Not Just iPhone: How to Use Apple’s Live Text Feature from Your Mac

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Apple’s Live Text feature allows you to copy, share, translate, or search for text contained in an image. You can also select phone numbers or email addresses captured in a photo to call or send a message to the contact. This feature can already be performed on your iPhone running iOS 15, and now it works on Macs running macOS Monterey.

At this time, only certain Mac apps support Live Text, including Safari, Photos, Preview, Quick Look, and the built-in tool for taking screenshots. In these applications, Live Text works with live and static images. Simply place an object with text in front of your Mac’s camera, or open a webpage or file with an image containing text.


Update your Mac

Before you can use Live Text, make sure you are running macOS Monterey 12.0 or higher. To check the current version of your operating system, click the button Apple icon at the top left and select About this Mac. If the window displays an older version of macOS, click the button Software update button to download and install the latest version.


Copy and paste text from photos

copy text

To copy text from an existing photo, launch the Photos app and open a photo with text. Place the mouse pointer over the text, and drag it to select it. Right click on the selection and a menu appears. Click it Copy command to copy text. Open the app you want to paste the selected text into, right click on the right place, and choose Pastry from the menu.

live image

To copy text from a physical item, hover the item in front of your MacBook’s camera. Open the Photo Booth app and press the shutter button. Once the photo has been taken, click on its thumbnail at the bottom right of the window, select it To share button and choose Add to photos.

image text

Launch the Photos app and open the photo you just took. Place the mouse cursor over the photo text and drag to select it. Click it Copy to copy the text, then paste it into the destination application or document.

web text

To copy text from an image on a website, open Safari and find a photo or other image with text. Select the text. If you can’t select it, click it once and then see if you can select it. Right-click on the selection and choose Copy from the menu. Paste the text into the destination application or file.


Call a number on a photo

phone number

Then you can make an audio or video call to a phone number displayed in a picture. To do this from an existing photo, open your library in the Photos app. Find a photo with a phone number and select the number. Right-click the selection to open a menu from where you can call the number using your iPhone, make a FaceTime video call, or make a FaceTime audio call.

face to face audio

To call a number on a physical item, hold the number in front of your MacBook’s camera and take a photo using the Photo Booth app. Click on its thumbnail at the bottom right of the window, select it To share button and choose Add to photos. Open the image in the Photos app and select the text. Right click on it and choose whether you want to call from your iPhone, make a FaceTime video call, or make a FaceTime audio call.

website number

To call a number that is in a photo or a picture on a website, select the number. Tap on the selection and you should see a Contacts window that allows you to call the number through your mobile phone or add it to your contact list.


Send an email address in a photo

email photo

Sending an email via an address displayed in a photo or picture works the same way as calling a phone number. To use an existing photo, select and right-click the email address. In the menu, choose Write an email then send your email.

To use an email address displayed on a physical item, take a photo of it using the Photo Booth app on your Mac and save it to your photo library. From there, select and right click on the email address, then choose the Write an email option.

And to email an address shown in a photo on a website, select it, then right click on it and compose the email.


Translate a language from the text of a photo

translate text

To translate text in an existing photo or image in your library, open the image, highlight the text, and right-click the selection. Choose Translate to open a translation window. Click on the current target language if you want to change it to another language.

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Click it Player button to listen to the original text and the translation. Click on Copy translation to copy and paste the translated text.

translate the photo

To translate text into a physical item, take a photo of it in the Photo Booth app. Save the photo to your photo library. From there, select and right click on the text. Choose the Translate menu command.

translate the web

If you want to translate a text displayed on a photo or an image on a website, highlight the text and then right click on the selection. Choose the Translate menu command.


Find text in a photo

search for text

You can search the web for an image in your photo library if you highlight the text and right-click the selection. Choose the To look for command to see an immediate explanation of the text. Otherwise, choose Search with [your default search engine] to search the web.

photo search

To do the same for a physical item, first take a picture of it in Photo Booth. Save the photo to your photo library. Open the photo, select and right click on the text, then choose the To look for command or web search option.

web search

If you want to search on text from an image on the web, highlight the words, right click, and choose To look for or the Search with command to use your default search engine.

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