You can copy and paste text from a snapshot or screenshot, for example. This may be done in the Photos app on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, as well as in Preview on Mac. You may also use your iPhone’s camera to record text without taking a photo.
Whether you’re reading a hard copy or viewing a live camera, you can copy text. Here’s how to copy text from a photo or image.
This method works for both typed and handwritten material. This feature, known as Live Text, was introduced with iOS 15 and macOS Monterey. You can do the following using Live Text:
- Take a shot of something written on paper or on a whiteboard, and then copy and paste the text into another app. Of course, how well this works with handwritten text is dependent on the handwriting.
- Using your iPhone’s Camera app, capture text information from a poster, sign, or anywhere else you can read text.
- Take a snapshot with any of your devices and then copy and paste the text from the screenshot into another app.
How to Copy Text from a Photo
You must have an iPhone XS or XR or later and be running iOS 15 or later to use Live Text to capture text using the iPhone Camera app.
You have a lot of options for what you can do with the text that your camera captures. You can do the following:
- Copy the content and paste it somewhere else. You can paste it on another Apple device using Universal Clipboard.
- All of the text in the view should be selected.
- Look it up in the dictionary. This will either display a dictionary entry or a list of Siri-recommended websites.
- Make a translation of the text. You will be able to select the target language for your translation.
- Distribute the text.
To use Live Text:
- On your iPhone, open the Camera app.
- Ensure that you’re in Photo mode.
- Arrange the text in the view and, if necessary, tap to focus.
- The text will be encircled by a yellow-cornered rectangle.
- Press the small image in the view window’s lower-right (or top-right, depending on your iPhone’s orientation). The image appears to be a representation of words within a rectangle.
- Copy, Select All, Look Up, Translate, and Share choices will show in an options menu.
- Other functions are available if the text contains an email address, a web URL, or a phone number:
- Email address – Tapping on the email address opens Mail and allows you to compose an email to that address.
- Safari will open the website if you tap on the URL address in the text.
- Phone number — To access a menu, tap on the phone number. Depending on whether the number is from someone in your Contacts, this menu will have different alternatives. You’ll be able to call or text the number, and if it’s in your contacts, you’ll be able to FaceTime Video, FaceTime Audio, or email that person.
How to copy typed or handwritten text from an image
On iPhone or iPad
- On your iPhone or iPad, open an image in Photos or use Preview in the Files app.
- To bring up a menu of options, press on the text to highlight it.
- The alternatives will be the same as in the previous section: Copy, Select All, Look Up, Translate, and Share are some of the options available.
- On your Mac, open an image in Photos or Preview. Using Finder’s Preview, you can open an image file.
- Hover the cursor over the text until the “I bar” appears, indicating that you can pick text. Then click and drag to highlight the text, just like you would in another app. To open an options menu, right-click or control-click the highlighted text.
- The alternatives will be the same as in the previous section: Select All, Copy Look something up, translate it, and share it.