How to Convert Photos to Text on your iPhone! OCR iPhone Apps

Published Friday, July 15, 2011 1:13 PM


The camera on my iPhone has got to be one of the most convenient things about it. You can take pictures of things that interest you and upload them to the web or take a picture of a list or recipe so you can make sure to get everything you need at the store. OCR apps, optical character recognition, makes the camera even more handy by allowing you to snap pictures of text and convert them to text.

ImagetoText - Free OCR for iPhone

There are several ways you can get your iPhone to do this for you. A free app quite appropriately named ImagetoText allows you to take a picture, or choose one from your camera roll, and send the text to your email or Evernote account. It works quite well as you can see in the image above. I also like the fact it attempts to create paragraphs and line breaks as this makes reading the text a lot easier. The downside to the app is that you have to send the text to an email or Evernote account. There is no option to simply copy the text, but hey the app is free and actually works. The email arrives in less than a minute anyway so you can copy the text then it arrives.

Prizmo - $9.99 App Store
If you are really into converting physical documents into digital copies you might want to take this whole OCR thing to the next level. Prizmo is a Mac and iPhone application that not only lets you convert images to text but store, organizes, and syncs those digital documents to your computer and mobile devices. The app is optimized for taking pictures of bill, business cards, whiteboards and plain text so that it can carry out specific task depending on the kind of document. When scanning a business card the app allows you to add that contact to your phone’s address book and bill scanning allows you to split the bill by selecting what items a person had automatically adding up the total.

The app also comes with a translation feature allowing you to convert text into another language. That could come in handy when visiting other countries. You can also have the app read the text back the text using synthesized voices. Documents you scan can be sent to Dropbox giving you ability to sync them across your computers and mobile devices. Prizmo for your iPhone will cost you $9.99 but with how well it works and it range of features it’s worth it.
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