Find Books Quickly or Other Named Items on Shelves

You can take advantage of Apple’s Live Text feature in Photos to catalog books, boxes, or any other items with text names. Think of it as a lazy person’s ad hoc database.

June 17, 2024

If you have trouble finding particular items across multiple shelves of books, labeled boxes, or anything else that’s clearly identified with a text name, take carefully composed photos that capture all the titles without glare. Later, you can search for any text in those photos to find them—tap the Search button in Photos on the iPhone or iPad, or use the Search field in Photos on the Mac. Photos highlights the search term on the found photo. (If Photos on the Mac doesn’t surface an expected photo, try again on your iPhone, which seems to get more hits on harder-to-read text.) This capability comes courtesy of Apple’s Live Text feature, which uses machine learning to identify text in photos. Think of it as the lazy person’s database!

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