Live Text Feature: Picking Text out of an Image

Live Text has been added to macOS Monterey and iOS 15! This means that if you take a photo or screen shot, you can now select the text and have it read aloud. Example: Snap a picture of a menu, sign or even handwriting on a white board or take a screen shot. The text in these images can now be read a loud! Note: This works with old photos (not just recent images).

The Live Text feature is also available on 2018 and iOS 15 devices.

How to Use Live Text on macOS Monterey

  • Open an image in Preview or on a website in Safari
  • Click and drag to select any text in the image
    • Select All (Command-A) 
    • Double Click to select the word
    • Triple-Click to select the whole sentence
  • Use Speak Selection shortcut (I use Command+Option+Shift+T, which I set; Default is Option+Esc to speak the text

Note: Speak Selection must be turned on. On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, then click Spoke Content. Select the "Speak Selection" checkbox. Click "options" to set the keyboard shortcut.

Some users prefer to copy the text into a document. Example: Students who are taking a picture of the teacher's handwritten notes on the whiteboard. Once the text is highlighted, use Command+C or right click to choose Copy the text then paste the text (Command+V) into a document.

Video Tutorial for Mac

Tech savvy high schooler, Tyler Sheft, created a video tutorial to demonstrate how he uses Live Speak.


How to Use Live Text on iOS

  • Tap and hold on the text in the image that you want to select
  • Drag the highlight to capture all of the text
  • In the popup menu, tap the speak button

Note: Speak Selection must be turned on. Go to Settings > Accessibility > spoken Content. Turn on Speak Selection: To hear text you selected, tap the Speak Button.