How To Search For Photos in iOS 10

iPhone are great cameras. They get better all the time, upgrading megapixels, adding capabilities, etc. The reason Apple spends so much time on the camera is that people us it. A lot.

People have always used their phone’s camera a great deal and that trend is not slowing down. Anyone who takes a lot of pictures knows that one of the biggest flaws of the Photos app was that is was very hard to to find old pictures.

Before iOS 10, Photos lagged behind in this regard. Many users and analysts found that Google’s photo program was far superior to Apple’s in this regard, giving users the ability to search for people, places, things, and easily organize their photos.

Now, Apple has finally caught up. Photos in iOS 10 received a major overhaul and is now a very strong app with great search functionality. In this guide we’ll cover the basics of searching for photos, more detailed searches, and using Siri to search your photo collection.

Basic Search in Photos

If you have allowed Photos to access your location, then your photos will be tagged with locations. You can then search by location for specific photos. To do so, follow these steps:

Open up the photo app. Begin searching as you would with any other app: tap the Search button.

Once you’re in the Search function, your phone will show you a variety of preset Search abilities. If none of them apply to you, then type in your Search in the search bar.

For example, I am searching for a photo I took at Sunshine Village Ski Resort. So, when you type in your search request, Photos will begin looking for you. If you see the picture you want, tap on it.

This will bring up any photos taken while in that area. In this example, there is only one.

This is the most basic way to search for pictures.

There are a few other general ways to search for pictures. Pictures are also tagged by date. If you are looking for a picture your took in May, type May into the search bar. This will bring up all the pictures you took in May.

Search for Specific Objects

One of the coolest new abilities that Photos acquired in iOS 10 is the ability to search for specific objects.

The Photos app scans the contents of your photos – both the foreground and the background – for identifiable objects. It runs what it finds against a big database of searchable objects, and your photos get labelled accordingly.

Apple’s object list contains over 4400 objects. Somebody with lots of time on their hands actually did some research and compiled a list of all the objects Photos will recognize. You can check out that list here:

Here’s how to use this feature:

Like searching by location or date, tap the Search button to begin your search.
Now try using different search terms to find what you want. For example, I searched for photos taken beside a lake:

In this one, I searched for Instrument:

Or ‘Computer’:

As you can see, this functions is very malleable, and can be used in a variety of situations. If you’ve lost something and are trying to find a picture of it, search for it. If you need a picture of your dog, search for it!

Search for People

iOS 10 also introduced facial recognition to iOS devices. This feature had been available to Mac users for quite some time, and it’s pretty cool.

Of course, your phone cannot automatically tag people, only you can do that. Here’s how to do it:

Select a picture with a person you want to tag.

Next, tap Details in the top right hand corner of the screen, while the image is selected.

This will bring up details of the photo, such as the location where it was taken, and will also have a ‘People’ section.

Tap the face of the person you want to tag.

This will bring up a screen where you can name the person, so it will recognize them in the future.

As you are naming the person, your phone will search through your contacts for the persons name. When the right name appears, tap it. Tap Done when finished.

You have now named this person, and can search specifically for pictures of them.

To search for pictures of a specific person, do the same thing you usually do when searching. Tap the search button.

Now, try searching for the person you just named. This will bring up all the pictures that Photos could recognize of that person.

If you like this feature, get in the habit of tagging people, and the function will just get better and better.

Use Siri To Search

To really streamline the Photos Search function, you can use Siri to search for photos. It’s very simple to use.

First, activate Siri by saying ‘Hey Siri’ if you have that feature enabled, or by holding the Home button.

Once enabled, say something like “Show me photos from Regina”. Despite the fact that your photos are tagged with more specific locations (such as street names and areas), Siri can only handle names of cities.

Siri will then open Photos and show you the relevant photos.

You can also use Siri to show you photos from a specific time. For example, you can say “Show me photos from May.”

Siri will once again show open the app and show you the photos that are relevant.

You can also combine these two search terms to get even more specific. For example, “Show me photos from Winnipeg in December”.

Again, Siri flips you back to the Photos app, where you see the relevant photos.

Siri’s functionality is pretty good, but there are still a few things to note.

Be careful to say ‘Show’ when you’re looking for photos, not ‘Search’. If you say ‘Search’, Siri will search the web for photos. Also if Siri can’t find relevant photos in your Photos app or if she doesn’t recognize the category of your search, she will search the web.

This article originally appeared in our monthly subscription newsletter, iExpertnews.

To find out more about iExpert news. As an iCloud Login reader you can have a trial at $1 for the first month then just $5 monthly instead of $9 monthly.


February 8, 2017

Need to Know More About iCloud? Then sign up for this FREE 10 Essential Tips Guide To help get you started.