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One of the hallmark new features available in macOS Monterey is Live Text. As Apple puts it, this features makes text “completely interactive in your photos,” allowing you to copy and paste it, use lookup, translation, and more. Head below for the full 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 powered by Apple Silicon processors. Then, during the beta testing cycle over the summer, it expanded availability to Intel-powered Macs as well.

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

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

How it works

In broad terms, Live Text essentially recognizes text in images and makes it interactive, just like traditional text. For instance, let’s say someone sends you a picture of a shipping label. Live Text in macOS Monterey would recognize the text on that label, and allow you to interact with it, such as copying the tracking number right to your clipboard.

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

Text is now completely interactive in all your photos, so you can use functions like copy and paste, lookup, and translate. Live Text works in Photos, Screenshot, Quick Look, and Safari.

To interact with the text, simply move your cursor over the text just like 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 Look Up or Translate. There’s also a new Visual Look Up feature.

Apple explains:

  • System-Wide Translation: Translate text by Control-clicking it and selecting Translate. Then copy the result, change the language, or replace the selected text with the translation.
  • Visual Look Up: Swipe up or click the information button on any photo to highlight recognized objects and scenes. Learn more about popular art and landmarks around the world, plants and flowers out in nature, books, and breeds of pets.

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

Wrap-up

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? Have you found it useful and reliable? Let us know down in the comments!

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