Your iPhone can explain the warning lights on your dash with iOS 17

iOS 17 visual lookup screenshots
(Image credit: Reddit / u/yahlover)

When Apple announced the iOS 17 software update for your iPhone at WWDC, it didn't have a lot of time to do it. Everything was condensed to make space for the Vision Pro headset announcement, which means we're still learning about what the iOS 17 update has to offer.

With developers now able to download and test the iOS 17 beta, some are sharing details about what they're finding while using it. And one new feature could be a real boon for people who need to know what that symbol in their car means.

Car buttons and error symbols are notoriously difficult to figure out at times, but no more. Thanks to the power of Visual Lookup, iOS 17 has the answers.

Apple car symbols

Visual Lookup is a feature that lets people point their iPhone's camera at various things and then have it identify whatever it's looking at. Now, one Reddit user notes that this feature will extend to in-car symbols when iOS 17 ships this fall.

In the example provided, an iPhone was able to identify the hazard warning button on the Reddit user's car, while it also picked up the windscreen demisting and ventilation buttons as well.

This could of course come in handy the next time your car's dashboard shows a new warning light — saving you the time and effort of trying to find the car's manual that you haven't seen in years.

Apple's iOS 17 is of course now in the hands of developers, but it won't ship to the public until this fall — likely in or around the first couple of weeks of September.

September is also when we expect Apple to announce its best iPhones yet, the iPhone 15 lineup. Updated Apple Watches are also likely to be shown off at the same time, too.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • Annie_M
    This will be very helpful! I hate pulling out my owner's manuals, which are so huge and voluminous to look up what a symbol means.
    Reply
  • Lee_Bo
    Oh I can see this now.

    “I was driving down the road and this light came on my dash, so got out my phone to see what it was……..and I never saw that tree.”
    Reply
  • Wotchered
    They’re pretty universal if it’s about warning light/ikons. And I don’t know if any motor mfr is still using the old “count the blinks” interior light codes.
    Reply
  • EdwinG
    Wotchered said:
    They’re pretty universal if it’s about warning light/ikons. And I don’t know if any motor mfr is still using the old “count the blinks” interior light codes.
    Count the what now?

    Both my old and current cars use dashboard lights. The current car even provides a written description with what’s wrong with it.
    Reply
  • Annie_M
    Lee_Bo said:
    Oh I can see this now.

    “I was driving down the road and this light came on my dash, so got out my phone to see what it was……..and I never saw that tree.”
    Yep!!! And why many states now have some form of distracted driving laws.
    Reply
  • Wotchered
    Ed7789 said:
    Count the what now?

    Both my old and current cars use dashboard lights. The current car even provides a written description with what’s wrong with it.

    almost everything uses dashboard lights/ikons which are either red or amber and some blink,or flash if you prefer, indicating particular areas or urgencies. Other marques use the interior overhead light to blink a certain number of times to indicate a code. Rather like the codes OBD 2 uses. If I remember rightly Nissan was the first mfr that I saw this in (40 years ago ?) and as I said, I don’t know if this is still done. A camera,counting app would have been very useful. Also for Buoy identification in the English Channel !!
    Reply
  • EdwinG
    Wotchered said:
    almost everything uses dashboard lights/ikons which are either red or amber and some blink,or flash if you prefer, indicating particular areas or urgencies. Other marques use the interior overhead light to blink a certain number of times to indicate a code. Rather like the codes OBD 2 uses. If I remember rightly Nissan was the first mfr that I saw this in (40 years ago ?) and as I said, I don’t know if this is still done. A camera,counting app would have been very useful.

    I believe they moved from indoor overhead light blinking to ODB2 in all North American cars, as that port is just required by regulation. However, I have no reliable way of confirming that.
    Wotchered said:
    Also for Buoy identification in the English Channel !!
    Same for the St. Lawrence Seaway.

    And here’s an app idea. Visual identification of maritime navigation aids (buoys, lighthouses, etc.)
    Reply
  • Mars20
    Drivers should know the symbols on their dashboard and should familiarise themselves with any non- standard ones when they acquire a new car.
    Reply
  • Lee_Bo
    Mars20 said:
    Drivers should know the symbols on their dashboard and should familiarise themselves with any non- standard ones when they acquire a new car.

    They should also know how to use turn signals and come to complete stops at stop signs…….but……..
    Reply
  • Ledsteplin
    "But officer, I was only looking to see what that warning light was!"
    Reply