What is Live Text in iOS 15 and How to Use It [Guide]

We often come across a situation where extracting text from an image becomes the necessity of the moment. Whether it’s a quick online search, sharing certain information, or scanning things like phone numbers and emails, we have to rely on OCR apps like Google Lens to get the job done. While it’s fine to use a third-party OCR application to do the necessary, it’s always better to have a native alternative. And that’s exactly what made Live Text a fan favorite in iOS 15. If you want to try this new feature, read on to learn what Live Text is and how to use it in iOS 15 on iPhone and iPad.

Use Live Text in iOS 15 on iPhone and iPad (2021)

Here, we not only explain how Live Text features work in iOS 15, but also teach you how to use the feature through various methods including the Camera app, Photos app, and more. So let’s get down to business!

What is live text in iOS 15 and how does it work?

Live Text is a classic example of how Apple intelligently takes inspiration from third-party offerings and creates something more efficient and deeply integrated into the Apple ecosystem. If Night Mode on the iPhone 11 series sounded fascinating despite being late to the party, the AirPods didn’t take long to bring a resolution to the true wireless headphones segment. The Cupertino giant’s repertoire of coming from behind and adding a more compelling alternative to an existing app or feature is well known. And Live Text inherits all the characteristics Apple is known for.

Google Lens is a top-notch app for recognizing objects, animals, extracting text from an image, and much more. However, it’s not as integrated into the Android experience as Live Text is in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and even macOS Monterey. The Live text feature works the same as Google Lens and makes extracting text from images (or almost everything around it) a pretty intuitive affair. Just point your camera at any object to extract a phone number, email address, directions on Apple Maps and more.

You can use Live Text in the native Photos and Camera apps as well as other apps like Safari, Messages, WhatsApp and more. Plus, you can also bring it up from Spotlight to quickly search for anything that catches your eye. To be more precise, you can trigger Live Text from any text input field on your iPhone and iPad. So, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Live Text in iOS 15 is one of the best OCR (Optical Character Recognition) features available.

iPhones and iPads Support Live Text

Unfortunately, not all iOS 15 compatible iPhones and iPads support Live Text. So make sure you have a compatible iOS device to use this feature.

Here is the list of iPhone models that support live text:

  • iPhone X
  • iPhone X Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone11
  • iPhone 11Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE 2
  • iPhone12
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max

Here is the list of iPad models that support live text:

  • iPad Pro 2018
  • iPad Pro 2020
  • iPad Pro 2021
  • iPad 8th generation
  • iPad Air 3
  • iPad Air 4

Observation: Live Text is also compatible with MacBook Air with M1, MacBook Pro with M1, Mac Mini with M1, and the new 2021 24-inch iMac.

Live text supported languages

Currently, Live Text in iOS 15 recognizes seven languages, including English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Italian and Chinese. Apple is expected to add support for more languages ​​in the coming months.

How to use live text in iOS 15

Method 1: Use Live Text in Camera App on iPhone and iPad

Live Text is seamlessly integrated into the stock camera app in iOS 15. So whenever you find something you want to search, copy, share or translate, you can do it with the greatest of ease.

1. Launch the Camera app on your device and point it at an object or text. After that, look for the “Live Text” icon and tap on it. Note that the Live Text icon appears in the lower right corner when in portrait orientation and in the lower left corner in landscape orientation.

Tap the Live Text button

2. Now Live Text will recognize the text in the image. you can then select text you want and use one of the following options:

  • Copy of: Tap it to copy the selected text.
  • Select all: Tap it to select all extracted text.
  • I look up: Tap it to find out the meaning of the selected word or search the web.
  • Translate: Tap it to translate the selected text.
  • To share: Tap it to share the extracted text via email, iMessage or any other app. You can also save the text in the Files app.

use the Live Text in Camera app

It is worth mentioning that when you tap on a phone number, a new context menu will appear with various options like FaceTime, send message, add to contacts and copy. Likewise, if you tap on an email address, you will have the option to send email immediately.

Method 2: Use Live Text in Photos App on iPhone and iPad

Live Text works in the Photos app just as easily. So if you come across any image (including screenshots) and want to extract text from it, you can easily do so. Just follow the steps below:

1. Open the photo app on your iPhone or iPad. Then navigate to the image you want to extract the text from.

Open the Photos app

2. Now tap on the small Live text icon (looks like a square display with three lines) in the lower right corner of the screen. Live Text will instantly recognize all available text in the image.

