iOS 15 brings text to life

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Live Text is perhaps the best thing introduced in iOS 15. It is a new feature that allows you to copy text from an image or displayed by the Camera app and then share it, download it. translate, dial it (if it’s a phone number), open it (if it’s a URL), and much more.

In technical terms, Live Text recognizes text in images or displayed by the Camera app, and then uses optical character recognition to convert it to selectable and editable text. Did I mention that it does this in real time? This ability is so extraordinary in so many ways that it’s hard not to like it.

But, before you get too excited, be aware that Live Text requires an iPhone XS, iPhone XR, or newer iPhone running iOS 15 or a newer iPad running iPadOS 15. If your device is capable, Live Text is enabled by default; if not, tap SettingsGeneralLanguage & region to turn it on.

Live Text is awesome. To see it in action, open the Photos app on your iPhone and search for a photo with text in it. Touch and hold a word to select it. Move the handles to adjust the selection if necessary, then tap a command: Copy, Select All, Find, Translate, Speak, or Share.

You can highlight all text in an image by tapping the live text indicator icon, which appears in the lower right corner of images with recognizable text and looks like a camera viewfinder with three horizontal lines inside.

If Live Text recognizes the characters as a phone number, you will see additional options. Of course, you can choose to dial the number, but if it’s owned by someone from your contacts, you can also text or email or start a FaceTime audio or video call.

If Live Text recognizes the characters as an email address, you can send an email to that person. If that person is a contact, you can also text or start a FaceTime audio or video call.

And, if Live Text recognizes the characters as a URL, you can open, copy, share, or add the link to your playlist.

Doing these things based on a picture of a phone number, email address, or URL is magic. But what’s even more amazing is that Live Text is available in many other apps, including (but not limited to) Safari, Notes, and the Camera app. Just look for the Live Text icon on an image and then tap it to highlight all the text in that image.

However, my favorite thing about Live Text is that I can point the camera at the text and translate it to and from another language in real time. I hope to travel abroad again as soon as possible, and the ability to quickly interpret signs, menus and other missives in languages ​​that I do not yet understand will be invaluable.

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