This iPhone app will help you identify any rock with a photo

Screenshot of Rock Identifier app from the Apple App Store
The Rock Identifier app has a simple interface and is easy to use as soon as you've downloaded it. (Image credit: Apple App Store)
Rock Identifier

The Apple Identifier app logo from the Apple App Store

(Image credit: Apple App Store)

iOS / iPad iOS Free (with a subscription after a 7-day trial)

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If you've ever been to a beach, picked up armfuls of interesting rocks, and wondered what they all are, then you'll be happy to hear there's an app to help you identify them called, quite simply, Rock Identifier

I love how easy this app is to use. Simply snap a photo of a rock and Rock Identifier will work its magic, serving up information about the type of rock it is (or is most likely to be, it isn't perfect), how to pronounce its name, more details about how these types of rocks are formed, images of similar rocks, its chemical properties, uses and much, much more.

Unfortunately, Rock Identifier isn't free. You get a seven-day trial period and then you'll need to sign up for a $29.99/£29.99 per year subscription fee. That sounds expensive in one go, but if you find you get a lot from the app in the first week then it only works out at $2.50/£2.50 a month.

Create your digital rock collection

The fact that this app can put a name to almost any chunk of rock you find is why this makes it an essential tool for my iPhone. However, there are plenty of other cool features in Rock Identifier that'll keep rock and gemstone nerds incredibly happy.

When you first open the app, you'll see a dashboard filled with information about rocks and gems. Tap on any of them and you'll see vast amounts of information, including the price of the most well-known gems, the gems that look like them, how to spot them, how to care for them, and what they're used for. 

There's a selection of articles that dig deeper into these topics, such as, "How to tell if a sapphire is real," as well as a bunch of videos to give you a more detailed look at some of the most popular rocks and gems you're likely to stumble across. You'll also find books and further reading recommendations. Essentially, you now have a mini rock and gem encyclopedia in your pocket, ready to go at any time.

I also really like the fact that you can save any rocks you scan to your collection. A great idea if you can't take all of the rocks you find home. Or, if you can, and have an ever-expanding rock collection, it's nice to have a digital library of them as well to refer back to.


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Becca Caddy

Becca Caddy is a contributor to iMore, as well as a freelance journalist and author. She’s been writing about consumer tech and popular science for more than a decade, covering all kinds of topics, including why robots have eyes and whether we’ll experience the overview effect one day. She’s particularly interested in VR/AR, wearables, digital health, space tech and chatting to experts and academics about the future. She’s contributed to TechRadar, T3, Wired, New Scientist, The Guardian, Inverse and many more. Her first book, Screen Time, came out in January 2021 with Bonnier Books. She loves science-fiction, brutalist architecture, and spending too much time floating through space in virtual reality. Last time she checked, she still holds a Guinness World Record alongside iMore Editor in Chief Gerald Lynch for playing the largest game of Tetris ever made, too.

  • Annie_M
    I was thinking that this might be a cool app to have until I saw the price! My interest level in rocks doesn't justify paying that much!
  • Lee_Bo
    It’s a definite NO from me.

  • Ledsteplin
    Hard no on $50 lifetime or $30 a year. However, I do like rocks. So, if I were to go rock hunting, I might spring for the 1 week for $2.99.
  • Wotchered
    If I needed to know that much, I’d already know.