TipBITS: Disable Live Text for Easier Selecting in Preview

Originally published at: TipBITS: Disable Live Text for Easier Selecting in Preview - TidBITS

Having trouble dragging selection handles in Preview because Live Text wants you to select text in the image instead? Here’s how to turn off Live Text if necessary.

Can you make a shortcut to turn this on and off easily? Having to go into the System Preferences to turn it on and off will be a pain.

Initially, I would have thought the same, but realistically, I don’t notice when it’s off, so that’s fine. And at this point in Monterey’s evolution, I mostly don’t notice when it’s on, either, so it’s not worth trying to automate.

I use Preview a great deal. My experience with Live Text is it requires I start very near the first letter for it to select as text. Just outside that distance and it provides the selection handles. Pretty consistently for me.

My face is red. When I read about new features in macOS, I’m accustomed to assuming they only really apply to newer model Macs. I was quite surprised to find my 2017 iMac supports Live Text.

It looks like you can turn this on and off within Preview. In its Tools menu, you can choose Automatic, Text, or Rectangular Selections. Just discovered this after reading your article. Thanx for the heads up!

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The location in System Prefs is a bit weird, isn’t it?
Why would they put it under Language & Region settings.

I get this Live Text may be system-wide, rather than app-specific. But still, a very odd location for the system-wide setting.

OMG. I never even noticed that change from the previous version of Preview, since I don’t use the menus much at this point, just the toolbar and keyboard shortcuts. But you’re absolutely right, and that addresses the entire point of the article. Time for a followup.


I think it’s because Live Text is dependent on what language you’ve selected. It’s only available for a small number of languages.


Thank you for this article. It applies to more than just Preview; it also applies to Photos.

I’m finding it impossible to add faces in Photos. When I click “Add Faces” in a picture’s Info windoid, it is impossible to select and move the added loop for the face because there is text in the middle of the photo where the loop is appears.

The loop is selectable after turning off Live Text.