With iOS 15, Apple allows text input directly from the iPhone‘s camera, but it’s hard to find this feature and a few tips on usage might help.
Apple added a way to bring real-world text to an iPhone. Instead of requiring the user to read and manually type or swipe it in on the keyboard, this new capability takes advantage of the rear camera. This makes it quick and easy to capture information in note form, for later reference. The feature is somewhat hidden and understanding what is happening might be difficult the first few times, so an explanation of how to activate it and what to expect will help to take advantage of this great time-saver.
Apple provides several different ways to speed up text-entry on an iPhone. The on-screen keyboard allows tapping on the keys and, since iOS 13, QuickPath is enabled by default, which allows swiping across letters without lifting the finger to form a word. Text replacements allow expansion of text shortcut words into full sentences, making it a great way to enter commonly used phrases with just a few letters. Of course, the voice dictation option, which looks like a microphone at the bottom of the keyboard, is an easy way to ‘write’ by using speech.
A new feature that Apple is introducing with iOS 15 later this year, gives the iPhone the ability to scan real-world text into the Notes app or any other text field. To capture text from the camera, open Notes, then tap on a note to get the flashing text cursor. Pressing and holding will open a context menu, showing an option to paste if there is anything on the clipboard, and revealing the new ability to scan text, represented by an icon that looks like a tiny paragraph in a box with rounded corners. Tapping this icon will display the view from the iPhone‘s rear camera in the lower half of the screen and text will immediately be identified and appear within the note, however, it isn’t actually inserted yet.
Scanning Text With The iPhone‘s Camera
The iPhone‘s new text scanning feature is easy to access in a note or text field’s pop-up context menu and it seems to work everywhere, even in the address bar of the Safari browser, saving the effort of typing in long web page addresses from printed documents. After starting the scan, text can be captured by tapping the insert button that appears at the bottom of the screen. However, it’s rare that everything in the scan window is needed, so Apple included a way to select a portion of the currently identified words.
Located on the right side of the camera view, a button that looks just like the scan icon described above grabs a still image. The words that show in this small photo behave like regular text, meaning words can be selected by pressing with a finger, selection handles will allow changing the highlighted text to only the portion that’s wanted. Tapping insert will add the text to the current note or field, which sounds much harder than it is. Using Live Text, it’s also possible to copy text from a photo in the library or one found online. Being able to capture words, codes, and other text directly from the iPhone‘s camera, quickly and easily, is a great new iOS 15 addition.
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