There are many improvements to existing features in iOS 15, including FaceTime, Messages, Focus, and more. Some of the brand new features include Live Text and Visual Look Up, which kind of go hand-in-hand with each other. Visual Look Up uses machine learning and intelligence to give users information on various objects, places, animals, flowers and plants, and more in their pictures in the Photos app.
Visual Look Up is a very useful and informative feature that will help many people learn more about what they have photographed. This is going to be particularly handy to have when you take a picture of something because you can't identify it — Visual Look Up will come to your rescue.
Here's how to use Visual Look Up on iPhone and iPad.
What devices can use Visual Look Up?
First thing's first — only some devices will be able to use the Visual Look Up feature, even though iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 are compatible with older devices. The one requirement for Visual Look Up is that the device needs to have at least an A12 Bionic chip, which eliminates older models. In case you missed it, here is the full list of compatible A12 (and later) devices:
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone 12 mini
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone SE (2020)
- iPad Air 3rd generation
- iPad mini 5th generation
- 11-inch iPad Pro (2018 and later)
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2018 and later)
- iPad 8th generation
- iPad Air 4th generation
- iPad Pro (2021)
How to use Visual Look Up in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15
- Launch Photos on your iPhone or iPad.
- Look for a photo that has sparkly stars on the "i" button.
- Tap the "i" button when it has the sparkly stars on it.
- While this brings up the information panel, you should also see a Visual Look Up button on the image itself. This button will have a different icon on it, depending on what it is. For example, if it is an animal, you'll see a paw print.
- Tap the Visual Look Up button.
- It should bring up results using Siri Knowledge, and you can browse for similar results on the web.
This feature will need to go through all of your photos to process and index the results. If you have a lot of photos, this may take a while. I also found that so far, it works best with animals, plants, and some objects. I've had problems getting locations to work — hopefully, this is ironed out in future betas before the final release.
Live text is another useful feature in iOS 15
As long as you have an A12-equipped iPhone or iPad, Visual Look Up is a cool feature that lets you get information on the things that you photograph. It's handy to have when you want to try identifying something or just learn more.
Updated April 2022: With the latest steps.
Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.
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