(Pocket-lint) - Apple introduced a new way to take advantage of text in photos with iOS 15, whether it's pictures of places you've visited or your handwritten notes.
The feature is called Live Text. It's system-wide and works across all your Apple devices. Here's what you need to know.
What is Live Text?
Live Text uses on-device intelligence and deep neural networks to unlock information, or text, captured in your photographs. The idea is you can copy notes from an image of a whiteboard from your meeting, or call a number off a restaurant menu you took a picture of last week.
There are several use-cases where Live Text can help you quickly find what you're looking for and discover more in your photos.
What can you do with Live Text?
There are a number of different use cases for Live Text. When the feature was first introduced, Apple offered a few examples of how it could be used in your everyday life. Some of these include:
Copy and paste text
For notes on a whiteboard for example, you can just take out your iPhone, snap a photo of the whiteboard, and an indicator will appear in the lower-right corner.
When you tap it, the text will be highlighted, and you can use normal text-selection gestures to copy it. From there, you can switch over to your Notes app or Mail app and paste the text to either save for later or share with others. Handy, right?
Look up more information
Live Text works on photos you take in the moment and ones in your library. For example, you may have taken a photo of a friend at a restaurant with words visible in the background on a building. With Live Text, you can select that text and then select Lookup from the available options that pop up to find out more, including which restaurant is pictured, what it serves, and learn its location.
Make a call
Now let's say you receive a photo from a friend in the Messages app. Live Text will work on those images, too. For example, say you have a photo where a restaurant's number can be seen in the background, you can zoom in on the number, tap the Live Text indicator, and then the text will be instantly recognised with a link. Tap it, and you'll be able to give that place a call.
Visual Look Up
Besides being able to manipulate and leverage text in photos, you can also use Live Text to look up information on recognised objects and scenes. Just tap on a photo and you can look up information like the breed of a dog or type of a flower.
Live Text also works for art books, nature, pets, and landmarks. We'd expect this to expand over time.
Does Live Text work on screenshots?
Live Text supports any sort of photos you take, are sent to you, or stored in your Photos library, and it works across Apple's entire system, too, which means you can use it with screenshots, Quick Look, and even photos on the web.
Which Apple devices offer Live Text?
Live Text is available on the iPhone as well as the iPad and the Mac. It's said Live Text will only work on iPhone and iPads featuring the A12 Bionic chip or better, which means you'll need Apple devices from 2018 and onward to use it.
Which languages does Live Text support?
At launch, Live Text supports seven languages: English, Chinese (simple and traditional), French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese.
When will Live Text be available?
Live Text is available with the iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey software builds. Both iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 are available to download now, though macOS Monterey is only available as a public or developer beta at the moment.