Images and text are the two most important content types we come across on the web. They can be found on almost every web page. They convey information in different ways and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Apparently, images are the most important factor of beauty. However, the biggest advantage of images is their capacity to establish a connection between what users perceive on the web and the tangible world of physical objects and living individuals. The photos are both informative and emotionally appealing. Most web users are visually driven, they perceive pictures faster than words as a saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” On the contrary, information saves as text is more accessible, searchable, editable, and analyzable, which can be valuable in many different contexts. This is particularly useful for documents, invoices, and other text-heavy materials. When you have printed or handwritten text from physical documents, scanned images, screenshots, how to convert them into text that can be edited, searched, and analyzed using apps or software tools on the phone or computer? We know that when copy and paste don’t work, screenshots come to the rescue. When we need to digitalize physical documents, scanner apps come to help. Is there an easy way to recognize characters in screenshot, scanned images? There are several ways to extract text from images or convert images to text on an iPhone. For example, you can use third-party OCR apps or apps with the built-in OCR feature. Following are just a few methods and apps, free and paid, for extracting text from images on an iPhone. Depending on your specific needs and preferences, there may be other apps or workflows that work better for you.
- Method 1. Recognize text from photos, screenshots using Live Text OCR;
- Method 2. Convert images to text using Scanner Pro;
- Method 3. Copy text from screenshots, pictures using Adobe Scan;
- Method 4. Extract text from images using Google Photos.
Method 1. Recognize text from photos, screenshots with Live Text
Since iOS 15, Apple added optical character recognition (OCR) support, Live Text, to the Camera and the Photos apps. Point your camera towards any text, when it notices any text, the Live Text icon appears in the bottom right corner. Tap on it to select, copy, look up, translate, and share recognized text. The Live Text OCR works with those photos and screenshots you’ve already taken in the Photos app as well.
Note that Live Text works on iPhone and iPad models that are powered by an A12 Bionic processor or better.
Method 2. Convert pictures to text using Scanner Pro – a paid app
Scanner Pro – Scan Documents app is one of the most popular scanner apps on the App Store. Its OCR and full-text search capabilities let you highlight important sections of your scans with ease, turn your scans into text, so you can read, copy, and export it to other apps. Get the scanner app below. Then follow below instructions to scan paper documents to text documents or convert images to text on iPhone.
Run the scanner app on iPhone, tap the Add (+) button at the bottom right corner to open the capture screen. You can directly scan a document to iPhone. In this demo, we will show you how to convert an existing photo to text on iPhone instead. So tap the Picture icon from the bottom toolbar to select and import a photo, picture or any image file saved in your Camera Roll. Once an image file added to the scanner app, tap the Menu button (three dots) at the top right corner, you will see a pop-up menu at the screen bottom like this.
Select Recognize Text (OCR) to perform OCR, then this scanner app for iPhone will convert image to text or extract text from the image instantly. Once the converting completes, the text tab displays on your iPhone screen. Touch the Copy All button to copy the text extracted from the image, and paste it to anywhere you like, your note, email, text messages, conversations via a chat app, etc.
Method 3. Convert images into text with Adobe Scan – Free solution
Scanner Pro is not a free app. If you don’t want to spend some dollars on this, you can choose other OCR apps, Adobe Scan is a great one. The free Adobe Scan mobile app works on your mobile device, scans documents into PDFs, and automatically recognizes text.
Run the free PDF scanner app on your iPhone. You will be prompted to login or sign up if it was your first time to use it. You can sign in using your Google account or Apple account. Alternatively use your email address to sign up a free account with Adobe.
Once logged on, the Document auto-capture mode opens your camera so you can quickly scan any thing to PDF using your iPhone.
We are going to convert screenshots and images to text on iPhone, so tap the Images icon in the bottom-left corner to find and load the screenshots into the scanner app. The PDF scanner app can automatically detect and find photos of documents from your photo library for you. Tap to select all the screenshots, then tap on the Confirm button (check icon) in the top-right corner to import the photos to the scanner app.
Once the screenshots were added to Adobe Scan, tap the Save PDF button at the upper right corner to convert the screenshots to PDF on iPhone.
The free scanner app to automatically upload the PDF to Adobe document cloud server and perform OCR. After that open the PDF in Adobe Scan, you can then select and copy text from them.
Method 4. Extract or copy text from images using Google Photos – Free
Google Photos is another free solution to select and copy text from our images or photos in JPG, PNG, TIFF and more formats with the built-in advanced OCR.
Get this free app from App Store onto your iPhone. Launch it on your device. If it was the first time you run it, it will request full access to your photos. Make sure to grant it the permission. Google offer free storage to keep your photos, but you can opt not to back up them to Google drive. Open the screenshot or photo you like to scan in Google Photos app. The app analyzes the selected picture or screenshot which you want to extract text and displays the toolbar at the bottom with several options.
You can then select any text you like to extract or simply tap on Select all button and it will select all the text found on the image or screenshot. Google Photos will show you a few options at the bottom of the screen, Copy text, Search, Translate and Copy to computer.
Tap on Copy text to copy selected text to clipboard, then open any other app where you want to paste the text to, such as Notes, Mail, or else. It is just that easy!