How to Use iPhone or iPad Camera to Copy Text from a Photo

Introduction

With the rollout of iOS 15 for the iPhone and iPadOS 15.1 on iPad, Apple introduced the Live Text feature, which lets you both copy the text from images with your Camera app, and copy the text out of images you’ve already taken. In this video I’ll show you how to do both. Examples of all instructions in the steps can be seen in the YouTube video below.

YouTube player

Steps to Copy Text from Image Using iPhone or iPad Camera

First let’s walk through the steps to copy text from an image in a photo using your iPhone or iPad camera.

  1. Launch the Camera app on your iPhone or iPad, make sure the image type is set to Photo, and then focus the camera on the image with the text on it that you want to copy.
  2. Wait until you see yellow brackets that will eventually show up around text that is detected in the image. Also, take note that a Live Text icon will appear in the upper right corner of the photo.
  3. Tap the “Live Text” icon. A close-up of the part of the image with text on it is displayed.
  4. You can tap “Select All” to select all available text, or you can use your fingers to select specific text in the message that you want to copy. In this example, I’ll select “Spider-Man.”
  5. Tap “Copy” after selecting your text. Your text is now copied to your iPhone or iPad clipboard.
  6. Now, open the app you want to paste the text into. In this example, I’ll open the Notes app. Hold your finger against the field you want to paste the text into to bring up a context menu, and then tap “Paste.” The text you copied from the image in your Camera app will be pasted into this field.

Steps to Copy Text from a Photo You’ve Taken Using iPhone or iPad

Next let’s look at how to copy the text from a photo you’ve already taken with your iPhone or iPad camera.

  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad, and then open the photo you want to copy the text out of.
  2. Double-tap the text on the image that you want to copy out. In this example, I’ll double-tap the text “Anti-Venom.” A menu is displayed.
  3. Tap “Copy” in the menu that pops up. The text will be copied to your iPhone or iPad clipboard.
  4. Now, open the app you want to paste the text into. In this example, I’ll open the Notes app. Hold your finger against the field you want to paste the text into to bring up a context menu, and then tap “Paste.” The text you copied from the image in your photo will be pasted into this field.

Reasons to Copy Text from a Photo Using iPhone or iPad

1. Quickly Save Information

Sometimes, you come across an image with important text that you want to keep for future reference. In such cases, you can use your iPhone or iPad camera to quickly copy the text. With just a few taps, you can capture the image and extract the text into your device’s memory, ready to use whenever you need it.

2. Preserve Original Formatting

If you want to save the original formatting of a text in an image, your iPhone or iPad camera can help. By copying the text, you can preserve the layout, font, and other elements of the text, ensuring that it remains true to its original form.

3. Extract Text from a Document

Have you ever needed to extract text from a document such as a scanned image of a PDF or other file? Your iPhone or iPad camera, combined with OCR software, makes this task quick and easy. Simply capture the image and let the software do the rest.

4. Typing Not Possible or Feasible

Sometimes, you are in a situation where typing the text is not possible or feasible. For example, you may be in a public place or in a situation where typing is not allowed. In such cases, using your iPhone or iPad camera to copy the text is a convenient solution. You can quickly and discreetly capture the image and extract the text as needed.

About Max

Max has nearly 20 years of experience working in IT across three different industries in project management and management capacities: publishing, telecommunications and healthcare. He holds the following degrees and certifications: BS Communications, MA Communications, MBA and Project Management Professional (PMP). His tutorial-focused YouTube channel earned more than 100,000 subscribers in its first four years, and currently has more than 160,000 subscribers, 110,000,000 video views and an insane 2.4 million hours of watch time. Max enjoys learning new technology, reading and collecting comic books, listening to audiobooks and playing video games.

This article contains affiliate links, which means that if you click one of the product links I may receive a small commission. This helps support my content, and enables me to continue creating content like this. Thank you for the support!