Apple introduced the ability to convert units and currencies through Spotlight Search in iOS 15. Thus, eliminating the need to use third-party conversion apps for trivial currency and unit conversions.

convert units and currencies on iphone in ios 16

A year later, with the iOS 16 update, it’s now taken this one step further and extended the functionality to every part of the system where you can select text. This means you can now easily convert currencies and units appearing as inline text inside any app—built-in or third-party—automatically without having to copy-paste them anywhere, like before.

Follow along as we demonstrate how to use the built-in converter in iOS 16 to convert units and currencies on your iPhone quickly.

What Units Can the Built-In Converter in iOS 16 Convert?

As of iOS 16.0, Apple currently lets you convert the following units through the built-in converter on your iPhone:

  • Distance
  • Time
  • Temperature
  • Weight
  • Volume
  • Currency

How to Convert Units and Currencies on iPhone in iOS 16

Since the new built-in unit converter is available as part of the iOS 16 update, make sure you’re running iOS 16 on your iPhone. Head over to Settings > General > Software Update, to find the update.

Once the device’s updated, follow these steps to use the built-in converter for unit/currency conversion:

  1. Open the app with the text that contains the unit or currency you want to convert to your region’s equivalent.
  2. Tap and long press on the unit or currency you wish to convert. In some apps, you’ll find certain units, like the time zones, highlighted or underlined. This is to make selecting and converting them easier.
    converting in-line units in ios 16
  3. When you get a pop-up upon selecting the unit/currency, tap the right arrow key in the pop-up until you see the unit/currency converted to your region’s currency or unit.
    in-line unit conversion options

To give you an example of how the conversion works, let’s say you get a message from someone that contains “£1000” in the text. If you live in the US, selecting and tapping £1000 will show you its equivalent in USD in the pop-up, whereas if you’re in India, it will translate to your local currency, i.e., INR.

in-line currency conversion in ios 16

How to Automatically Convert Units and Currencies on iPhone Using the Camera App

Being able to convert units or currencies to your region’s equivalent within any app is really handy. Still, there’ll be times when you may want to convert a unit or currency displayed at a cafe or on a billboard.

For such scenarios, Apple lets you use the Camera app to perform real-time currency and unit conversions. It basically uses Live Text, which gives you an icon that extracts text from images and gives you a bunch of options to perform on the same.

Here’s how to convert units/currencies using the Camera app in iOS 16:

  1. Open the Camera app on your iPhone.
  2. Point your device to the text containing the unit or currency you want to convert and try bringing the unit/currency (with number and symbol) inside the yellow square brackets.
  3. Tap on the text on your phone’s screen if you’re experiencing issues focusing on it.
  4. When the Camera app shows the Live Text icon, click on it, and it will automatically identify the text.
  5. Select the unit/currency you want to convert, and you’ll see its equivalent in your region displayed on the screen.
    converting currency using iphone's camera app

In some cases, the converted units will also show you some additional options. For instance, if you convert a time from one timezone to another, tapping on the time again will give you the option to create an event. It’s there to help you quickly perform various actions on the selected text right when you choose it.

Unit and Currency Conversion on iPhone Simplified

Similarly to some of the minor features and add-ons found in iOS 16, the addition of a built-in converter, which works almost everywhere in iOS, is quite useful. With it, you can easily convert most units and currencies you come across in any app on your iPhone and automatically see its equivalent in your region with just a few simple clicks.

Compared to previous iOS versions, which required you to install and use third-party conversion apps, the built-in converter offers a faster, more efficient, and yet accurate way of converting units and currencies on the iPhone.

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