Copy text from image on iPhone – 3 FREE ways

Did you take a photo of a paper book, magazine, or document using your iPhone and want to be able to copy text from it? Did you ever capture a screenshot of web page, app, ebook and don’t know how to extract text from the screenshot? There are several ways to extract text from images on an iPhone. You can use the built-in OCR feature with iOS, Live Text; you can use third-party OCR apps, such as Google Lens, Google Photos, Adobe Scan, Microsoft Office Lens, Scanner Pro, etc.

Today, we will show you how to use Live Text, Google Photos and Adobe Scan to scan a screenshot from the Photos app or your photo album, select and copy text from images on iPhone.


  1. Extract text from images with Live Text;
  2. Copy text from pictures using Google Photos;
  3. Recognize and grab text from images using Adobe Scan.

Method 1. Extract text from image with Live Text on iPhone

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 or saved in the Photos app as well. This is the easiest way to grab text from screenshots on iPhone. No third-party OCR apps required. However the Live Text feature is only available on recent iPhone and iPad models that are powered by an A12 Bionic processor or better. You’re out of luck if your device is not supported.

Method 2. Copy text from pictures using Google Photos

Google Photos is a great, free app to manage, backup, sync and share our photos and videos across all our devices. Get this free app from App Store onto your iPhone.

Launch it on your device. If it is the first time you run it on your iPhone, it will request full access to your photos. Make sure to grant it the permission. Google offer free storage to keep your photos and videos, but you can opt not to back up them to Google drive. Open the screenshot or image you like to copy text from 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.

Google Photos to copy text from images, photos, screenshots on iphone

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. Google Photos will show you a few options at the bottom of the screen, Copy text, Search, Translate and Copy to computer.

Google Photos to select, copy text from images, photos, screenshots on iphone

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!

Method 3. Recognize text from photos using Adobe Scan

Except Google Photos or Lens, iPhone users can also use the built-in OCR feature with Adobe Scan for the same purpose. It offers us a free, easy to use and powerful OCR solution to extract text from images.

Run the free document 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. The document scanning begins automatically.

adobe scan document scanning iphone

We are going to grab text from screenshots and images on iPhone, so tap the Images icon at the bottom-left corner to find and import the pictures from your photo library into the scanner app. The app can automatically detect and find photos of documents for you.

adobe scan to add screenshots from photos on iphone

Once the images were added, tap the Save PDF button at the upper right corner to convert the images to PDF on iPhone.

adobe scan save pdf iphone

The free scanner app will automatically upload the PDF docs to Adobe document cloud server and perform OCR online. After that, open the PDF in Adobe Scan, you can then select and extract text from them.

adobe scan app to select copy text to clipboard on iphone

Tap on Text actions from the bottom toolbar, then choose Copy all text, or manually select text from the PDF, then tap on Copy selected text. Once the text has been copied to the clipboard, you can paste it to other apps or share it with others.

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