Apple has packed iOS 15 with some exciting and remarkable improvements. But among all features, Live Text has caught my significant attention. After all, the built-in OCR feature can help you recognize, copy, and use text from images or live scenarios.
So, what exactly is Live Text, and how can you use it on your iPhone and iPad. Join me as I dig deep into this new iOS feature and compare it with Google Lens.
- What is Live Text in iOS 15?
- Live Text iOS 15 supported devices
- How to recognize text using iPhone camera in iOS 15
- How to copy text from images in iOS 15
- How to copy text from iPhone camera in any app
- How to call or email directly with Live Text in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15
- Google Lens vs. Apple Live Text
What is Live Text in iOS 15?
Live Text is a smart, integrated OCR feature of iOS 15; it recognizes and digitizes the text in photos. The scanned text can be used in several ways, from copy-paste to a web search.
Apart from that, Live Text also boasts the following features:
- Unlocks rich and useful information: All the text is treated as a rich result. It means that it recognizes phone numbers, emails, addresses and allows users to take actions like calls, messages, emails, etc., directly by tapping the text.
- Live Text translation: The feature recognizes up to seven different languages – English, Chinese, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese.
And with iOS 15’s system-wide translation, you can convert the scanned text with just a tap.
- Continuity support: A great thing about Apple Ecosystem is that you can select, copy, and paste text across any Apple device.
- Spotlight search: Since it is well integrated into the system, Live Text is also employed by Spotlight to search text in your photos and serve results accordingly.
Now, all of this opens the door to multiple use cases, from digitizing handwritten notes to scanning a number/address on the run and capturing recipes or receipts to finding more about a restaurant in the picture.
Live Text iOS 15 supported devices
While a super handy feature, not all iOS, iPadOS, or macOS users can take advantage of it. To run the Live Text feature on your device, you must have:
- iPhone and iPad with A12 Bionic or later and running iOS 15/iPadOS 15 or later
- iPhone XS and later
- iPad Pro 2020 and later
- 5th generation of iPad Mini
- iPad Air 2019 or later
- iPad 2020
- M1-powered Mac running macOS Monterey.
How to recognize text using iPhone camera in iOS 15
- Launch the Camera app and direct it towards the text you want to capture.
- Tap the generic area of text. You’ll observe a yellow bracket forming around it.
- Now, tap the Live Text icon (one with yellow brackets and text inside) at the page’s bottom right.
- Select the text you want, and you can
- Copy the text on the clipboard and paste it as per need.
- Select All to select all the text and characters in the image.
- Look Up to search for the selected text on the web.
- Translate to convert the text into a supported language.
- Share… to send the text via Messages, email, WhatsApp, or any other app.
How to copy text from images in iOS 15
- Open the Photos app and select a photo.
- Tap the Live Text icon at the page’s bottom right.
- Move your fingers across the text to make a selection.
- Now, copy-paste, look up, translate, or share the text.
How to copy text from iPhone camera in any app
- Launch the app of your choice; I have taken Notes, for example.
- Long-press the screen to invoke the floating option window.
- Select Text from Camera; the screen will split into two parts with the camera at the bottom.
- Bring the object with text in camera view; Live View will automatically start recognizing the text and insert it in the app.
- Select the text if required and tap Insert to complete the process.
How to call or email directly with Live Text in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15
- Launch the Camera app and direct it towards the phone number/email ID, or open the Photos app and select the image.
- Tap the Live View icon.
- Select the
- Phone number: you can Call, Message, FaceTime, or Copy the number.
- Email ID: Opens the default mail app, so you can draft and send mail quickly.
Note: This also works with addresses; just scan the image with Live View and tap the address. it will open in the Maps app.
Google Lens vs. Apple Live Text
The Live Text is certainly not a new feature. And the most common and successful example of this technology is Google Lens.
First introduced in 2017, Google Lens has a few years of experience under its belt and offers a better overall interface and experience. For instance, in the screenshots below, Google managed to differentiate between characters and text better than Live Text.
However, Live Text has the inherent advantage of being well-integrated with iOS. You don’t have to open an app (Google app) to enable the feature; it’s omnipresent across apps and Apple devices.
Another major advantage of Live Text over Google Lens is that the former uses an on-device intelligence. All the data is processed on-device and not sent to the cloud, meaning more privacy.
And even though Google Lens is more accurate, I loved the ease and quick access of Live Text. So, at least for me, Apple takes the cake here. What about you?
Have you tested the Live Text feature yet? Share your take with us in the comment section below.