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Your iPhone Can Copy Text From Photos. Here's How

You can digitize a recipe, handwritten notes and more with this iPhone trick.

iPhones demonstrating new features in iOS 15
Live text is one of the features included in iOS 15.
Apple/Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET

There's a better way to digitize handwritten notes, old family recipes or any other hard paper copy you may have lying around. I'm not talking about taking a photo of the note or recipe and attaching it to an email. There's an iPhone feature called Live Text that digitizes notes (and anything else) in a snap.

Live Text is a computer vision-based tool that lets your iPhone copy and paste photos from a text using its camera, among other features. It was announced at Apple's virtual WWDC 2021 and came as one of the features available in Apple's iOS 15.

Copying and pasting text from an image isn't exactly a new feature for smartphones. Android users might already be familiar with this functionality thanks to Google Lens, but for the tens of millions of people who use an iPhone, you need to be using iOS 15 or later to take advantage of it. Live Text is a little different from Google Lens, since you can use it in real time with your camera to select, copy and paste text, as the iPhone is trained to recognize useful information. As I said earlier, it makes for a helpful productivity tool for copying handwritten notes or text from images and then digitizing them.

Live Text: Here's how to copy and paste text from a photo

1. Make sure your iPhone has iOS 15 installed

2. Point the camera at a subject that has any text you want to copy. You'll know Live Text has kicked in once you see a yellow outline around the text.

3. Tap on the Live Text icon on the bottom right corner of the picture to interact with any text in the frame.

4. Select the text you want to copy by pressing down like you would in Notes or a text message.

5. Hit Copy.

6. Paste this text into another app like Gmail or Notes.

Much like Google Lens, Live Text can also search for text in images stored in the Photos app. For instance, if there's a phone number in an image, you can tap it to dial the number, or if there's a French word, you can translate it to English. 

For more iPhone news, check out iPhone 14 rumors, everything coming to iOS 16 we're excited about and this trick to try if your iPhone isn't charging

Now playing: Watch this: Apple demos new Live Text for iOS 15
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