If you have thousands of photos and videos on your iPhone or iPad, finding a particular one can be a challenge.

Luckily, the built-in Photos app offers some incredibly useful search tools. As long as you can remember where or when a photo or video was taken, the Photos app can help narrow down your search quickly. And if you've tagged Faces in Photos for OS X, you can even search for people, too! As long as you remember something about the picture or video in question, odds are the Photos app can help you track it down.

The search feature inside the Photos app can understand certain contexts like year, faces, photos taken nearby, a specific location or place, and much more. Just keep in mind that much of this functionality depends on location information and face tagging: If you have location sharing turned off for the camera, some pictures and videos may not show up. This can also happen if you took them with a camera that didn't support location tagging, such as a DSLR. If you want to turn location information on going forward, you can do so by following our guide:

To search for people in photos, you need to have tagged them using the Faces feature in Photos for OS X on your Mac. If you have Photos for Mac but aren't sure how to tag faces, we have a guide on that, too:

How to quickly search for photos and videos on iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on Photos or Albums in the bottom navigation.
  3. Tap on the Search button in the top menu.

    How to search for pictures and videos in Photos for iPhone and iPad
  4. Type in a location, date range, specific place, or person's name. For example, you can type things like "nearby," a specific location (like "Paris" or "Golden Gate Bridge"), or even a specific month or other timeframe.
  5. Tap on the correct search result to narrow down your results. You'll see how many photos meet the search term to the right of the search.
  6. The Photos app will instantly take you to photos and videos tagged with that criteria.

    How to search for pictures and videos in Photos for iPhone and iPad