Microsoft is overhauling its Snipping Tool and Photos app with useful features for copying text from screenshots and adding background blur to photos. Windows Insiders in the Canary and Dev Channels now have access to updated versions of the Snipping Tool and Photos apps for Windows 11.
The test version of the Snipping Tool now has a copy text feature that can detect text in screenshots and allow you to share the text in apps. It’s similar to the copy text from images feature found on modern Android phones or iOS devices, but Microsoft has added a feature that allows you to automatically redact and hide emails and phone numbers from images. You can also pick the text you want to redact before sharing a screenshot.
This Snipping Tool update also pairs well with an update to the Phone Link app, which will now display a notification when an Android mobile device has captured a photo. You can quickly pull that photo into Snipping Tool, and if it has text, then you can copy the text easily.
Microsoft’s photo-related features in Windows 11 also extend into the main Windows Photos app. Canary and Dev Channel testers can now test the updated Photos app that includes background blur, the ability to search for content in OneDrive photos, location search, and support for Samsung and Google motion photos.
Background blur will automatically find the background in a photo and highlight the subject and blur out the background. You can customize the intensity of the blur or even change the areas that get blurred out.
Content search for OneDrive photos allows you to search for photos based on things like finding images that include a car or perhaps your latest vacation photos. OneDrive on the web has a similar feature, so it’s nice to see this will soon be part of the Windows Photos app. Location search also makes it easy to find photos taken in a particular area.
Microsoft has started testing these Photos, Phone Link, and Snipping Tool updates with Windows Insiders, which means that regular Windows 11 users will likely have to wait a few months until they’re rolled out more generally. Microsoft is also holding an AI-focused event in New York City next week, where we’re expecting to hear more about AI-powered features for Windows, Office, Surface, Bing, and more. Stay tuned to The Verge for our live blog of all the announcements on September 21st.