Windows 11 gets another feature that'll please Android smartphone owners

Phone Link app in Windows 11 (and Windows 10) has got a 'Scan Text' option that uses OCR to copy text from photos sent over from your Android handset.

1 minute & 38 seconds read time

Windows 11's Phone Link app has been worked on quite extensively by Microsoft of late, so it's clear the company wants to tie Android smartphones (and iOS devices) more tightly into its desktop OS - and another useful feature just popped up in this regard.

Microsoft wants much tighter integration of your phone into Windows 11 (Image Credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft wants much tighter integration of your phone into Windows 11 (Image Credit: Microsoft)

Phone Link recently got the ability to swiftly pipe photos from your smartphone across to your Windows 11 desktop, and the new trick is the ability to copy text from those photos.

The 'Scan Text' option in the Phone Link app is OCR (Optical Character Recognition) capable of detecting characters in an image, and copying them out for you. Windows Latest spotted that this functionality has now rolled out to all Windows 11 (and Windows 10 users), where previously it was in testing.

To get the capability, you'll need to update to the latest version of the Phone Link app which is v1.24052.124.0.

There's a catch, mind, which is that right now, it seems that the only supported language is English. The OCR feature will work with other languages, it just may not work well - to the point where it sounds too errant to be useful. Still, presumably Microsoft will develop better support for further languages down the line.

Recently, a much bigger move was spotted in terms of phone integration into Windows 11, namely making Phone Link a Start menu 'companion' - a new idea in testing for a side panel attached to the menu. This panel plays host to widget-style efforts which are akin to the idea of the Live Tiles that used to be in Windows in days gone.

This really would bring your Android device into the heart of Windows 11 if it happens, and we reckon there's a fair chance of that - but maybe not for some time yet. For now, the companion concept for the Start menu remains in testing.

Read more: Using Windows 11 but want Windows 10's File Explorer back? There's a dead easy trick to do that

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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