How to copy text from a picture on iPhone

Smartphone cameras can do a lot more than just take photos and videos. You can use your iPhone to take a photo and copy text from the real world. We’ll show you how this handy feature works.

iOS 15 introduced some new features in the Photos app. “Visual Lookup” can identify objects, while “Live Text” can identify text. The text can then be copied, translated or used for a search. (Note that this feature requires an iPhone XR, iPhone XS, or later iPhone model.)

How to identify objects with your iPhone

First you need to take a photo of the object with text. Do this if you haven’t already. Then open the “Photos” app on your iPhone.

Select the photo that contains the text you want to identify.

Select a photo from the gallery.

If the Photos app recognizes text, you will see a small scan icon in the lower corner.


The identified text is highlighted. You can now treat it anywhere as if you were highlighting text. Tap and hold to bring up the selection tool.

Tap and hold the highlighted text.

This will reveal handles that you can use to drag to select more text. You will also see a floating toolbar with a range of options including “Copy”.

After you’ve copied the text, you can paste it anywhere you want as usual. That’s all there is to it! This is a nice little feature that you should know that can save you some time when transferring text from the real world.

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