How to identify plants, animals, and more in your photos using Visual Look Up on iPhone and iPad

The Visual Look Up feature on your iPhone or iPad can identify plants, dogs, pets, birds, art, popular landmarks, statues, and other objects in your photos and give you more information about them.

This tutorial shows you how to use this handy built-in tool inside various iOS apps and what to do if it doesn’t work.

Visual Look Up on iPhone to know what's in a photo

How to look up what’s in a picture on iPhone and iPad

In Photos app

  1. Go to the Photos app and open a picture.
  2. Swipe up on the screen or tap the detected item info button. It’s the normal info button ⓘ with two stars.
  3. Tap Look Up – Identified category name, and it will open the results page with more information like Siri Knowledge and Similar Web Images.
Use Visual Look Up in Photos app on iPhone

Note: You can also tap the icon on the photo itself. For example, if plants or flowers are identified, you will see a leaf icon, and for pets, you will see a paw icon. Tap it to learn more about it. This is especially helpful if your image has two or more identified objects.

Tap plant icon after tapping detected item info button on iPhone

In Messages

  1. Open an iMessage or MMS conversation.
  2. Tap a picture to open it in full screen.
  3. Tap the info icon with two stars to use Visual Look Up and learn more about the main photo subject.
Use Visual Look Up in Messages app on iPhone

In Safari

  1. Go to any web page.
  2. Touch & hold a photo until a menu pops out and tap Look Up.
  3. In a few seconds, you will see more info about that photo subject.
Look Up in Safari on iPhone

What to do if you’re unable to use Visual Look Up to identify objects on your iPhone

The info icon with two stars won’t appear if iOS has not yet identified that photo or it can’t identify it. Here’s how to fix it.

Make sure you have a supported iPhone or iPad

Visual Look Up is supported on these iPhones or iPads running iOS 15, iPadOS 15.1, and later:

  • iPhone SE (2nd gen and later)
  • iPhone XR and later
  • iPad mini (5th gen) or later
  • iPad (8th gen) or later
  • iPad Air (3rd gen) or later
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (all models)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation) or later

Related: How to know your iPhone name and model number

Visual Look Up is available in some countries

As of now, this feature is available in selected languages in 13 regions. Make sure you’re in one, and if not, try changing your iPhone’s region or language and see if it helps (Settings > General > Language & Region).

Turn on Show in Look Up

  1. Open the iPhone Settings app and tap Siri & Search.
  2. Enable Show in Look Up under the Content From Apple heading.
  3. After this, your device should identify images using the Visual Look Up feature.
Turn on Show in Look Up in iPhone Siri and Search settings

Restart your iPhone

It’s also likely that your iPhone can’t identify objects in a photo because of temporary glitches. Just turn it off and back on to fix such abnormalities.

Waiting with Low Power Mode off may help

If your iPhone is in Low Power Mode, turn it off and wait a while until iOS can identify the object. Force quitting and reopening the Photos app may also help.

Limited capability

Finally, you must know that iOS can only identify a handful of things like animals, flowers, plants, popular landmarks, and such. So, if the above fixes didn’t work, it’s most likely because iPhone can’t understand the main subject of that photo. You can’t do anything in this case except for using tools like Google Image search or Google Lens to identify that photo and learn more about it.

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