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Google's Circle to Search-Like Image Lookup Feature Comes to iOS via Official Shortcut: How to Download

Here's how you can use a Shortcut on your iPhone to perform a visual lookup of content on your screen, similar to Google's Circle to Search feature.

Google's Circle to Search-Like Image Lookup Feature Comes to iOS via Official Shortcut: How to Download

Photo Credit: Google

Circle to Search was introduced by Google in January

  • Google has released a form of Circle to Search for iPhone
  • The functionality is enabled via the Shortcuts app on iOS
  • Circle to Search on Android is more powerful than Google's iOS Shortcut

Circle to Search — Google's new visual lookup feature introduced on the Samsung Galaxy S24 series and Pixel 8 series earlier this year — has made its way to many other smartphones over the past couple of months. Now iPhone owners can also use a form of Circle to Search feature via the Google app for iOS and an Apple Shortcut. Unlike the Android version of Circle to Search, the Shortcut on iOS has some limitations, and relies on Google Lens.

Google Lens Design Manager Minsang Choi announced the arrival of a new Shortcut on the Google app for iOS via a post on X (formerly Twitter). Dubbed "Search your screenshot", it will let you perform a custom action called "Search Image With Lens" via the Shortcuts app. When activated, the Shortcut takes a screenshot and uses Google Lens to look up the contents of the image.

In order to use the Shortcut on an iPhone, you will need to ensure that your phone is running iOS 13 or later and download the latest version of the Google app for iOS. The Shortcut can be accessed directly by tapping the link shared by Choi on an iPhone. Alternatively, you can choose to set up the Shortcut manually by selecting Take screenshot and followed by Search Image With Lens.

While Android users can simply hold the navigation bar to use the Circle to Search feature, iPhone owners can expedite the process of launching the Shortcut by mapping to the Action button on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. Meanwhile, navigating to Accessibility > Touch > Back Tap in the Settings app will allow you to launch the Shortcut using a double tap or triple tap gesture on most modern iPhone models.

While launching Google's new Shortcut is quite straightforward once it has been set up, it is limited in terms of functionality compared to the Circle to Search feature on Android smartphones. While the Shortcut will pass your screenshot to Google Lens for a visual lookup, you can't draw a circle or highlight a part of the screen to look up. However, it's a convenient way to quickly look up something on your iPhone with a couple of taps.

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David Delima
As a writer on technology with Gadgets 360, David Delima is interested in open-source technology, cybersecurity, consumer privacy, and loves to read and write about how the Internet works. David can be contacted via email at DavidD@ndtv.com, on Twitter at @DxDavey, and Mastodon at mstdn.social/@delima. More
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