What is Live Text on iPhone, iPad and Mac

With the release of iOS 15, iPadOS 15.1 and macOS Monterey introduced a new feature to make images more useful. This feature is called Live Text and allows you to interact with the text in your photos.

Here’s how to use the Live Text feature.

What is Direct Text?

If you’ve saved a photo to the Photos app, opened the camera on your mobile device, or have a photo in an app like Notes or Reminders, you can interact with the text. This includes photos you take with the Camera app and screenshots you take.

With Live Text, you can select text in an image, then copy and paste, translate or look it up. Even better, if the text is a phone number you can call it, if it’s a date you can create a calendar event, if it’s an address you can view it in Maps and more.

Let’s take a look at some ways to use this useful feature on your device and get the most out of it.

Direct Text Requirements

Make sure you have one of the following to use Live Text.

  • iPhone XS, iPhone XR or later with iOS 15 or later
  • iPad Pro 12.9 inch. 3rd generation, iPad Pro 11-in., iPad Air 3rd generation, iPad 8th generation, iPad Mini 5th generation or later with iPadOS 15.1 or later
  • macOS Monterey in Supported Region

If you have one or two suitable devices to use, turn on Live Text next.

On iPhone and iPad, open Settingoption Sharedand choose Language & Region. Turn on the switch for Direct Text.

On Mac, open System Preferences and choose Language & Region. Check box for Direct Text.

Copy and paste text directly

Whether it’s a name, phrase, or paragraph, you can copy text from an image. Then paste it wherever you need it.

On iPhone and iPad, tap Direct Text in the lower right corner to select all the text in the image. Alternatively, touch and hold a word and move the points to select text.

Clap Copy in the shortcut menu. Then, open the app where you want the text copied, touch and hold, and then select Paste.

On Mac, use your mouse or trackpad to drag over the text you want to select. Right click and select Copy or use Request + OLD. This puts the text on your clipboard.

Then go to the application or location you want to paste, right click and select Paste or use Request + DRAW.

Translate text directly

If you have a photo with text in another language, you can translate it easily.

On iPhone and iPad, use Direct Text or select a word or phrase. Tap the arrow to move right in the shortcut menu and select Pandemic. The translation engine detects the language and provides the translation.

On Mac, double-click to select a word or drag your cursor over the text to select a phrase. Right click and select Pandemic.

You will see the translation with options to choose a different dialect or use Copy translation to place the translated text in your clipboard.

Look up text directly

Maybe the text in your image is something you’re not familiar with and you want definition or additional information. Using the Lookup tool, you can get what you need.

On iPhone and iPad, use Direct Text or select a word or phrase. Pick Search in the shortcut menu.

On Mac, double-click to select a word or drag your cursor over the text to select a phrase. Right click and select Search.

Depending on the text, you’ll see options like dictionary, synonyms, Siri Knowledge, maps, suggested sites, news, and more.

Create a calendar event or reminder

One super handy feature of Live Text is the ability to create calendar events or reminders. You can get an appointment slip from your doctor’s office or a photo of an event poster. You can add it right to the Calendar or Reminders app with Live Text.

On iPhone and iPad, use Direct Text or touch and hold the date or time. Choose Create event or Create a reminder.

On Mac, you don’t have to select text like you do when copying or translating. You’ll see a dotted line around the date (or time if applicable) when you hover your pointer over it. Use the arrow shown in the dotted box to select Create event or Create a reminder.

Email, Call, Text or Add to Contacts

If you have a business card or even contact information written on a piece of paper, you can also interact with this text by taking a picture of it. Then compose an email, call a phone number, send a text message, or add the person to your Contacts list.

On iPhone and iPad, select Direct Text touch and hold a name, number, or email and choose an action from the pop-up menu.

On Mac, the action is the same as above, you don’t need to select the text. The photo name or number will display inside a box with a dot when you hover your pointer over it. Use the arrows to see options depending on the text.

For some phones, you can call, text, or make FaceTime calls. For email addresses, you can compose an email or make a FaceTime call. Along with these options, you’ll also see an option to add details to your Contacts.

Visit a website

If your image has a web link, you can go directly to the website on your device using Live Text.

On iPhone and iPad, select Direct Text and press and hold the link. Option Open Link.

On Mac, the link will appear inside the familiar dotted box. Use the arrows in the box to select Open Link or just select the address and the link will open directly in your default web browser.

Track a shipment

If you take a picture of the label for a package you’re shipping, you can track it with Live Text.

On iPhone and iPad, use Direct Text or touch and hold the tracking number. Then choose Shipping… Orders.

On Mac, select the arrow in the dotted box containing the tracking number and select Shipping… Orders.

You’ll see carrier details appear in a pop-up to track your package.

View an address in a Map

Another great feature of Live Text is for addresses. With a little effort, you can open an address in an image right in the Apple Maps app. From there, get location details or directions.

On iPhone and iPad, tap Direct Text then tap the address to open it in the Maps app. Alternatively, touch and hold the address to open a small version of Maps.

On Mac, you’ll see the address inside that dotted box with an arrow. Use arrows to select Show address and it opens right up in a small version of the Maps app.

You can then choose Directions, Open in Maps, or Add to Contacts if you want. Take advantage of this amazing feature and use Live Text on your Apple device.

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