Not Just iPhone: How to Use Apple's Live Text Feature From Your Mac
Summary: With Live Text on your Mac, you can select text in an image in order to copy and paste it, share it with others, translate it into another language, or conduct a web search.
Apple's Live Text feature allows you to copy, share, translate, or look up text contained in an image. You can also select phone numbers or email addresses captured in a photo to call or message the contact. This function can already be performed on your iPhone running iOS 15, and now it works on Macs running macOS Monterey.
For now, only certain Mac apps support Live Text, including Safari, Photos, Preview, Quick Look, and the built-in tool for taking screenshots. Within those apps, Live Text works with live and static images. Just position an object with text in front of your Mac’s camera, or open a web page or file with an image that contains text.
Before you can use Live Text, make sure you are running macOS Monterey 12.0 or higher. To check your current OS version, click the Apple icon in the upper left and select About this Mac. If the window shows an older version of macOS, click the Software Update button to download and install the latest version.
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 then drag to select it. Right-click on the selection, and a menu appears. Click the Copy command to copy the text. Open the app in which you want to paste the selected text, right-click in the right spot, and then choose Paste from the menu.
To copy text from a physical item, position the item in front of your MacBook’s camera. Open the Photo Booth app and press the shutter button. After the picture has been taken, click on its thumbnail in the lower right of the window, select the Share button, and choose Add to Photos.
Launch the Photos app and open the photo you just shot. Place the mouse cursor on the text in the photo and drag to select it. Click the Copy command to copy the text and then paste it in the destination app or document.
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’re unable to select it, click on 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.
Next, you can place an audio or video call to a phone number displayed in an image. To do this from an existing photo, open your library in the Photos app. Search for a photo with a phone number and select the number. Right-click on the selection to open a menu, from which you can call the number using your iPhone, place a FaceTime video call, or place a FaceTime audio call.
To call a number listed on a physical item, position it in front of your MacBook’s camera and snap a photo using the Photo Booth app. Click on its thumbnail in the lower right of the window, select the 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, place a FaceTime video call, or place a FaceTime audio call.
To call a number listed in a photo or image on a website, select the number. Press down on the selection and you should see a Contacts window that lets you call the number through your mobile phone or add it to your contacts list.
Sending an email through an address displayed in a photo or image works much the same as calling a phone number. To use an existing photo, select and then right-click the email address. From the menu, choose Compose Email and then send your email.
To use an email address displayed on a physical item, snap a picture of it using the Photo Booth app on your Mac and save it to your Photos Library. From there, select and right-click the email address and then choose the Compose Email option.
And to email an address displayed in a photo on a website, select it and then right-click on it and compose the email.
To translate text in an existing photo or image from your library, open the image, highlight the text, and right-click the selection. Choose Translate to open a translate window. Click the current target language if you wish to change it to a different language.
Click the Play button to listen to the original text and the translation. Click Copy Translation to copy and then paste the translated text.
To translate text in a physical item, take a picture of it in the Photo Booth app. Save the photo to your Photos library. From there, select and right-click the text. Choose the Translate command from the menu.
If you want to translate text displayed in a photo or image on a website, highlight the text and then right-click on the selection. Choose the Translate command from the menu. You can perform a web search from an image in your photo library if you highlight the text and right-click on the selection. Choose the Look Up command to see an immediate explanation of the text. Otherwise, choose Search with [your default search engine] to conduct a web search.
To do the same for a physical item, take a photo of it in Photo Booth first. Save the photo to your Photos library. Open the photo, select and right-click the text, and then choose the Look Up command or the web search option. If you want to conduct a search on text from an image on the web, highlight the words, right-click, and then choose Look Up or the Search with command to use your default search engine.