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How to Use Google's Circle to Search Feature on Your iPhone

How to Use Google's Circle to Search Feature on Your iPhone
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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.

Google App iOS team just released super cool shortcut that allows you to lens visual search using your action button on iPhone 15 Pro series. It’s basically circle to search but faster! Please download google app and try this out! :

— Minsang Choi (@radiofun8) May 8, 2024

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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