Your iPhone can copy text from pictures, and this is very useful.

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Apple / Screenshot by Sarah Tew / CNET

Have you ever wanted to quickly copy and paste your handwritten notes into a digital file? What about digitizing the old family version that is passed down from generation to generation? I’m not talking about taking a picture of a note or a syntax and attaching it to an email. There’s an even better way to do this with an iPhone feature called Live Text.

Live Text is a computer vision-based tool that lets you copy and paste text from your iPhone using your camera, among other features. Announced at Apple’s Virtual WWDC Developers Conference, Live Text came as one of the new features available in Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 15, In early autumn.

Copying and pasting text from an image is not a new feature for smartphones. Android users will already be familiar with this functionality thanks to Google Lens, but for the millions of iPhone users, you’ll want to upgrade to iOS 15 immediately to take advantage of it. Live Text is a bit different from Google Lens, as you can use it with your camera to select, copy and paste text in real time, as the iPhone is trained to recognize useful information. As I said before, it makes a handy product tool for copying handwritten notes or text from images and then digitizing them.

Live Text: Here’s how to copy and paste text from an image.

Step 1: Make sure iOS 15 is installed on the iPhone.

Step 2: Turn the camera toward an article that contains text that you want to copy. When you see the yellow outline around the text, you will know that the live text has started.

Step 3: Tap on Live text To interact with any text in the frame, select the text you want to copy by clicking the icon at the bottom right, as you would in a notice or text message. Then hit Copy.

Step 4: Now you can paste this text into another app like Gmail or Notes.

Like Google Lens, Live Text can find text in images stored in the Photos app. For example, if a picture has a phone number, you can tap it to dial the number, or if there is a French word, you can translate it into English.

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