Can’t Copy Text From Pictures on iPhone? How To Fix ‘Live Text’ Issues

iOS 15 brings along a lot of new features and one that seems to have everyone excited is ‘Live Text’. Live text uses deep learning and onboard AI to determine and differentiate text from photographs. You can use this to source info, email IDs, contact numbers, and more from any photographs. But users seem to be facing issues when using Live Text. Some are unable to get it to work while others seem to be missing the feature altogether. If you are in the same boat then here are a couple of things that you can try to fix Live Text on your device. 

Required iOS version

The first thing to do would be to check your iOS version as you need to be on iOS 15.0 or newer. Head to Settings > General > About > Software version. If it says ‘15.0’ or higher then your iOS version supports the feature. However, if the number is below 14.7, 14.6 or older, then you are using an older iOS version that does not support this feature. In this case, you can try updating to the iOS 15 developer preview in case you have a developer account. If not, you can wait for the public beta which should be released to the masses in the next month or two. 

Required iPhone model

Live Text is a resource-heavy feature that requires a significant amount of processing power to work properly. If you are using an older device then chances are that it is not compatible with the new Live Text feature. As of now, only devices with Apple A12 Bionic processors or higher are supported. This means that only the devices mentioned below support the new ‘Live Text’ feature in iOS 15. 

  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Max
  • iPhone SE (2nd Gen)
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Max

Are you using ‘Live Text’ right?

Live Text can be quite finicky to get used to and some users might face a learning curve when trying to use it for the first few times. Follow the guide below to ensure that you are using Live Text properly on your device. 

Using Photos

Open Photos and navigate to a photograph with text. 

Now tap and hold on the text in the photograph. Keep holding until live text pops and you get the option to select the text. 

If this does not work, try zooming into the text (by double-tapping or pinching outwards on a picture) and then holding on the text that you need to copy.

Using Camera

You can also use the Camera app to point and shoot at a text-rich content and copy it onto your clipboard. To use the Live Text feature, open the Camera app on iOS and point your phone’s camera to a subject with text.

When you’re ready to copy the text from the viewfinder, tap on the Live Text button at the bottom right corner (the one with a viewfinder icon and three parallel lines inside of it). If you’re holding the iPhone in Landscape mode, this Live Text button will be on the bottom left corner. 

The Live Text button will now glow in yellow and the Camera app will now start looking for texts in your view. 

When the Camera picks up text elements from your view, tap on the Live Text button again to get more options. 

You will now be offered options to copy, select, look up, translate, and share the text content. Choose the option that you want to use. 

If the Live Text button or its yellow-highlighted version doesn’t appear, try moving your camera closer to the text you want to copy. 

As this is a developer preview, Live Text can sometimes fail to recognize text in photographs owing to various factors like resolution, size, visibility, blurriness, and more.

You might be facing a bug

iOS 15 is still in its infancy and the currently available version is only intended for developers so that they can test and optimize their apps according to the changes in the latest OS. Many bugs have not been ironed out nor is every feature ready to be released to the public. As such, if Live Text fails to work for you then you might be facing a critical bug on your device. You can use the feedback app to send a bug report to Apple and meanwhile use one of the fixes below to get Live Text working again on your device. 

5 Ways to fix Live Text not working issue

If your device passes all the checks above and Live Text still doesn’t seem to work for you, then you can try using one of the workarounds below to get Live Text working on your device. You might be needed to Reset your device so ensure that you have created an iTunes backup before proceeding with the fixes mentioned below. 

#1. Reopen apps

You should first try force closing and reopening any apps that fail to get Live Text working. Use the multitasking menu to kill the app and then launch it again from your app drawer. If Live Text seems to work this time then you were simply facing a minor bug or conflict. However, if the issue persists then you will have to opt for some drastic measures mentioned below. 

#2. Restart device

Let’s restart your device. Restarting a mobile device helps reset the RAM, clear cache, restart background services, and re-establish the internet connection. This process helps iron out any temporary bugs and conflicts in the background that might be causing issues with your device. Press and hold the power button on your device until the turn-off slider appears. Once it does, slide to the right to turn off your devices. Wait for a minute and then press and hold the power button again. This will power on your device again and you can try to use Live Text this time. If the feature seems to work, then you are good to go, if not, you can move to the other fixes mentioned below. 

#3. If you just want to search for pictures with text…

If you don’t want to copy textual content from pictures but instead want to search for pictures with a particular text, then you should know that you can do exactly that by using Spotlight on iOS 15. Apple’s Live Text feature integrates with improvements to Spotlights to enable searching for text in photos from your camera roll and your library. You can search for images with a specific text by opening Spotlight and then searching for the text you want to see pictures of. 

#4. Hard Restart your device

A hard restart on iOS devices helps clear the sandbox and other app caches that might be stored on your device. This kind of restart also resets certain background services to start anew. Hard restarts can sometimes fix iOS conflicts and even get features to work again. Use the guide below to hard restart your device depending on its manufacturing date and model. 

4.1) If your device has a home button

Press and hold the power button and the home button simultaneously till you see the Apple logo. Once the logo appears, let go of the buttons immediately and let your device restart. Once restarted, try using Live Text again and it should start working again if background conflicts were your issue. 

4.2) If your device does not have home button

If your device does not have a home button then hold the power button and the volume down button simultaneously. Let go of the keys once you see the Apple logo. Your device will now hard restart and any conflicts in the background that might be causing issues with Live Text should now be fixed. 

#5. Reinstall iOS 15

This is the last thing you can try if nothing seems to fix Live Text for you. Installation errors can sometimes cause major bugs with beta releases which can break features and in some cases basic functionality of the device. If you are still unable to get Live Text working on your device then it’s time to consider a reinstall of iOS 15. Simply remove the developer profile by going to Settings > General > VPN & Device Management > iOS 15 Beta Software Profile. Tap on ‘Remove Profile’ and follow the on-screen instructions to remove it from your device. 

Once the profile is removed, you should get a software update notification for the latest iOS 14 public release. Simply install the update to go back to iOS 14. Once iOS 14 is installed on your device, you can download the developer profile again to reinstall iOS 15. Once the installation starts ensure that your device does not turn off nor does it lose charge. Live Text should start working as intended after a fresh install of iOs 15 on your device. 

We hope you were able to get Live Text working on your iOS device using the tips above. If you have any suggestions for us, feel free to drop them in the comments section below.  


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