This iOS 17 feature decrypts laundry symbols in seconds — try it now

iPhone 15 Pro Max shown in hand
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Have you ever owned a piece of clothing from a foreign country? If so, you'll know that the laundry instructions from different world regions are often a little different to those in your home region.

For example, I own a t-shirt that was produced for the U.S. market and, as such, it has U.S. laundry care instructions on the label. The issue is that I live in the UK, so we use ISO laundry care instructions, which are different (and way better — they have the wash temperature on them instead of just a single dot... why would you not put that on the label?!). What's more, you might simply find laundry care symbols confusing and difficult to remember even in your home region.

Thankfully, Apple has introduced a solution with iOS 17. You can now use the awesome Visual Look Up function — already one of our favorite iPhone features and something that helps make them some of the best phones around — to decipher tricky, unfamiliar and even hard-to-see laundry instructions. Awesome!

Want to find out how? Read on.

How to decipher laundry care instructions with Visual Look Up on iPhone

You'll need to be running iOS 17 or later to use this feature. We can show you how to download and install iOS 17 if you need some help.

1. Photograph a laundry label

(Image: © Future)

Firstly, open the Camera app and take a photo of a laundry label or laundry instructions.

2. Open the photo and tap the 'i' button

(Image: © Future)

Now, open the Photos app, find the photo you took and tap the 'i' button at the bottom. You should see what is usually the info button is now a washing machine and is surrounded by sparkles — this means Visual Look Up has detected something. If you don't see this, take the photo again.

3. Tap Look Up Laundry

(Image: © Future)

Tap Look Up Laundry Care.

4. View the laundry instructions

(Image: © Future)

View the laundry care instructions which will have been pulled from the internet. In this case, Visual Look Up was really useful. While this piece of clothing had both U.S. and UK instructions, the UK instructions were very difficult to make out (at least without my glasses on) — Visual Look Up allowed me to verify the temperature using the U.S. instructions.

With that, all there is to do now is the laundry! Have fun. Actually, I lie — what you can do instead of the chores is read more fun iPhone tutorials. We have plenty to choose from, including: how to use StandBy mode on iPhone to turn your device into a smart home display; how to clear RAM on iPhone to speed it up when it's slow; and how to transfer data from iPhone to iPhone, if you're about to get a new device and want to make sure everything gets moved over smoothly.

Peter Wolinski
Reviews Editor

Peter is Reviews Editor at Tom's Guide. As a writer, he covers topics including tech, photography, gaming, hardware, motoring and food & drink. Outside of work, he's an avid photographer, specialising in architectural and portrait photography. When he's not snapping away on his beloved Fujifilm camera, he can usually be found telling everyone about his greyhounds, riding his motorcycle, squeezing as many FPS as possible out of PC games, and perfecting his espresso shots.