How to Copy and Paste Text from Camera or Photos on iPhone

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With iOS 15, you can now copy and paste text directly from Camera or the Photos app on your iPhone! It’s as effortless as copying text from a webpage or document.

Many would argue that Google has always been more innovative than Apple in terms of introducing new features. However, the seamlessness of the Apple ecosystem and their attention to detail to provide the user ease of access has no competition.

Yes, we do have Google Lens doing the same thing for quite some years now, and some phones have the Lens built in their native camera app. That being said, Google Lens never felt as seamless as the new Live Text feature introduced in iOS 15.

Also, the Live Text feature will just not be limited to texts (poor nomenclature here, Apple). As announced at the WWDC 2021, you would also be able to look up relevant information about pets, books, restaurants, landmarks, and much more.

All from your native camera app or from your already clicked pictures without switching to any other app.

And of course, initially, it will be launched with language recognition of 7 languages. Namely — English, Chinese (Traditional & Simplified), French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese with support for more down the line.

People are buzzed about it and so are we, and without any further ado, let’s know how to do it!

Note: This is a beta feature and won’t be available generally until the public release of iOS 15 or macOS 12 later in fall 2021.

Which iPhone Models Support Live Text?

Please take note that the Live Text feature is only supported by iPhone models with an A12 Bionic processor or newer. Below is a list of all supported devices.

  • iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 12 Mini
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone SE 2

Copy and Paste Text using The Live Text

First, open the Camera app from your home screen on your iPhone.

Next, point towards a written text on a board or a notebook. You will see a small indicator appear on the bottom right corner of the viewfinder showing the Live Text feature.

Once the Live Text indicator appears, simply tap on the text on the viewfinder to select it. A pop-up banner would appear, having the options Copy, Select All, Translate, Lookup, and Share.

Now tap on the ‘Copy’ option from the pop-up banner.

After that, go to the application you would like to paste the copied information. In this case I am using Notes application for safekeeping of the information for later use.

Note: You can similarly copy text from pictures in your Photos app. Just tap and swipe on the text you want to copy in an image and it’ll be selected. You can copy the text or even translate it (if required) directly.


Do More with Phone Numbers Using Live Text

Live Text can do more than just copy, paste, and translate text from the camera on iPhone. You can also perform a host of functions if there’s a phone number present around your surroundings or on a picture in your gallery.

First, open the Camera app from your home screen on your iPhone.

Next, point towards the number present on a billboard, restaurant sign, or even on a piece of paper. You will see a small indicator appear on the bottom right corner of the viewfinder showing the Live Text feature

Once the Live Text indicator appears, simply tap on the phone number on the viewfinder to select it. A pop-up banner would appear, having the options Call, Send Message, FaceTime, FaceTime Audio, Add to Contacts, and Copy.

Now, tap on the desired action you would like to perform with the phone number. For this instance, I am going to choose the ‘Copy’ option from the list.

After that, you can use the copied phone number and paste it over to notes for safekeeping or send it over via any instant messaging application.


Searching Photos Made easier with Live Text

For the first time on an iPhone, Live Text will enable you to search for words captured in a photo from your photo library using Spotlight search.

Spotlight search is one brilliant feature of iOS. It is capable of sifting through your files, applications, web pages, and Siri suggestions to provide you useful search results. Now, integration of Live Text is a big cherry on top.

First of all, open the Spotlight search by swiping down from the home screen on your iPhone. Then type the keyword you want to search in photos from in the Search box. (For instance, I am typing a company name here to look for its visiting card photo I took sometime back.)

search for

Now, scroll down to the ‘Photos From Apps’ section from the search results. If you see your desired photo from the results tap on its thumbnail to view the picture. Alternatively, tap on the ‘Show More’ option to view all the pictures matching the search criteria.

tap on image thumbnail to see photo

After tapping on the image thumbnail, tap on the upwards ‘arrow icon’ to perform multiple operations like sending a photo, using it as a wallpaper, or assigning it to a contact. Else, tap on the ‘Photos’ icon to view the picture in the Photos app.


Now you can do so much more with the camera and Spotlight along with copy and paste text from the camera on iPhone. All thanks to the newly introduced Live Text feature on iOS 15!