All of the Live Text Updates in iOS 16

Last year in iOS 15, Apple added a feature that is designed to let you highlight and select written and typed text from photos, interacting with it as you would text in any other place in the operating system.


With iOS 16, likely launching to the public in September, Apple has continued to improve Live Text, and it has some impressive new capabilities, which we've outlined below.

Live Text in Videos

Video support is the biggest new feature added to Live Text. Rather than just being able to select text in photos, you can now pause a video and interact with the text like you would in an image.

Text in any paused video frame can be copied and pasted or translated, plus it works with Look Up. Live Text works across the operating system in Photos, Camera, Safari, and other apps.

To copy text in a video, pause it on the frame that you want and then touch and hold on a word. You can grab the two blue markers to narrow or widen your selection, and then you can press and hold to get to options like translate and copy.

Quick Actions

Text that is in a photo or a video also supports quick actions, something that Apple added in ‌iOS 15‌. In ‌iOS 16‌, there are new quick actions that let you track flights, track packages, translate languages, and convert currencies right from a photo or video.

If you have a photo with a sign in a foreign language, for example, you might see the "Translate" quick action available. Or if there's a foreign currency, Apple will offer up the conversion quick action.

Translate Camera

Apple is using Live Text's functionality in the Translate app, adding a Camera button that opens up the device camera so you can get live translations in real time.

New Languages

Live Text now works with Japanese, Korean, and Ukrainian text in addition to English, Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

Live Text capabilities that allow for text to be recognized in photos and videos can be used in Spotlight search in ‌iOS 16‌, so you can do a Spotlight search to find specific text in an image or video.

Live Text Requirements

Using Live Text features requires an iPhone with an A12 Bionic or later. The ‌iPhone‌ XR, ‌iPhone‌ XS, and ‌iPhone‌ XS Max from 2018 are equipped with an A12 Bionic, so if you have one of these devices or newer you can take advantage of Live Text.

Guide Feedback

Have questions about Live Text in ‌iOS 16‌, know of a feature we left out, or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

Related Roundups: iOS 16, iPadOS 16

Top Rated Comments

jayducharme Avatar
2 weeks ago
I've gotten so spoiled with increasingly advanced tech features, it's difficult for me to appreciate how mind-blowing Translate Camera is.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
techfreak23 Avatar
2 weeks ago
It's a useful feature, but it has added an annoyance when doing certain tasks. A lot of times, if I'm holding down a YouTube thumbnail that has text in it, Live Text will pick it up instead of opening the contextual menu. Hopefully videos aren't going to have the same issue.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FloatingBones Avatar
2 weeks ago
I love MacOS 12's Live Text. It's so cool to just grab text blocks in Preview. The interface is so unpresuming: just select the text to copy, and paste it elsewhere. So much computation happening behind the scenes! I haven't used on iOS/iPadOS, but I'm sure it's just as easy.

Apple experts should show these cool tools to their less technical friends. They will benefit from using these magical tools; they will think fondly of you for showing them the tools.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BootsWalking Avatar
2 weeks ago
My memory has turned into mush ever since I started using the Live Text feature to transcribe names, addresses, phone numbers, etc. Now I have trouble remembering a few digits ;)
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mrgraff Avatar
2 weeks ago

Definitely have the same experience. More often than not I don’t want the live text enabled. anyway to disable it?
Settings > General > Language & Region. Then turn off the toggle button next to “Live Text“.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr. Awesome Avatar
2 weeks ago

These are all great. If they can scan the whole video for text seems like they should scan the whole video for faces as well but often seems like it only scans first few seconds.

I know apple has been behind in this area so glad to see them working to catch up.
That’s not exactly what it does. It scans the current frame for text when you pause the video. It doesn’t scan the whole video for text.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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