How to use the intelligence features in iOS 16 to boost productivity and learning

Apple packed smart features into iOS 16 to enable translation from videos, copy the subject of a photo and remove the background, and copy text from a video.

Image: Farknot Architect/Adobe Stock

A few years ago, Apple started using local machine learning in iOS to improve the user experience. It started simply with photos, but now machine learning is a mainstay in iOS and can help boost productivity at every turn. iOS 16 extends iOS’s machine learning capabilities with the ability to copy text from a video, perform quick text actions from photos and videos, and allow you to easily copy a photo’s subject and remove the background, creating an easy alpha layer .

We’ll go through these three new smart features in iOS 16, find out how to use them, and show you all the ways you can use these features to boost your productivity and more.

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All features listed below only work on iPhones with an A12 Bionic processor or higher, and the translation and text features are only available in the following languages: English, Chinese, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Ukrainian Text .

How to copy subject of photo without background on iOS 16

One of the coolest features in iOS 16 was the ability to separate a photo’s subject from the photo, creating an instant alpha of the subject. This removes the background from the photo, leaving you with a perfectly cropped photo subject that you can easily paste into a document, iMessage, or anywhere else (Figure A).

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Figure A

Image: apple. Copying the foreground subject from an image and removing the background is possible in iOS 16 thanks to new machine learning capabilities.

This feature works on iPhone with A12 Bionic and above and can be accomplished by following these steps in the Photos app:

  1. Tap and hold the subject of the photo until an outline appears around it.
  2. Tap the copy or share option, or drag and drop the background-removed photo to another app on your device.

This works not only in Photos, but soon also in Screenshot Utility, QuickLook, Safari and other apps. This feature saves a lot of time compared to opening the photo in an image editing program and removing the background manually.

How to copy text from a video on iOS 16

iOS 15 introduced Live Text, which allows you to copy text from a photo or search your photo library using text that may be in a photo (Figure B). Apple expands this feature in iOS 16 by allowing you to pause a video and also copy text from it.

Figure B

Image: apple. Copying text from a video works by pausing the video and then selecting the text.

It works like this:

  1. Start playing a video.
  2. Pause the video at a point where there is text in the frame that you want to copy.
  3. Select the text, copy and paste it where you want to share.

This feature is great for online learning environments where students may need to copy and paste an example into a document or other file.

How to perform text actions from Live Text on iOS 16

Live Text has been around for two iterations of iOS, so Apple has started developing additional functionality around the Live Text feature, namely the ability to perform actions on text from a photo or paused video frame (figure C).

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Figure C

Image: apple. Easily translate text, convert currencies and more with Live Text in iOS 16.

When you select text in a photo or paused video, you now have the option to perform the following actions on the text:

  • Call a phone number.
  • Visit a site.
  • Convert a currency.
  • Translate languages ​​(from and to these available languages: English, Chinese, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Ukrainian.

You can do this by selecting the text from the photo or video and then choosing one of the quick actions that appear. This works in the Camera app, Photos app, QuickLook, and iOS video player.

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