Live Text Not Working in iOS 15? Here's the Fix

You can copy text from an image in iOS 15 using Live Text, but what do you do when it's not working?

Once you have iOS 15, you might be eager to convert an image to Live Text, but what do you do if it isn't working? Live Text lets you select text from an image and copy, paste, search, and more, but you might run into a frustrating situation where it doesn't work. Here are all the reasons Live Text might not be working, and how to fix it.

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Live Text Support: What to Do If Live Text Isn't Working

If you need a refresher in Live Text basics, Live Text is a function introduced with iOS 15 that allows you to select text in an image and do things like copy, paste, search, and translate that text. There is no separate photo to text app on the iPhone; instead, Live Text is found any time your iPhone recognizes text in an image or on your camera viewfinder. We're going to go over some Apple Live Text support options now and take a look at what to do if this cool new feature isn't working. For more on how to get the most out of iOS 15 check out our Tip of the Day!

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Make Sure Your Device Is Compatible

Live Text isn't available on every device. Below is a list of devices that support Live Text, and if your device is not listed then you cannot use this function:

  • iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max;
  • iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max;
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max;
  • iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR;
  • 12.9-inch iPad (from 2018 or later);
  • 8th generation iPad;
  • 11-inch iPad Pro (from 2018 or later);
  • 2021 iPad Pro;
  • 3rd and 4th generation iPad Air.

Make Sure You're Running iOS 15 or iPadOS 15

Live Text is not available in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 or earlier. In order to use it, you must be running iOS 15. If you need to, you can check what OS you're running and how to update to iOS 15.

How to Enable Live Text in Settings

Live Text comes automatically enabled with iOS 15, but sometimes settings can switch around when we're not entirely sure how they got that way (for me, it's usually from handing my phone to my two-year-old), so if Live Text isn't working, here's how to make sure it's enabled:

  1. Open Settings and tap Camera.

  2. Make sure Live Text is toggled on.

Make Sure Your Text Is Visible

If you're trying to read text on something like a t-shirt or a crumpled piece of paper, your iPhone might have trouble recognizing it. If you can, either flatten out the surface the text is on that your camera is trying to read, or choose a photo where the text is more visible.

Select the Text or Tap the Icon

Live text icon not appearing? Here's an important distinction: if you're using your camera to read text, you'll need to hit the Live Text button (shown below), and if you're trying to use Live Text in a photo, you will need to press and hold the text to select it. Tap the Live Text icon if you're using your camera, but don't look for it in a photo.

livetext support

Reopen Your Photo or Camera App

If you've tried all of the above, and Live Text still isn't working, try closing and reopening your app. Also try closing any other apps that are open that aren't in use, because when too many things are happening on your iPhone, it can affect its functionality.

Restart Your Device

When all else fails, restart your iPhone or iPad. Sometimes this is the kick in the pants it needs to get Live Text working again. If none of these steps get Live Text working on your iPhone, it could be an issue with your camera hardware. Try contacting Apple support for further assistance.

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Author Details

Amy Spitzfaden–Both's picture

Author Details

Amy Spitzfaden–Both

Amy Spitzfaden Both is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, an award-winning novelist, and an iPhone enthusiast. Over the past decade, her work in the publishing industry has included live coverage of industry events including the Yale Publishing Course and Magazine Innovation’s ACT 9 Experience, providing editing services for several start-up publishing houses, and acting as newsstand consultant for magazines such as The Old Farmer’s Almanac and The New York Review of Books. She graduated from M.I.U. with a Bachelor’s in Literature and Writing, and has gone on to publish two novels and two short stories. Her debut novel Untold won the 2014 Chelson Award for Fiction.
Writing everything from book reviews to skincare tips, Amy discovered a passion for bringing exciting and useful information to even the most casual researcher. The mix of usability and endless possibilities is what drew her to Apple products originally, and the more she learns, the more she loves.
Amy lives in New Hampshire with her husband and daughter. When she’s not writing or glued to her iPhone, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and creating her own tea blends.

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