It wasn’t that long ago that if you wanted to translate something in a photo, you had to copy the text and go to Google Translate or talk to someone who speaks that language. But Apple has simplified this process with the introduction of Live Text, which first appeared in iOS 15 for the iPhone.
With this feature, you can not only use the text of a photo, but also have it translated into your native language. In this article, we’ll show you how to use your iPhone to translate text in a photo.
What is Live Text?
Live Text is a smart iPhone feature that debuted in iOS 15. (Live Text has been expanded in the new iOS 16 update, but iOS 15 is fine for the features we’ll be using in this tutorial.) It uses various software techniques to analyze the data in photos, recognize text and numbers, and make those elements selectable.
This can be very useful for quickly extracting company phone numbers from their boards, collecting quotes from your favorite books, or any other situation where you need to quickly extract text from an image and paste it into other documents and apps. But there are also some built-in functions that you can perform without leaving the Photos app, such as translate.
You can learn more about the feature in our tutorial on using Live Text.
Which iPhones have the Live Text feature?
Live Text is available on a wide variety of iPhones: most importantly, they must be running iOS 15 (or later). Here’s the list:
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone SE (2nd generation)
- iPhone SE (3rd generation)
- iPhone 12 mini
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 13 mini
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
Live Text is also available on some iPads, which must again run iPadOS 15 or later. Here are the models that can use the feature:
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro (5th generation)
- 11-inch iPad Pro (3rd generation)
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro (4th generation and later)
- 11-inch iPad Pro (2nd generation and later)
- iPad mini (5th generation)
- iPad Air (3rd generation and newer)
- iPad (8th generation)
One limitation to keep in mind is that Live Text is currently only available for a relatively small number of languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Chinese. You can find a full list of the available languages on Apple’s iOS and iPadOS feature availability page.
Translate text in a photo with Live Text
Translating words with Live Text is very easy. These are the steps to take:
Open the Photos app and find the image with text you want to translate.
Tap and hold a word until you see it highlighted. Now use the handles to select all the text you want to translate.
A black menu bar appears with options such as Copy, Select All, and Lookup. Tap the right arrow to see more options.
Tap Translate and you should see the translated text appear.
Read Macworld’s iOS 15 super guide to see more of the features Apple has packed into its latest iPhone software. Check out our iOS 16 guide to get a taste of what’s to come.