How to call a number on a picture without typing it over by hand into the phone app (because it is faster and more convenient that way)?


  • phone number on a piece of paper I hold in my hand (like a business card)
  • on a bill board
  • on a photo stored on my device

For information, I found the following apps that do or promise the sought functionality:


3 Answers 3


Another 3rd party app is the Google App. (I am not affiliated with Google in any way, I have used this with success.)

The Google App has a feature called Google lens. This feature recognizes text and numbers on documents, either with the camera or a stored image.

Merely using the camera has fewer steps than below, point and tap. This should accomplish what the OP needs without too many steps.

Steps for camera roll

If you have the photo in the camera roll:

  • Open the Google App
  • Tap the lens icon

Google Lens

  • Choose the image Icon near the top right:

Image Icon

  • Choose image
  • Tap call if a phone number appears.

Text OCR Google lens

call dialog

  • The google app comes in at whopping 233 MB, but it does work as you describe. If no other better answer arrives, I'll accept this one. Jun 17, 2019 at 18:05
  • 1
    Nice answer! It seems to work pretty well, though I did have to change my phone's language to English for it to show up.
    – grooveplex
    Jun 17, 2019 at 18:11
  • Strange, the Lens icon is not there anymore in the app. I also have a sudden mysterious battery drain, so I'll uninstall the Google app and reinstall it later. Jun 27, 2019 at 14:07

This feature is now implemented in iOS.

When you asked, it wasn’t possible so the best you could do in the past was to ask Siri to dial the number via dictation if you can see the number and speak it.

Some third party apps have image recognition like iOS does in the notes app when you hand write things or when a PDF can be scanned into searchable / copy able text.

One third party app that has a scanner is Excel - you can take a picture of a paper table and it tries to automate the numbers and text that created the printed table.


iOS 15 (finally) has this. In live camera view (in the Camera app) or any stored picture, it can recognize phone numbers (and web addresses etc.) and offers calling it with one tap.

The feature works on iPhone XS and newer. (in other words A12 CPU or newer)


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