How to Use Google Lens on the iPhone

The Google Lens feature started popping up in Google's iOS app (opens in new tab) this week, as it gradually rolls out to iPhone users. You'll know you have if you fire up the Google app on your iPhone on see a Google Lens logo in the search bar next to the microphone logo for voice searches.

Google Lens uses the camera on your phone to see what's around you, recognizing products, animal, texts or objects by tapping into Google's vast knowledge graph. It's a particular handy feature when you're traveling and you see a landmark you'd like to know more about.

Point your phone's camera at that landmark, and tap Google Lens to pull up additional information. You can also use it to shop: I scanned a book cover with Google Lens, and not only got information about that particular title, but I could also drill down to find books from the same author.

MORE: Google Lens Guide: What You Can Do with This Powerful AI Feature

This isn't the first time that Google Lens support has popped up on iPhones. Earlier this year, Google added Google Lens to its Photos app. But to use the feature in Photos, you have to take a picture and then tap the Google Lens logo on the image stored in the app. Adding Google Lens to the main Google app removes that step — now you can just point your camera at an object, and let Google's object recognition feature do its thing.

Here's how to get started with Google Lens in the Google app on your iPhone.

1. Launch Google.

2. Tap the Google Lens logo in the search bar.

3. The first time you tap Google Lens, you'll need to grant permission to the app to use your iPhone's camera.

4. Point your camera at whatever object you want to identify and tap the circle that appears on your screen. A Google card will pop up with more information on that object.

On the whole, Google Lens is pretty accurate at identifying objects, though in some instances like the shot of my lemon tree above, it may give you multiple options to tap for more information. Occasionally in my testing, Google Lens would swing and miss — it briefly misidentified a World War II propaganda poster I have hanging in my house as the logo for a Tennessee aquarium, though repositioning my iPhone's camera produced a more accurate result.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.