How to capture text from a video on your Android phone

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One of the cool new features in iOS 16, the latest version of Apple’s OS, is called Live Text, which allows you to quickly capture and use text from both a still photo and, now, a video as well. While Android doesn’t (yet) capture text directly from video, it does capture text from still photos using the handy Google Lens app — and with a little bit of maneuvering, you can use Lens to capture text from a video as well. It may not be quite as quick as Live Text, but it’s mostly painless and works just as well.

Here’s what to do.

  • Create your video on your Android phone.
  • Go to the Photos app and start the video.
  • Pause the video at the point where you want to copy the text.
  • Near the bottom of the video, you’ll see a button labeled Get photos from this video. Tap on it.

Video in Photos app

In the Photos app, pause the video and tap on the Get photos from this video button.

Export frames series just below the video

Choose the still that has the text you want and tap on Export frame.

  • At the bottom of the screen, you’ll now see a collection of stills from the video. If you decide you’re not at the frame you want, you can move the indicator (the vertical line) you see on the stills collection until you get to the frame you want to export. When you’re ready, click the Export frame button just above the series of stills.
  • A pop-up will tell you that your still has been exported to the Camera folder. You can tap on the pop-up to view the photo or go back to the Camera folder in the Photos app and find it there.
  • Either way, once you’re looking at the still from your video, you should see a Copy text button near the bottom of the screen. Tap that, and Lens will pick out the most likely text in the photo and invite you to copy it, search on it, listen to it being narrated, or translate it. If Lens didn’t pick out the correct text, use your finger to highlight the text you want.

Still photo in Photo app

Once you’ve got your still photo, you can select Copy text or the Lens app.

Highlighted text on photo

Lens will guess which text you want to copy (or listen to or translate), but you can highlight different text as well.

  • If the Copy text button didn’t show up, just tap on the Lens app at the bottom of the screen and select Text (also at the bottom of the screen). You can then either choose the Select all button (which will pick up all the text on the screen) or highlight the text in the image you want. You can then copy, search, listen to, or translate it, just the same as if you tapped the Copy text button.
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