Microsoft Phone Link Update Allows Text Extraction from Images

Microsoft has released an update for Phone Link that allows users to extract text from images synced from their Android phones. This feature is currently available in Release Preview Insider builds and is expected to roll out to all users soon. The Phone Link, also known as Link to Windows on the phone side, enables users to sync calls, messages, notifications, and images, as well as cast their entire phone to their Windows computer. While the feature also works with iOS devices, it offers limited functionality, only syncing notifications, messages, and calls over Bluetooth.

Text Extraction Feature

The Windows Snipping Tool received a text extraction feature last year, coinciding with the release of image share notifications on Phone Link. This upgrade streamlines the process of extracting text from phone photos, allowing users to do so within the app itself. The latest update, Phone Link 1.24051.91.0, includes this new text extraction feature, which I tested in Insider Preview Build 22635.3646 (Beta Channel).

Testing and Comparison

During testing, I found that the OCR (optical character recognition) on Phone Link was decent but not flawless. It produced more errors compared to text extractors on Samsung and Apple devices when analyzing the same photo of a book page. For longer passages, it may be more efficient to enable cross-device copy and paste, extract the text on your phone, and then send it to your PC through this method.

Overall, the latest update to Microsoft Phone Link introduces a convenient text extraction feature for users to extract text from images on their Android phones. While the OCR performance may not be perfect, it provides a handy tool for quickly retrieving text from photos. Users can look forward to this feature rolling out to all devices in the near future, enhancing the functionality and utility of Phone Link for seamless connectivity between Android phones and Windows computers.


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