Here’s how to use macOS Monterey’s most useful new feature: Live Text

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One of the new flagship features available in macOS Monterey is Live Text. As Apple says, this feature makes the text “completely interactive in your photos”, allowing you to copy and paste it, use search, translate, and more. See below for more details on how Live Text works.

Compatibility

When Apple first announced Live Text for macOS Monterey at WWDC in June, it said the feature would only be available on Macs with Apple Silicon processors. Then, during the beta test cycle over the summer, it also extended availability to Intel-equipped Macs.

This means Live Text is available on any Mac that can run macOS Monterey. This includes MacBook Air models from 2015, MacBook Pro models from 2015, 12-inch MacBook from 2016 and 2017, iMac Pro, iMac models from 2015 and newer, Mac mini from 2014 and newer, and the 2013 and 2019 Mac Pro.

Live Text is currently supported in English, Chinese, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Spanish.

How it works

In general terms, Live Text essentially recognizes text in images and makes it interactive, just like traditional text. For example, let’s say someone sends you a photo of a shipping label. Live Text in macOS Monterey would recognize the text on this label and allow you to interact with it, for example by copying the tracking number directly to your clipboard.

In macOS Monterey, the Live Text feature works in the Photos app, Safari, Quick Look, and the screenshot interface. For example, you can open an image in the Photos app, and Live Text will activate to recognize any text in the image and allow you to interact with it. Here’s how Apple describes the feature:

Text is now fully interactive in all of your photos, so you can use features like copy and paste, search, and translate. Live Text works in Photos, Screenshot, Quick Look, and Safari.

To interact with the text, simply move your cursor over the text as you would with text in a Word document. Once you’ve highlighted the text in question, you can use keyboard shortcuts to copy and paste it, or right-click it to use Find or Translate. There is also a new visual search feature.

Apple explains:

  • System-wide translation: Translate the text by Control-clicking it and selecting Translate. Then copy the result, change the language or replace the selected text with the translation.
  • Visual search: Swipe up or click the info button on any photo to highlight recognized objects and scenes. Learn about folk art and monuments from around the world, plants and flowers in nature, books, and pet breeds.

Another case where Live Text is incredibly useful is in Safari. Just like in the Photos app, the feature makes the images on web pages completely interactive. Need to copy a phone number from an image on a restaurant’s webpage? No problem at all.

Conclude

Live Text is easily one of my favorite features in macOS Monterey (and it’s also available on iPhone and iPad with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 respectively.) Almost every day I find myself using Live Text on at least one of my devices.

What do you think of Live Text in macOS Monterey? Did you find it useful and reliable? Let us know in the comments!

9to5Mac is brought to you by Mac Stadium. Migrate to M1 more easily with Orka and MacStadium. Orchestrate macOS virtual machines with Kubernetes in a mixed cluster of Mac M1 and Intel. Watch the tech preview and register to participate in the beta.

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