One of the handy new features of iOS 15 is the ability to quickly recognize text and select, copy, paste, search, etc. in the Camera and Photos applications. Let’s take a look at how live text OCR on iPhone works, from photos to screenshots to handwriting.
Live Text might not be as flashy as other new iOS 15 features like FaceTime’s SharePlay, but it does offer a lot of convenience.
Until now, you had to download a third-party app to get this functionality on iPhone and iPad. But with iOS 15 (also iPadOS 15), Apple includes Optical Character Recognition (OCR) as a seamless option in the Camera app as well as for photos and screenshots you’ve taken in the past. Photos application.
Here’s how Apple describes the feature:
There is so much rich information in your photos, from the memorable places you visited to hand-written family recipes. iOS 15 uses secure intelligence on the device to help you discover more in your photos, find what you’re looking for quickly, and relive special moments.
iOS 15 is currently available in developer beta. IOS 15 Free Public Beta Coming In July, with the official release scheduled for fall 2021.
How to use iPhone Live Text OCR in iOS 15
In the Camera app
- With iOS 15 In the Camera app, find the new Live Text button (viewfinder square with three lines)
- Lower right corner in portrait orientation or lower left corner in landscape mode
- Look for the yellow viewfinder rectangle that appears when the camera notices the text when you move your camera
- When you have the yellow viewfinder surrounding the text you want, press the Live Text button to be able to select, copy, search, translate and share the recognized text
- And text like phone numbers, emails, dates, addresses, etc. contains live links that you can act on by long pressing
- If the Live Text button and yellow viewfinder aren’t showing, try moving closer to the text
Live Text even works with stylized fonts (although it confuses Disney’s cursive “y” with a “p” in the example above.
In the Photos app
- Live Text works for photos and screenshots you’ve already taken
- Open Apple’s Photos app in iOS 15 and look for the same Live Text icon (viewfinder square with three lines)
- Tap the icon to recognize all the text available in an image
- Or you can also just swipe or tap to select / copy / paste / etc. your text even without first pressing the Live Text icon
Live text and handwriting
During the WWDC keynote, Apple presented Live Text recognizing handwriting. We’ve also tested this and – at least for now in the beta – it works, but accuracy may depend on the handwriting being a bit more readable than mine.
Here’s how Live Text performed with my messy print and a bit of cursive:
From staff to work and more, there are many use cases for iPhone Live Text OCR. Why are you eager to use the new functionality? Share your opinion in the comments below!
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