What Is Apple Live Text? What Can It Do For You?

Your iPhone can read photos!


Apple introduced Live Text on iPhone at WWDC 2021. It is a deep neural networking feature that lets you copy the text of an image as plain text. Live Text also enables you to point your iPhone camera towards something and scan it for the text.

Live Text started as an iOS feature and is now available on iPadOS and macOS. However, it isn’t available across all Apple products. But Apple’s entire 2021 lineup comes equipped with the feature.

Which Apple devices have Live Text features?

Live Text is a neural-networking feature, requiring a device to pack a punch. iPhones and iPads packing an A12 Bionic processor or above are compatible with live text. This means the iPhone XS or later models can run it.

It is the same with the iPad lineup. The latest iPad Air, iPad Pros, the iPad Mini, and even the iPad 9th gen is Live Text compatible. Apple also gave this feature to Macs, but it is one of the macOS features that are M1 Mac exclusives.

So if you have an Intel Mac, you won’t be able to use this one and some other features. So if you’re thinking of buying a Mac in the future, better steer clear from any Intel Macs.

What can you do with Live Text?

Here are some things you can do with Live Text on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

  • Copy text from the image: When you open an image on your Live Text compatible iPhone, you can select text by long pressing on the text. Copy and paste the text anywhere you like.
  • Visual Look Up: You can see what you’re looking at using Live Text. For instance, if you have a photo of a dog, long press on the dog’s face and the visual lookup feature will tell you the breed.
  • Scan text using camera: Just point your compatible iPhone/iPad’s camera at an image and it’ll let you select the text in the frame. You can copy it and save it as normal text.
  • Translate the text in an image: Apple Translate supports multiple languages. So when the feature reads a different language, it can help you translate it from within your camera.
  • Add contact details: If your camera sees an email or contact number in the frame, you can just tap on the number and dial it. You can also choose to save it to your contacts.

With this feature, Apple devices can understand the context in an image. Allowing you to scan a picture to know everything about every element is a neat and handy feature. If you’re an Android user, you can use the Live Transcribe tool to achieve similar results as the iPhone Live Text on Android.

If you like this simple explainer, check out our Short Bytes section. We take complex tech topics and break them into short, easy-to-understand articles.

Manik Berry

Manik Berry

With a Master’s degree in journalism, Manik writes about big tech and has a keen eye for political-tech news. In his free time, he’s browsing the Kindle store for new stuff read. Manik also adores his motorcycle and is looking for new routes on weekends. He likes tea and cat memes. You can reach him at [email protected]
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