Tap the Live Text button

3. Then select the text you want copy, share, search or translate.

search the text

Method 3: Use Dynamic Text to Recognize Handwriting in iOS 15

Live text is just as efficient in terms of extracting text from a handwritten note. If you want to digitize your notes to keep them safe and accessible on all devices, Live Text OCR can be super helpful.

recognize handwriting

Just start the camera app on your iOS 15 device. Then allow the display to appear around the handwritten note. After that, tap on Live text button to convert handwriting to text. After that, select the text and do the necessary.

Use Live Text Inside Apps Like Apple Messaging and WhatsApp on iOS 15

Imagine that you are in the middle of a conversation with your colleague or friend. Suddenly you need to extract text from an image and share it. Wouldn’t you like to get everything done without having to get off topic of conversation? Yes you would. That’s the flexibility that iOS 15 offers, allowing you to invoke Live Text from within a messaging app.

Using live text inside iMessage

Open a messaging app like Apple Messages. Then tap and hold the text input field. After that, tap on the “camera text” option. Now use your iPhone/iPad camera app to extract text from an image and share it without leaving the messaging app. Pretty cool, isn’t it?

Use Live Text in Spotlight Search in iOS 15

Spotlight has a lot of cool tricks up its sleeve, including the ability to let you use Live Text in iOS 15. To use the feature, swipe down from the middle of the home screen to open Spotlight Search. After that, tap on the text input field and select the option “camera text” option. Now, go ahead and do the necessary as explained in the steps above.

Featured live text

Use Live Text to Search Safari in iOS 15

Having a smart OCR tool accessible in a browser at all times means you can use it to recognize text and start searching without wasting time. So the next time you come across something that makes you curious, don’t forget to open the Live Text OCR feature in Safari in iOS 15.

To use it, tap and hold the search bar text box and select the “camera text” option. Now, follow the steps detailed above to extract text from a real-life image or object and get started with a quick search.

Live text in Safari

Check the file size of selected live text before sharing

Interestingly, iOS 15 also lets you check the file size of selected text before sharing. It can be useful when you want the file size of selected text to be minimal for smooth sharing.

  1. After using the live text feature to recognize text on your iPhone or iPad, select the text you want to share. Then tap the “To share” in the pop-up context menu.

Tap Share 2. Now, choose the “exhibition File size” from the iOS 15 share sheet. Voilá! It will instantly show the file size of the selected text at the top of the screen.

Check file size

Translate selected text offline using live text in iOS 15

Notably, you can also translate selected text offline. Save it for when your iOS 15 device is not connected to the internet but you want Live Text to keep running smoothly and smoothly. Keep in mind that offline translations may not be as accurate as online translations.

To get started, make sure you’ve enabled translation on your device. Also, make sure you have downloaded the languages ​​you want to translate.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iOS 15 device. After that scroll down and go to “Translate“.

Tap Translate

2. Now activate the toggle next to the “mode on device” option.

mode on device

3. Also, make sure you download the languages ​​you want to translate. We listed the supported languages ​​at the beginning of this article. Next, tap Downloaded languages and download preferred languages ​​so they are available offline.

Download languages ​​to be used offline

4. That’s it! From now on, you will be able to translate languages ​​even when your iPhone or iPad is not connected to the Internet.

live text translation

Apple Live Text vs Google Lens: Which is Better?

While Google Lens has been around for several years, Apple’s Live Text feature has just hit the ground running. So, in terms of experience, Google’s offering takes the cake. Furthermore, Google Lens also has the upper hand when it comes to universal compatibility.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case with Live Text, as it’s built into iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey. Another department that Lens is at the forefront of is translation support for 103 languages, as opposed to Live Text’s support for seven languages.

Apple Live Text vs Google Lens

But what tilts the tide in Live Text’s favor is the unparalleled integration of the entire system into the Apple ecosystem. And this is likely to get even better with time. That leaves us at the final frontier: Efficiency. To avoid the temptation of an infallible conclusion, I would direct you to Akshay’s detailed comparison between Apple Live Text and Google Lens.

Tips for Using Live Text on iPhone and iPad Like a Pro

That’s all about Live Text in iOS 15! While iOS 15 is still a work in progress, Live Text works quite reliably. And when Apple finally releases the latest iteration of iOS this fall, it should get even better. Google Lens may have years of experience, but Apple’s Live Text seems to have a clear advantage in ease of use and intuitiveness — at least for now. By the way, what is your opinion about Live Text in iOS 15? Share your thoughts on the coolest features in iOS 15, including Focus mode, ability to drag and drop files between apps in iOS 15, FaceTime calls for Android, Apple Digital Legacy, and more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.