Apple's new Live Text feature for iOS 15 requires A12 Bionic chip

Apple Live Text Ios
Apple Live Text Ios (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple introduced a brand new Live Text feature to iOS 15.
  • It can read text in photos, letting you call numbers in photos, get directions, or record information quickly.
  • A clarification in Apple's announcement notes this will only work with iPhones that use the A12 Bionic chip onwards

Apple's highly-touted Live Text feature for iOS 15 will only work with iPhones that use its A12 Bionic chip or better, which means you'll need an iPhone from 2018 onwards to use it.

Apple announced iOS 15 at WWDC 2021 on Monday, with a slew of new software features and updates including Live Text. From Apple:

Live Text uses on-device intelligence to recognize text in a photo and allow users to take action. For example, users can search for and locate the picture of a handwritten family recipe, or capture a phone number from a storefront with the option to place a call. With the power of the Apple Neural Engine, the Camera app can also quickly recognize and copy text in the moment, such as the Wi-Fi password displayed at a local coffee shop. With Visual Look Up, users can learn more about popular art and landmarks around the world, plants, and flowers found in nature, breeds of pets, and even find books.

Live Text can also be used to sort photos by location, scene, people, objects, and more by reading the text in your photos. Whilst iOS 15 is available for every iPhone dating back to the iPhone 6S and SE, unfortunately, not all of its features made the cut. In a disclaimer regarding Live Text Apple's website states:

Available on iPhone with A12 Bionic and later

Apple's A12 Bionic chip debuted in 2018 in the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR. It means you'll need one of these iPhones or later to use the feature. Of course, users of the current offering of best iPhones such as the iPhone 12 will have no issues.

Visual Look Up Ios

Visual Look Up Ios (Image credit: Apple)

The same is true of Apple's new Visual Look Up feature, which lets you take photos of objects and scenes to get more information about them. Also limited to iPhones running the A12 Bionic chip is Apple's new city experience within the Maps app. Apple revealed updates to navigation that brings new details for things like landmarks, trees, buildings, and roads:

Explore cities with unprecedented detail for roads, neighborhoods, trees, buildings, and more. Visit amazing 3D landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge in both the day and dark mode maps

Apple again confirms on its website this final feature is only available on iPhones with the A12 Bionic chip. It also states that support for CarPlay will be coming for this particular feature later this year.

The new iOS 15 beta is available for developers to download now, and you can read about all the biggest iOS 15 news here.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9