Working for People with Sight Loss

Live Text introduced to Camera App in iOS 15

iPhone displaying text captured through Live Text feature

One of the new functions in iOS 15 is called Live Text. Available on the iPhone XS, iPhone 2020 SE and newer models, Live Text allows you to read text from photos with the Camera app. It’s similar to the Short Text channel available in the popular Seeing AI app.

Live Text uses AI to recognise text but does not need an internet connection to work. After launching the Camera app, if text is detected in the viewfinder, VoiceOver will announce “text detected.” When you find the “Detect Text” button and double tap it, you will be presented with the text that was found. The Detect Text button is located on the right side of the screen. Double tap on it for more options.

If text has been detected, activating the option to read the text will present it in a way which is easily readable by VoiceOver. Activating the “Detect Text” button also puts a stop to the camera attempting to recognize other things in your environment.

Next to the Detected Text, there will be a series of buttons which enable the user to take action on the text. Select All, Copy, and Look Up are all options on basic text. If the text detected includes a phone number or email address, this text becomes a link, and the user can activate it to carry out the default iOS option such as make a call or send an email.

If you double tap on Show More Items and swipe left or right, you will get the option to translate or you can bring up your share sheet.

The Live Text option is also available from photos in the Photos app.