Smartphone cameras can do a lot more than just take photos and videos. You can take a photo with your iPhone and copy text from the real world. We’ll show you how this handy feature works.

iOS 15 introduced a couple of new features in the Photos app. “Visual Lookup” can identify objects, while “Live Text” can identify text. The text can then be copied, translated, or used for a search. (Note that this feature requires an iPhone XR, iPhone XS, or newer model of iPhone.)

RELATED: How to Identify Objects with Your iPhone

First, you’ll need to take a photo of the object with text. Do that if you haven’t already. Then, open the “Photos” app on your iPhone.

Open the "Photos" app.

Select the photo that contains the text you’d like to identify.

Select a photo from the gallery.

If the Photos app detects text, you’ll see a little scanning icon in the bottom corner.

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The identified text will be highlighted. You can now treat it like you would when highlighting text anywhere. Tap and hold to bring up the select tool.

Tap and hold the highlighted text.

This will bring up handles so you can drag to select more text. A floating toolbar will also appear with a number of options, including “Copy.”

"Copy" from the toolbar.

Once you’ve copied the text, it can be pasted anywhere just like you regularly would. That’s all there is to it! This is a nifty little feature to know about and it can save you some time when transferring text from the real world.

RELATED: How to Scan Documents with the iPhone's Notes App

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Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has close to a decade of experience covering consumer technology and previously worked as a News Editor at XDA Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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