Last year in iOS 15, Apple added a feature that is designed to let you highlight and select written and typed text from photos, interacting with it as you would text in any other place in the operating system.
With iOS 16, likely launching to the public in September, Apple has continued to improve Live Text, and it has some impressive new capabilities, which we’ve outlined below.
Live Text in Videos
Video support is the biggest new feature added to Live Text. Rather than just being able to select text in photos, you can now pause a video and interact with the text like you would in an image.
Text in any paused video frame can be copied and pasted or translated, plus it works with Look Up. Live Text works across the operating system in Photos, Camera, Safari, and other apps.
To copy text in a video, pause it on the frame that you want and then touch and hold on a word. You can grab the two blue markers to narrow or widen your selection, and then you can press and hold to get to options like translate and copy.
Text that is in a photo or a video also supports quick actions, something that Apple added in iOS 15. In iOS 16, there are new quick actions that let you track flights, track packages, translate languages, and convert currencies right from a photo or video.
If you have a photo with a sign in a foreign language, for example, you might see the “Translate” quick action available. Or if there’s a foreign currency, Apple will offer up the conversion quick action.
Apple is using Live Text’s functionality in the Translate app, adding a Camera button that opens up the device camera so you can get live translations in real time.
Live Text now works with Japanese, Korean, and Ukrainian text in addition to English, Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.
Live Text Spotlight Search
Live Text capabilities that allow for text to be recognized in photos and videos can be used in Spotlight search in iOS 16, so you can do a Spotlight search to find specific text in an image or video.
Live Text Requirements
Using Live Text features requires an iPhone with an A12 Bionic or later. The iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max from 2018 are equipped with an A12 Bionic, so if you have one of these devices or newer you can take advantage of Live Text.
Have questions about Live Text in iOS 16, know of a feature we left out, or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.