iPhone User Guide for Beginners

Live Text

iPhone camera

Live text can help you quickly pick up text from pretty much anywhere. To get started, go to your iPhone camera and select Photo as though you want to take a picture. When your iPhone detects some text in the image, it displays a live text icon on the bottom right corner of your screen. You can capture the text by tapping the live text icon to start interacting with it (without taking a photo of it). You can then Copy All, (bottom left corner of the screen) to paste in any app (Apple Notes, for example).

A popup menu appears with options to Copy for pasting anywhere or Look Up a few words to search the web. This feature does not work when you pick too many words. You can also Translate to other languages, using the Translate feature in iOS 17 (more about it in a different episode). Share lets you export the text as a document to any app that can process text information.  So, that can be Messages, Mail, Apple Notes, etc. 

To interact with specific text, long-press to select it. You get similar options for your live text with a few differences. You can Look Up single words using the dictionary on your iPhone. You still have the option to search the web, but if you want to do that directly without going to Look Up first, you have a menu option to Search Web. Live text also works on handwritten notes as well.


You can also use live text on photos that are already in your Photos library. When an image contains text, the live text icon appears on the bottom right corner of the screen, and you have all the options for the feature. It also works on videos in your Photos Library. To use it, you have to pause or stop the video where the text you want is. When the live text icon appears, you can start interacting with the text on your screen.

Files app

In the Files app, live text also works on images. When you open an image, the app recognises the text immediately. Tapping the live text icon (bottom left corner) brings up all the options for the feature. Even without tapping the live text icon, you can long-press the text to interact with it.

Scans also can work with live text. Simply long-press the text to bring up the popup menu. Unique to scans, is the option to Highlight. You get five colours, underline and strikeout options for your selected text. Underline and strikeout also highlight the text. To remove a highlight, tap on it and go to (forward arrow) Remove. You can also choose to Add Note if you have any comments about the annotation you just made. Tapping on it simply opens it in a popup window. It’s difficult to tap on the comment because it is so tiny, but zooming in helps.

Apple Notes

In Apple Notes, live text works on images (tap to open) and videos. When you stop a video, go to the three-dots icon (bottom right corner) and Show Text to activate live text. If you want to interact with the text in your video, you have to open it in full-screen mode. That will allow you to select some text for the popup menu to show up.

Instead of typing out text, you can extract it using live text. Tap the camera icon (bottom toolbar) and Scan Text. The app will detect text that you can add to your notes. Tap Insert to add all the text the camera has just picked up. When you want to add specific text, tap the live text icon (bottom right corner), select the text you want, and Insert to add it to Apple Notes.

In any text field, you can scan text instead of typing it. In Messages, for example, tap the cursor to bring up the popup menu. Tap AutoFill and choose Scan Text. You can do this in most apps where you need to type (Mail, Safari, WhatsApp, etc). 


In iOS 17, you can create a sticker from your photos using the Photos or Messages app. Your stickers can either be from simple photos or live ones. Choose a photo you want to create a sticker from > long-press it to bring up the popup menu > go to Add Sticker and the app adds the new sticker to your collection, with a popup menu that had options for you to:

  • Rearrange the stickers in your collection by simply dragging them around.
  • Add Effect from five options available, Original, Outline, Comic, Puffy and Shiny.
  • Delete the sticker. If the popup menu doesn’t automatically appear, you can bring it up by simply long-pressing the sticker you want to edit.

In this public beta, Live photos are still very difficult to make stickers out of. So we’ll cover them when iOS 17 is less buggy.

In Messages, you can create stickers while chatting in the app, tap the plus icon (bottom left corner) > go to Stickers > then the plus icon (under your custom sticker collection) > choose a photo from your Photos library > Add Sticker to add it to your stickers collection and it has the same popup menu options to Rearrange, Add Effect or Delete.

To use your stickers, you can tap on it, add a comment or message and then send it. You can also drag and drop the sticker to a specific message. To resize and rotate, use the pinching gesture before dropping it onto a message. A single message can have multiple stickers. 

Emojis, and memojis can also behave as stickers now, in iOS 17. Some apps come with stickers that you can find on the sticker collection toolbar. You can edit to rearrange them, or get more stickers from App Store. 

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