Search for text in your photos

ANDROID & iOS

Scanners are space hogs and text-recognition software can be expensive. So, we have good news: you can now photograph pages from books. And magazines and, using Google Photos ( Back up a lifetime of photos ), extract any text they contain. The same trick works for screenshots.

Search for text in your photos

Open Google Photos, tap the picture you want to work with, then tap the Google Lens icon. (an incomplete rounded square with a dot at its center. Which is third icon from the left along the toolbar at the foot of the screen).

Tap on the text you want to extract and drag your finger across it until it’s all selected. And Google Photos will give you the option to copy, translate or share it. (see screenshot below left), or use it as the basis of a Google search.

For best results, if you’re using text split into columns (as on this page, for example) crop the image first so that the frame contains just a single column. To do this, tap the second icon, which looks like a graphic equalizer (three slider controls), then use the crop tool at the end of the toolbar to isolate the relevant parts.

Google’s Lens technology also pops up in Assistant, where you can use it to perform general searches without typing. Open Assistant by long-pressing the on-screen Home button. Then tap the same Lens icon as you used in Photos and take a picture. Google identifies the primary subject, then searches the web for similar results. If it can’t isolate the subject without assistance, perhaps because it’s sitting against a cluttered background. It will first ask you to use the crop tool to focus in on it.

Schedule your messages in Gmail

ANDROID & lOS

Schedule your messages in Gmail

To do so, compose your email as usual, not forgetting the subject and address. Then instead of tapping the send icon, tap the three dots at the top of the screen. And select ‘Schedule send’ in the menu. Gmail suggests three popular times, including ‘Tomorrow morning’ and ‘Tomorrow afternoon’ ( see screenshot below right ). But, if none suits you, tapping Tick date & time lets you specify to the minute when you want it sent. Even if it’s years into the future.

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you could do today – even if that’s sending a time-sensitive email. Whether it’s a family member’s birthday falling when you’re away or an important announcement. That you want to have in everyone’s inbox first thing in the morning. The Gmail apps for Android and iOS now let you write an email whenever is most convenient. And postpone its dispatch until the appropriate time.

The email is stored on Google’s servers Until it’s time to send. So it will still go if your phone is switched off. Out of network range, or has been wiped and sold. To edit a delayed email before it disappears, tap the three bars at the top left of the Gmail app. Followed by Drafts, where you’ll find it waiting for you.

If you no longer have your phone, you can also access a delayed email through your PC browser. Log into your Google account at www.gmail.com. And, tap Drafts or Scheduled in the sidebar, as the email will appear in both. To schedule an email sent via Gmail’s online interface, simply create one in the usual way. And click the down arrow on the end of the Send button to pop up a ‘Schedule send’ option.

Use dark mode in mobile Outlook…eventually

ANDROID & IOS

Windows and mac-OS both have a dark mode. Now as Microsoft and Apple recognize that it can be easier on the eye and. If you’re working late at night, should have a less disruptive effect on your sleep. With IOS 13, due out this autumn. Dark mode is also coming to IPhone and iPad, and app developers are getting ready.

Microsoft started rolling out an optional dark mode interface for Outlook on both Android and iOS – but only gradually. At present, it’s not available on any of our devices. But, when it appears on yours, enable it through the app preferences.

On iOS, you’ll find these by opening the iOS Settings app then tapping Outlook. Which appears in the alphabetical list of apps below the general system settings. On Android, tap the three bars at the top of the Outlook screen. Followed by the cog icon in the sidebar. Outlook on Android will also automatically switch to dark mode when you enable the battery saver.

Silence Hey Google’s responses

ANDROID

Voice assistants are indiscrete. You ask them a question and they broadcast the answer to everyone within earshot. However personal or private it might be – but maybe not for much longer.

Google has implemented a new silent mode on Android phones for its Assistant service. Which displays its responses as text unless you’re using a hands-free device. This is sensible, as going hands-free could mean you’re driving. In which case you need to keep your eyes on the road, not the screen.

Silence Hey Google's responses

Long-press the on-screen Home button until Assistant appears, then tap the inbox icon to the left of the Assistant toolbar. Now tap your account icon in the top-right corner of the screen, followed by Assistant. Scroll to the bottom of the screen, tap Phone in the ‘Assistant devices’ section, then ‘Speech output’. The default option is On, which authorizes it to speak answers on every occasion; to change it, tap ‘Hands-free only’ ( see screenshot below left ).

If this strikes you as a half-way house, you can likewise opt in to text-only input by tapping ‘Preferred input’. Immediately above the ‘Speech output’ option and selecting Keyboard from the two options (the other being Voice).

BEST NEW APPS

Mensa IQ Check

Search for text in your photos

£1.99

To join Mensa you need an IQ of at least 131. Would you qualify? It turns out we probably wouldn’t, as our score in the Mensa IQ Check was a paltry 108. Still, it was fun. There are two types of test to choose from: quick, comprising 15 questions and a 15-minute Omit; and full, which is 60 in 60 minutes.

Stellarium Mobile Free

Stellarium Mobile Free

Free

Give it access to your location and Stellarium will map out and name all of the night sky visible in your locality. The level of detail is stunning, and it only gets better as you zoom in. Overlays show different constellations and you can switch to a red mode, which reduces screen glare so you won’t be blinded when looking back and forth between your phone and the real stars.

NeuralCam

NeuralCam

£2.99

This night-mode camera app will be a godsend if you often snap pictures, perhaps wildlife. Early in the morning or want to capture a family garden party in the evening. Low-light photos often come out grainy and blurred. Neural Cam resolves this by taking several pictures and overlaying them to extract maximum detail and brightness.

For more the Best New Apps: What you should install this fortnight ?

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