Apple's Photos app in iOS 15 will allow you to copy text straight from an image

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,447   +1,029
Staff member
What just happened? Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicked off on Monday, starting with a preview of what's coming to iOS 15. The latest version of the iPhone operating system features revamped notifications, improvements to Messages, support for keys and corporate badges in Wallet, and more.

One of the more remarkable new features coming to the iPhone's native Photos app is called "Live Text." Using the iPhone's onboard AI processor, Live Text can recognize writing that appears in photos or screenshots you take. It can visually pinpoint words and phrases in various styles, including script. It also understands several languages. But Live Text doesn't just recognize text. It makes writing in photos useful by allowing you to highlight and copy any of the words right within the image.

For example, say your teacher or boss has written notes or meeting highlights on the whiteboard (demo below). Instead of manually writing them down, take a picture or point your iPhone's camera at the text and hit the Live Text button. Select the text by tap-dragging with your finger. Once highlighted hit copy, and then you have a couple of options.

If you have your MacBook handy, Apple's Handoff feature allows you to paste (command+V) whatever is on your iOS clipboard right into whatever document you are using in macOS. If you don't have your MacBook, simply paste the text into Notes or the iOS version of Pages. Later, you can open Notes or Pages on your Mac, and the copied text will be right there, thanks to iCloud.

Another nifty feature of Live Text, is that it can recognize phone numbers. Say you have a picture of a business that listed its phone number on its facade. Live Text will identify this as a phone number and create a link for it. When you tap the number in the photo, it will automatically pull up the phone app and dial the number.

I can think of any number of other scenarios where Live Text would come in handy; copying a physical document into a word processor for editing, photographing a sign or menu written in another language, and translating it. The possibilities are left only to the imagination.

Apple did not mention a release date for iOS 15, but it typically launches major iterations in September, right before or alongside the newest iPhone.

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Posts: 72   +47
Isn't Mozilla testing an app called ScreenshotGo just now? And is it similar to what google lens do?


Posts: 2,080   +3,983
Android has done this for a while? Confused why whenever apple bring out a "new feature" its like they've created a brand new technology.

It's not hard to understand if you think about it: What Apple likes to call "Ecosystem" I like to call "Tech Prison" so this is like telling a bunch of people doing time inside Apple's "Ecosystem" instead of privileges like visits and such they get incremental feature updates like this one or a year or so back finally getting "App grouping" and "Floating video" years after this has been commonplace on Android.


Posts: 1,185   +1,839
TechSpot Elite
Android has done this for a while? Confused why whenever apple bring out a "new feature" its like they've created a brand new technology.

Their marketing has almost always been exponentially better than their technical teams.

And hey, 10 years of implementing delayed Android technology has admittedly done them really well.


Posts: 505   +44
As someone who configures OCR software for businesses for a living it blows my mind that this was not already a thing (it is not a feature I would ever use so I had no idea in that regard). The different OCR softwares we use are all at lease a decade old so it is doubly peculiar that no one had a thought for this feature before.