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Microsoft Phone Link will soon let you extract text from images

Microsoft is testing a new feature in its Phone Link app. The PC app will soon allow users to extract text from images that are stored on your Android Phone.

The feature uses optical character recognition (OCR), to scan for text in images and saves it to the clipboard. You can then paste it into a text editor or another app of your choice. As you may know, the OCR option is already available in Windows 11's Snipping tool, it was added to the app last year. It is particularly handy when you take a screenshot of an image, and want to copy the text content in the picture.

Phone Link will let you copy text from images

The Phone Link app is useful for interacting with notifications and messages that you receive on your mobile phone. The addition of the OCR feature to the Phone Link will likely make it even more useful, as it can be used to copy content quickly from photos that you shot with your phone's camera, or from screenshots that you took, or even from images that you downloaded. This can be handy if you want to edit some information, or save something on your PC.

Windows Central reports that the OCR feature is now available for users in the Release Preview Channel of the Windows Insider Program. Switch to the Photos tab in the Phone Link app, and click on the icon that says "Text". This will automatically highlight the text within an image, you will be able to select the text manually, or copy all the text from the image. The feature only works with Android phones at the moment.

Reports say that users will need to use Phone Link version 1.24051.91.0 to access the new option. I tried downloading the latest version of the app from, but I couldn't get the OCR feature to show up in the app. If you are on the Release Preview Channel of Windows 11, you can download the Phone Link app to see how the OCR text capture works.

Apple's OCR is quite brilliant too, it captures the text in images with incredible accuracy. I use it with different types of images, from signs, to menus at restaurants, receipts, and documents. Text capture is available on iOS, iPadOS, and is also supported on macOS in the Preview app. Google Lens is the most popular OCR tool for Android users, though Samsung does offer a tool of its own for its Galaxy phones. Windows users who are not interested in the Phone Link app, but want the OCR feature can use the Snipping Tool, or if you want something more advanced, you may want to consider using the open source screenshot tool, ShareX, which comes with an arsenal of tools including an OCR tool, though it does not work offline.

In case you missed it, Microsoft recently released Windows 11 version 24H2 to the Release Preview Channel. This is otherwise known as the 2024 feature update. It adds a handful of features, but removes the following apps: Cortana, WordPad and Tips. You can read Martin's article to learn more about the changes in the upcoming version. The OCR feature in Phone Link will likely be available for users in Windows 11 24H2.

Which OCR app do you use?

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