How to Use Visual Lookup in Photos in iOS 15

How to identify landmarks, animals, plants, and more

What to Know

  • Visual Lookup is a visual search engine that can identify things in your photos.
  • Tap the info (i) icon when viewing a picture in the Photos app, then tap the small icon that appears on the screen.
  • Visual Lookup requires iOS 15 or newer to work, and it doesn’t work in all regions.

This article explains how to use the Visual Lookup iOS 15 feature, including useful and fun things that you can do with this feature. Visual Lookup requires iOS 15 or newer and the A12 Bionic chip or newer.

How Do I Use Visual Lookup in iOS 15?

Visual Lookup is a tool built into the Photos app, so you access it through Photos. It’s accessed the same way that you access photo information and EXIF metadata. The difference is that if Visual Lookup information is available for a photo, the info icon will have sparkly stars on it.

Here’s how to use Visual Lookup in iOS 15:

  1. Open the Photos app.

  2. Tap a photo.

  3. Tap the info icon (i).

    If the info icon doesn’t have sparkly stars on it, Visual Lookup isn’t available for that photo.

  4. Tap the Visual Lookup icon on the photo.

    iOS 15 Photos app with plant photo, information icon, and Visual Lookup icon highlighted

    The appearance of the Visual Lookup icon will vary depending on the contents of your photo. For example, animal photos have a paw icon, and plants have a leaf icon.

  5. Swipe up on the Results pop-up.

  6. Tap a result in Siri Knowledge for more information or a web image to see similar photos on the internet.

    Visual Lookup Results page swiped up with an entry selected

What Is Visual Lookup on iOS 15, and What Can I Use it for?

Visual Lookup is a visual search tool that leverages on-device machine learning. That means it’s capable of analyzing the photos on your phone, determining the subject matter, and providing you with additional information. It’s similar to Google Lens, but it runs right on your phone and can identify things even if you aren’t connected to the internet.

In addition to just recognizing the contents of a photo and telling you what it sees, Visual Search can also provide additional information. That feature does require a connection to the internet, as it pulls up Siri Knowledge, similar images from the web, and other information that isn’t on your phone.

Visual Lookup can identify animals, landmarks, plants, books, art, and a variety of other objects. If you see something you’d like to know more about, you can take a picture of it, use Visual Lookup, and learn more.

For example, if you see an intriguing plant, you can snap a photo and then use Visual Lookup to find its species. If you’re on vacation and want more information about a landmark, take a picture, use Visual Lookup, and you can find out its name and other information. Or if you’re at a friend’s house and see a book on their table or art on their wall, snap a picture, use Visual Lookup, and impress them with your sudden expertise.

Why Is Visual Lookup Not Working?

Visual Lookup doesn’t work with everything, but features like this that rely on machine learning get better over time. If you see the Visual Lookup option on some of your photos, but not all, it probably just can’t tell what’s in some of the pictures. Try taking another shot with the subject centered and in focus, as that can help. It’s also possible for Visual Lookup to get stuck. If it isn’t showing up on any of your new photos, force close the Photos app and try again. If that doesn’t work, restart your iPhone and try again.

If Visual Lookup doesn’t work with any of your photos, make sure that your version of the Photos app supports it. This feature is only available in iOS 15 and newer, so it won’t work if you have an older version of the operating system. It also requires the A12 Bionic chip or later, so if your phone or iPad has an older chip, you won’t be able to use the feature.

  • How do I search by image on on iPhone?

    To search using an image from your search results, go to Google Images in the Google app, Chrome app, or Safari app and search for an image. Tap the image you're interested in, then tap Visually Search This Image.

  • How do I identify faces on an iPhone?

    To find photos of a particular person, open the Photos app on your iPhone, tap the Album tab, then tap the album labeled People. Tap someone to see all the photos in which they appear. To add someone to your People album, find a photo of them and swipe up to see photo details. Under People, tap a face, then tap Add Name.

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