Over the next week, we’ll be bringing you a preview of what’s new in Apple’s upcoming iOS 15, for photographers. Stay tuned for more installments!
With iOS 15, you can search for photos on your iPhone by simply typing in a word or phrase in Spotlight. You can also do the same in the Photos app. Here’s how you do it.
Shining the Spotlight on our photos
From your screen, simply swipe right to access to Spotlight. From there, type in some words and see what pops up!
I decided to go for something easy. I typed cars in, and this is what I got. There are indeed cars in every single photo, with one photo even having them in the background.
It also included photos of a yellow Lamborghini crossover and a Fisker hybrid vehicle. Neither of these are mine, as you might guess.
I then did a search for graffiti using Spotlight. This was more specific, but yet again, it produced photos with graffiti from various photo shoots on my iPhone. And it also let me know that graffiti is writing or drawing made on a wall or other surface, just to be sure. This was quite good. This could enable me to find photos in a hurry.
It only seemed to work with broader terms. However, I have a feeling that as the algorithms become more sophisticated, we’ll see good results with narrower definitions.
Searching in Photos using words
Just for fun, I decided to use the Photos app to search. While it’s great that you can now use Spotlight, doing a search like this would narrow the parameters to only photos. Let’s have a look at a few of my searches.
A search using the word “music” produced these photos. It recognized my music rehearsal room. It recognized a meme for Robert Johnson. But it also produced photos of me standing next to a rusty truck and my microwave.
Again, the app seemed to recognize “graffiti” with great accuracy.
Perhaps I was hungry, but I decided to search for something slightly more specific: Taco. Mmm … tacos. It performed flawlessly.
A search for cars, just like the Spotlight search, seemed accurate. These were all cars. And once again, it included all sorts of cars, including the yellow Lamborghini crossover. Again, contrary to popular belief, this is not my Photofocus company car. It also included two photos of a mini-truck, one of them showing the bed inside a camper shell. Impressive.
What would happen if I did a search for truck? Would it include this?
Turns out no. It did what it was supposed to, producing a photo of a truck. However, I had more trucks in Photos app. In fact, I had several photos of a Toyota minitruck, all of which had shown up in the search for cars.
If you were to tag people, Spotlight and Photos would attempt to identify all photos of that person by name via facial recognition and machine learning.
However, I was done with searching for the day. I was going to do an actual physical search for tacos. But alas, I would not be driving there in a Lamborghini crossover or a Fisker hybrid.