How to use Visual Look Up on iPhone and iPad

Iphone 13 Pro Photos Shared Album Activity Hero
Iphone 13 Pro Photos Shared Album Activity Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

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:

If you are using an older model that is not listed, then you may want to consider upgrading to the best iPhone and best new iPad — Visual Look Up is a very nice feature to have.

How to use Visual Look Up in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15

  1. Launch Photos on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Look for a photo that has sparkly stars on the "i" button.
  3. Tap the "i" button when it has the sparkly stars on it.

How to use Visual Look Up on iPhone by showing: Launch Photos, find a photo with something you want to look up, look for the sparkly stars on the info button (Image credit: iMore)
  1. 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.
  2. Tap the Visual Look Up button.
  3. It should bring up results using Siri Knowledge, and you can browse for similar results on the web.

How to use Visual Look Up on iPhone by showing: Tap the Visual Look Up icon on a photo to bring up Siri results (Image credit: iMore)

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.

Another trick your best iPhone picked up in iOS 15 is the ability to read text via the camera or off of photos — it's called Live Text. Learning how to use Live text can be super handy.

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.