While iOS 16.1 is available, iOS 16 as a whole is packed with a variety of new features, including Live Activities, iCloud Shared Photo Library, and new collaboration tools.
It’s not all new features though, as it also brings a huge update to iOS 15’s excellent Live Text feature that arrived last year.
The smart feature has become incredibly useful since its inception, allowing users to collect phone numbers, addresses, and more from images. The good news is that it’s now even better – so with that in mind, here’s what’s new for Live Text, and how to use it on your iPhone in iOS 16.
What is Live Text and what’s new in iOS 16?
Live Text, in its simplest form, allows you to manipulate text contained within an image. For example, whether you’ve taken a picture of a restaurant menu or snapped a picture of a business card so you don’t forget it, Live Text will let you copy the text and use it to send a message, create a note, use an email address or make a call.
This is done using in-device intelligence, but that means you’ll need an iPhone XS, XR or newer.
It will also work in iPadOS 16.1, released in October 2022, so you can use the feature on all your devices when needed.
However, if you have an iPhone running iOS 16, the main new feature for Live Text this year is the addition of extracting text from video content.
The idea is that if you pause, say, a video tutorial and need to pull down some of the data to add to your notes, you can do so by pausing the video and highlighting the text.
Another big new feature is the inclusion of ‘Quick Actions’ for Live Text. This allows you to take a picture of text in another language, for example, and translate it instantly.
Other quick actions available include starting an email when finding an email address, dialing phone numbers, converting currency, and more.
How to use Live Text in the Camera app
In the iOS 16 Camera app, hold your device so that the text is clearly visible on your screen and tap the icon that looks like a barcode scanner in the corner of the viewfinder.
This brings up the Live Text overlay and allows you to highlight parts of the displayed text. You can also press ‘Copy allQuick Action in the corner, which will copy all the text to your clipboard so you can paste it into an app right away.
In the example above, you can see that the Live Text gets a little confused thinking the image is upside down, but duplicating the text will, of course, bring it back to the correct orientation.
How to use Live Text in the Photos app
The same process applies to images and videos in the Photos app. Just hit the aforementioned “Barcode” button and you’ll have the option to “Copy All” or highlight individual parts of the text.
This can be especially useful if you don’t have time to hover over and copy some information – just take a photo or video and come back to it in your own time.
How to use Live Text in the Translate app
One of the big additions in iOS 16 is the ability to access Live Text through the impressive Translate app. If you haven’t used the app before, you’ll find it in your App Library or through a Spotlight search.
Once you’re in, there’s a new option at the bottom of the screen to open the camera. It won’t translate in real time to the extent that you’ll need to take a photo, but the app works incredibly fast.
You can also choose the language afterwards, which means that if you need to translate a sentence into multiple languages, you can easily do so.