allowing Apple to extract text from any image.

Users can now copy and paste, lookup or translate the text in photos, screenshots. Live Text works in Photos, Screenshot, Quick Look, and Safari and in live previews with Camera.  It is a system-wide implementation and will appear in all other apps, when you copy-past text. Here’s a detailed look at Live Text.

What is Live Text?

As pointed out, this is similar to how Google Lens works, where one can point the camera at an image or a book, or a business card. Live Text can then recognise useful information in photos or online images, be it a phone number or an email id.

One can also use the Live Text feature in the Camera app by pointing the device camera at a photo or image with text, and then tapping the indicator icon. From here, users will get options to either copy-paste the text, look it up or translate or even make a call, in a case of a phone number. Apple’s system is smart enough to recognise the text it is extracting.

What devices support Live Text?

But Apple is not rolling out Live Text for all iPhones which are running iOS 15. Users will need an iPhone Xs, iPhone XR or later with iOS 15 to run this. All iPhones with A12 Bionic chipset or later can support this. The Live Text currently supports English, Chinese, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Spanish languages.

How to turn on Live Text?

To turn on Live Text in the Camera app, go to Settings and then scroll down to Camera.

You will see an option for ‘Live Text’. Make sure the toggle is on.

In order to turn on Live Text for all supported languages, go to Settings > General > Language & Region, and enable Live Text.

How to use Live to copy the text inside a photo or image

Open the Photos app, and select a picture that has written text in it. A screenshot with text will work great here.

Touch and hold a word and move the grab points to adjust the selection. Apple will automatically detect there is some text here, and allow users to copy-paste, etc. To highlight all text inside the photo, tap the indicator icon in the lower-right corner of the photo. The icon is similar to a little notepad.

Apple, Apple iOS 15, iOS 15, iOS 15 Live Text, What is Live Text, Live Text in iOS 15, how to use Live Text, Apple Live Text: Users can make a phone call or send emails as the camera will now recognise an email id or phone number from a photo’s text. (Image credit: Apple)

A menu should pop up with options to copy-paste, look, select all, etc for the text. If you want to copy the text, just select all the text in the photo, and copy it. You can now paste it into another app and send it to others.

The same also works on Safari, if you open an image that has text in it. Just make sure that the text is clearly visible.

Make a call or send an email with Live Text

Live Text will also let users make a call or send an email if the image has such details. Open a photo that has such details. It could be a screenshot of a contact card that someone sent you.

Just tap on the phone number or email address.

The menu should give an option to either Call or Send a message to the mobile number.

And Apple says that “depending on the photo, image, or website, you might also see an option to Make a FaceTime call or Add to Contacts.”

While Live Text is certainly an interesting and much-needed addition to iOS 15, Apple has added plenty of new features for users, including some which are geared towards India users.  Apple iOS 15 is compatible with all devices above iPhone 6s, including the original iPhone SE and the 2020 iPhone SE. The iPod Touch 7th generation is also supported.

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