How to use Photos’ amazing new search in iOS 12

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iOS 12 Photos thinks that cabbages are melons.
iOS 12 Photos thinks that cabbages are melons.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Photos already has a pretty decent search function on iOS 11. Thanks to Apple’s machine-learning tech, and AI categorization, you can search for thousands of “scenes.” These include the places you took the photo, but also anything from abacus to zucchini, people in the images, and times the images were taken.

This has gotten even better in iOS 12. You can still search on many thousands of categories and keywords, but now you can combine searches. For instance, you could search for several different people, and see photos only containing them all. OR you can combine search terms like Christmas, Food, and 2015, for instance. Let’s take a look.

Siri is the best way to search photos on your iPhone

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search photos with siri
Hey Siri, show me photos of melons.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Siri is useless for a lot of things, but when it works, it can be a real timesaver. For instance, you can use Siri to search for photos in your iPhone or iPad photo library. Say something like, “Hey Siri, show me photos of clowns,” and it’ll do just that, opening the Photos app, switching to the search tab, and entering the search term “clowns” for you.

Even if you’re sitting looking at the search tab in the Photos app already, Siri is still way easier to use for search than manually tapping something into the search field, deleting the previous search, and typing a new one.

And that’s just the beginning.

Google’s new Cameos app gives celebs a bigger voice on the internet

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Google Cameos
Google's Cameos app focuses on celebrities.
Photo: Google

Google is giving celebrities a new way to answer some of the most popular questions asked by fans thanks to a new app called Cameos.

The search giant launched Cameos on the iOS app store this morning. Created for public figures, celebrities and sports teams, Cameos is an extension of the Posts on Google platform that allows some people and organizations to post directly to Google’s search result pages.

Apple Store app now lets you shop with your voice

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Apple Store app search suggestions
Search suggestions help you find what you’re looking for.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple just rolled out its latest update to the official Apple Store app, introducing an improved search interface.

The version 5.1 release now displays search suggestions like the App Store and iTunes apps, and thanks to speech recognition, you can find products using your voice for the first time.

HomePod update will bring phone calls, voicemail, multiple timers

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HomePod
Apple is working to make HomePod even smarter.
Photo: Apple

HomePod is expected to get even smarter this fall when Apple rolls out a big software update.

A new report claims the $349 device will be able to handle phone calls, retrieve your voicemail, and run multiple timers. It could also give you the ability to search for songs by using their lyrics, and to translate languages.

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Apple Maps outage
Save us, Google Maps!
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Remove annoying clutter from iPad Spotlight searches

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spotlight
No, not this kind of spotlight.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you use Spotlight to find stuff on your iPhone or iPad, you’ll be familiar with the mess of results you get when you search. Maybe you’re searching for a note or an email about that really important thing, only the actual results you want are buried under a heap of nonsense from twitter, from YouTube, from all the Ebay classifieds you’ve viewed, and so on.

The good news is, you can trim these results, eliminating the noise you don’t need. The even better news is that recent versions of iOS do this is a much more elegant way.

Pro Tip: Use iOS Spotlight as a keyboard app launcher

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spotlight keyboard ap launcher
A spotlight helps find things.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bugDid you know that you can use Spotlight on iOS as an app launcher? It works just like Launchbar or Alfred on the Mac. You just hit a keyboard shortcut and start typing, then hit enter to launch the app. If you have a wireless (or wired) keyboard attached to your iPad, you’re going to love this tip.

This great iOS Spotlight trick lets you know everything about a person

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spotlight contact search
Several spotlights.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Somewhere after the launch of iOS 11, Apple tweaked Spotlight search to be way more useful. Now, when you search for a person, you can trigger a sub-search that lets you find everything you have on them, from emails, to iMessages, to their contact details, through WhatsApp messages, to calendar events. Anywhere that your selected contact exists on your iPhone or iPad will show up in the list.

And then, you can narrow the results with a sub search.

These are all the things Spotlight can find on your iPhone and iPad

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spotlight
A picture of a light, to illustrate Spotlight search.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Spotlight is Apple’s search technology for Mac and iOS, and it can help you find almost anything. Not just stuff on your iPhone, either. Spotlight can also help you find nearby places, look up words in a dictionary, and even do currency and unit conversions, all from one search box. Let’s take a look at everything Spotlight can do on your iPhone or iPad.