iOS 12 Complete Guide: Tips, Tricks and How-Tos for Your iPhone

How to Use Search in iOS 12's Photos

Cloud storage has taken a lot of the tedium out of managing digital photo libraries. But it’s also encouraged a hoarder’s mindset when it comes to backing up anything and everything we capture with our devices. The result? Our photo galleries are larger than they’ve ever been.

Fortunately though, Apple’s doing something about that in iOS 12. The latest iteration of the software on iPhones and iPads features a supercharged search tool inside the Photos app that is better at surfacing content with specific tags. Here’s how it works.—Adam Ismail

How to Use the New Search Tool in Photos

In iOS 12, Photos responds to searches containing the names of businesses and museums. Additionally, you can now combine tags in search queries. This really helps you drill down to what you’re looking for by filtering out content that doesn’t fit the description.

1. Tap on the new Search tab in Photos. It can be found all the way to the right at the bottom of the screen.

2. Enter a search term. In this example, we’ll type in “Manhattan” to only surface photos taken there. “Manhattan” also appears as an auto-complete term. If we tap that result in the drop-down list, we can add “Manhattan” as a tag to our query. (Don’t press space after “Manhattan,” because whatever you type next will be combined into the same tag.)

3. Add another tag. We’ll use “Spring.” These types of tags display a calendar icon next to them, because they relate to a time of the year.

4. For best results, go with Photos’ suggested search terms. We tried adding “Overcast,” but you’ll notice that Photos doesn’t actually sort content by weather conditions. Instead, the app suggested we use the tag “Outdoor” or “Sky.” (We went with “outdoor.”)

The end result is a group of photos that fit the following conditions: Shots of Manhattan taken outdoors, in the spring. Additionally if we were to add the terms “Clock Tower” or “Skyline,” the app would be clever enough to single those images out as well.