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Phone Link for Windows will let you copy text from your Android phone's photos

Phone Link is gaining another useful feature if you've got an Android device.

Published onMay 28, 2024

Windows Phone Link icon
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • You’ll soon be able to use Phone Link to copy text from your Android phone’s photos, allowing you to use it in Windows 11.
  • This should be faster than using the Snipping Tool’s text functionality.
  • The feature is only available in Windows 11 preview builds right now, but it should be available in stable Windows 11 soon.

Windows recently gained optical character recognition (OCR) tech via the Snipping Tool, allowing you to grab text from images and paste it into the app of your choosing. What if you want to grab text from your phone photos and use it on your computer, though? Well, you could copy those photos to your PC first, or you could use this new Phone Link feature.

Windows Central spotted OCR functionality in the Phone Link app (h/t: The Verge) on Windows 11. The feature shows up as a “text” icon when viewing your phone’s snaps in the Photos section of Phone Link. Tapping the icon will initiate character recognition, and you can then select specific text, highlight all text, or copy all text.

It’s worth noting that this feature is restricted to users in the Release Preview channel right now. Indeed, I’m not able to see this feature on my stable Windows 11 laptop.

Microsoft already offers similar functionality in the Snipping Tool, letting you open any image file and scan for text with the relevant button. But the image has to be locally accessible, so you’ll need to plug in your phone or have the photos saved on your PC. Meanwhile, this new approach means you only need your phone connected to your PC via Phone Link. So here’s hoping we see this new OCR feature rolling out to all users sooner rather than later.

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