Move over Google Lens! iOS 15 will be able to recognize text in your photos

Apple iOS 15 Live Text
(Image credit: Apple)

The upcoming Apple iOS 15 has some exciting fresh features for iPhones, but we reckon Apple's new Live Text feature is the most impressive camera-based update due to appear in iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey.

Picture the scene: you're walking down the street and and pass a storefront you like the look of, but don't have time to go in. You snap a quick photo of its contact details, but then you've got to go back to the photo and manually enter the website URL into your web browser, or the store's phone number into the dialler.

(Image credit: Apple)

Not any more! With iOS 15, you can snap that same photo and the camera app will automatically detect any text or numbers in the image and allow you to copy it just like text in an email or document, then you can paste it into a web search, or send it in a message. Live Text can even recognise hand writing - great when you want to photograph a hastily written shopping list note, or a cherished family cooking recipe.

(Image credit: Apple)

To use Live Text, simply open the Camera app focus on scene containing text. A Live Text button should appear in the lower right corner of the viewfinder, allowing you to grab that text and interact with it. Alternatively, the same trick can be accomplished via the Photos app, with text in an image being selectable just as if it were text in a document - it really is that simple and intuitive!

Live Text supports English, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Portuguese, French, Italian, German, and Spanish, with additional language support possible before the official launch of iOS 15.

Until then, version 15 is available as a public beta if you want to try out Live Text for yourself right now. The full release of iOS 15 will likely coincide with the launch of the iPhone 13 family of phones later this year.

Unofficial concept render of what the iPhone 13 might look like (Image credit: Concept Creator x LetsGoDigital )

Read more:

iPhone 13: everything we know so far
The best iPhone for photography
The best iPads for image and video editing
The best iMac
The best MacBooks for photo editing

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Ben Andrews

Ben is the Imaging Labs manager, responsible for all the testing on Digital Camera World and across the entire photography portfolio at Future. Whether he's in the lab testing the sharpness of new lenses, the resolution of the latest image sensors, the zoom range of monster bridge cameras or even the latest camera phones, Ben is our go-to guy for technical insight. He's also the team's man-at-arms when it comes to camera bags, filters, memory cards, and all manner of camera accessories – his lab is a bit like the Batcave of photography! With years of experience trialling and testing kit, he's a human encyclopedia of benchmarks when it comes to recommending the best buys.