How to type real world text into any search field in iOS 15 “iOS and iPhone :: Gadget Hacks


When you need to share large bodies of text from the real world to digital, the traditional way is to take a photo. It’s great for viewing text, but what about when you need to type it? This usually means typing every letter of every word, which can quickly get monotonous. But that’s not the case anymore, as you can type text in any field on your iPhone with iOS 15.

Seriously, give it a try now! Long press any text field – whether in Messages, Notes, Safari, name it – like you’re going to paste some text. You will probably still see “Paste”, along with any application specific functions that might appear, but a new option will also appear: “Camera Text”. This is the new system-wide OCR (Optical Character Recognition) feature in iOS 15.

Go ahead and press that button, and iOS will replace the keyboard with a viewfinder. Now hover that sight over some text – once iOS identifies the text, you’ll see a yellow selection window surrounding it. Then iOS will immediately enter this text into your app. If you change your mind, don’t worry: stepping away from the text in the real world will also erase it from your app. It will not be saved on the page until you press “Insert”.

Note the icon at the bottom right – when you tap it after highlighting the text, iOS will display a focused view of that text. Here you can manually select any part of the text, as you can normally on your iPhone. This way you can omit any superfluous text that you don’t want. Again, just hit “Insert” when you’re done.

Note: Apple’s iOS 15 is currently in beta development. A public beta will be available in July, while the final version is not expected until fall 2021. Everything presented in this guide may change or be removed during the development cycle.

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Cover image and GIF by Jake Peterson / Gadget Hacks

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