How to identify plants and animals with your iPhone camera ::

Each new generation of iPhone has more features than the average consumer will typically use. We have the equivalent of a computer, a telephone and a camera in the palms of our hands and somehow manages to only scratch the surface of what it offers.

In addition to the countless apps available to iPhone users to organize their days, entertain themselves, develop their brains and more, did you know that there are incredible built-in features just waiting to be found? One of the latest updates to Apple’s operating system (iOS 15) allows users to identify plants and animals simply by taking a photo!


This identification function, officially known as Visual Look Up, is available on any iPhone that can install iOS 15 and not only on the latest model, which is the iPhone 13. To see the operating system from your iPhone, follow these simple steps:

  1. Open Settings (the gear icon).
  2. Scroll to General menu and press it.
  3. Press the About menu.
  4. You should see a software version listed in this menu. If your iOS version is lower than 15, return to the General menu and tap Software Update.
  5. Once in the software update, the iPhone should automatically display a screen for you to update your iOS version (see photo below). Just tap download and install, follow the instructions, and your iPhone will receive the update.

Marie Rossiter/The simplest

How to Use Visual Look Up to Identify Plants and Animals

Once your iPhone is updated to iOS 15, using Visual Look Up to identify plants and animals (as well as artwork and other objects) is a simple two-step process that simply involves taking a photo of what you want to identify first.

It’s a handy tool to have when you’re on the go. I know that on my daily walks I often see neighbors who have beautiful plants and flowers in bloom. Too many times I’ve wanted to know what exactly they are so I can get some for my own yard, but I’ve never figured out how to research the information without ringing their doorbell. Now the iPhone can do all the research for me. All I have to do is take a picture of something and all the information I could want is right at my fingertips.

“Swipe up or tap the info button on any photo to highlight recognized objects and scenes”, according to Apple. “Learn about folk art and landmarks around the world, plants and flowers in nature, books and pet breeds.”

Here’s how to use Visual Look Up on your iPhone:

  1. Take a picture of the item you want to identify or get more information.
  2. Open your Pictures app and find the image.
  3. Look at the bottom of the photo for the information button, which looks like a circled “i” with a few stars on it (see the screenshot below with the red circle highlighted).

Marie Rossiter/The simplest

  • Press the information button to open the data on the photo.
  • The data screen will have a Look for menu displayed just below the image. Press this menu.

Marie Rossiter/The simplest

  • Within seconds, Siri will display the closest information it can find about the object in the photo. You can see that my phone has identified the plant in this photo as a summer lilac.

Marie Rossiter/The simplest

The Visual Look Up function will also display similar images found on the Internet and give you detailed information about the object to satisfy your curiosity.

Now, when you take all those photos for your camera roll, you can learn more about the world they capture by tapping and swiping the screen. Isn’t technology amazing?

This story originally appeared on The simplest. Check The simplest for additional stories.