Everything you need to know about the iPhone's built-in text scanner

Xiaobai Software  2022-07-15 12: 17  read 62 views

Thanks to the Live Text feature that Apple introduced in iOS 15, your iPhone may have a built-in text scanner.This means you don't need to download or pay for a third-party text scanning app to scan and interact with text in photos or images on your iPhone.

But first, let's check to see if your iPhone has a text scanner, as not all models support the Live Text feature.Then, we'll look at what the scan text button does and how to use it.


Which iPhone models have text scanners?

While Apple's Live Text was introduced in iOS 15, updating your device to that version isn't enough to guarantee that the built-in text scanner will be installed on your iPhone.Only iPhones with an A12 Bionic chip (or later) have this feature.This means that only the iPhone XS, XR and later iPhone models support Live Text.

What does the iPhone's built-in text scanner do?

Over the years, Apple has released new iOS features like Keynote and Shortcuts in the form of apps.But that's not the case with the iPhone's text scanner.The feature is instead integrated into many apps in the form of a scan text button that displays three lines in a frame.


Just like a normal text scanner, the basic function of the scan text button is to enable you to have a soft copy of the text so you can make edits and other digital modifications to it.This is useful for students and working professionals - instead of zooming in on a photo you took on a whiteboard and tediously retyping it, you can just scan and copy it.

However, your iPhone's text scanner isn't limited to digitizing words on paper.For example, you can take a photo of a foreign menu and translate the name of each item.If you find a term you are not familiar with, you can use the Find option to get directly to the relevant search results.

Plus, your iPhone can even recognize the type of text it scans.For example, let's say you notice a poster about an upcoming event that includes its website address.Once you scan the poster, your iPhone will recognize that the words are not just text, but a URL.By clicking on the URL, your device will automatically open the Safari browser and load the website for you.

How to use your iPhone's built-in text scanner

You can find scan text buttons in iPhone apps like Camera, Photos, Notes, Safari, etc.But for the camera app in particular, you need to go into its app settings and enable Live Text on your iPhone first, otherwise it won't be able to detect the text.

Now, let's take a look at how to scan text and use them on your iPhone.

How to scan text on your iPhone

In the camera app, just notice the scan text icon.Once your text is enclosed within a yellow frame, click the Scan Text icon.

In the Photos app, this icon is automatically available if your image contains text.




However, in apps like Safari, the icon for the scanned text doesn't immediately appear on the screen.When you come across an online image with text, long press the image to enter the context menu.Then, select Show Text.


Likewise, in the Notes app, you need to first tap the camera icon from the menu.Then, select Scan Text.Next, when your target section is included in the results window, click the Scan Text icon.Highlight the sentence you want, then click Insert to add the text to your note.




How to use scanned text on your iPhone

After scanning, you can generally copy, select, translate, share or search the text.However, please note that these options may vary slightly depending on the application you are using to scan text.

As mentioned, if your text contains elements like URLs, you can also tap it so that your iPhone can direct you to the relevant app.For example, tap a phone number and you can call, text, or FaceTime that person.Clicking on an email address opens the Mail app, allowing you to send emails.Long pressing on a date and time allows you to create an event in the Calendar app.




How to Rescan Text on Your iPhone

If you accidentally scan the wrong text, just deselect the scan text icon to rescan.If you're using the Camera app, you can also choose to tap anywhere other than scan text to return to photo mode.



How to Quit Text Scanner or Turn Live Text Off Completely

To exit text scan mode, deselect the scan text icon, then, if available, tap the X button to exit completely.

Limitations of the iPhone's built-in text scanner


The built-in text scanner on the iPhone is a very handy tool.But currently, it has some limitations.

For one, Apple's Live Text currently supports fewer than 10 languages.It only includes English, Cantonese, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.While you can try scanning for unsupported languages ​​like Japanese or Arabic, the results are very inconsistent.It may detect text partially, or not at all.

Another issue is the appearance of scanned text.If you're scanning a large block of text that fills half a page, the formatting isn't very good.Sentences will randomly go into a new paragraph, ignoring any existing paragraph breaks on the content you're scanning.You'll have to manually fix them yourself after scanning, or try scanning a small section at a time to avoid this problem.

No need to buy a text scanner, just use your iPhone

With a smartphone, buying a text scanner as an extra gadget is an unnecessary expense if you just want to scan and edit some text.You can use your iPhone's text scanner instead.The Live Text feature isn't just for copying and pasting text, when the scanned text contains other useful information, you can easily visit websites, make phone calls, and more.

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