Text Selection on Pictures: Enable/Disable Live Text on iPhone, iPad and Mac

What is Live Text and how to disable text selection on photos and images? I answer these and other questions on the subject in this guide. Because even if it is sometimes very practical to be able to copy, look up and translate text directly from photos or graphics, it can also be annoying at times. Especially when you double-tap a photo to enlarge it on iPhone or iPad and it highlights text instead. This has happened to me a few times myself, which is why I would like to show you the options for switching Live Text on and off as a guide.

In the camera app of the Apple iPhone from iOS 15 you can tap the marked symbol to create a temporary screenshot and to interact with the recognized text. However, Live Text also works on photos and other images.

In the camera app of the Apple iPhone from iOS 15 you can tap the marked symbol to create a temporary screenshot and to interact with the recognized text. However, Live Text also works on photos and other images.

What is Live Text on iPhone, iPad and Mac?

Live Text is a real-time recognition of text, characters and numbers in photos, images, graphics and the preview in the camera App. Thanks to this function, it is possible to copy text directly from the camera app, from a photo you have taken or from an image on the Internet, to look up unfamiliar terms or to translate it into your own language.

In addition, addresses can be displayed on maps, telephone numbers can be called or e-mails can be sent to displayed e-mail addresses. Live text replaces the writing or typing of text in images. Speaking of writing, handwriting is also recognized, so notes can easily be digitized.

How long has Live Text been on Apple devices?

The "Live Text" function was released in autumn 2021 iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey unrolled. It was announced accordingly as part of the WWDC21 keynote in June 2021. During the presentation, the recognition of certain image content (buildings, animals, plants, works of art, etc.) was also presented, which can have similar practical uses. Below you will find an overview of the Apple mobile devices that are currently compatible with Live Text (as of August 2022).

Live Text: Compatible with these iPhone models

  • iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR (2018)
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max (2019)
  • iPhone SE, 2nd Gen (2020)
  • iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max (2020)
  • iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max (2021)

Live Text: Compatible with these iPad models

  • iPad Pro 12,9″ (3rd Gen or newer) 
  • iPad Pro 11″ (all models)
  • iPad Air (3rd gen or newer) 
  • iPad (8th Gen or newer)
  • iPad mini (5th Gen or newer)

Enable/Disable Live Text on iPhone and iPad

You can use the text marking function in images on the devices mentioned and those released from 2022 onwards. But if you expressly do not want that, you also have the option of deactivating live text. I have summarized for you here how this works from iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.1:

  • Opens the Settings on your smartphone or tablet
  • Then tap on General
  • Now choose Language & Region from
  • Disable the "Live Text" slider at the bottom
  • And that's it
Disabling Live Text on iPhone and iPad is not difficult at all. You just have to know where the controller for this function is hidden. The screenshots were taken on iOS 15.6 on the iPhone 12 Pro.

Disabling Live Text on iPhone and iPad is not difficult at all. You just have to know where the controller for this function is hidden. The screenshots were taken on iOS 15.6 on the iPhone 12 Pro.

Enable/Disable Live Text on Mac, iMac and MacBook

Which Apple computers are compatible with macOS Monterey and the "Live Text" feature it contains, You can read that in the guide linked here. On these Mac models with macOS 12 you can also use the practical function or switch it off so that you are not disturbed by it. That's how it works:

  1. Click on the in the menu bar at the top left Apple symbol ()
  2. Choose the System settings ... from the drop down menu
  3. Click on the area here as well Language & Region
  4. If not selected, click the "General" tab
  5. Uncheck the box next to “Select text in images” 
To disable Live Text on the Apple Mac, you only need a few clicks in the macOS system preferences. This is what it looks like.

To disable Live Text on the Apple Mac, you only need a few clicks in the macOS system preferences. This is what it looks like.

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