Have you ever found yourself scrolling your smartphone’s camera roll endlessly in hopes of finding an old photo? Whether you have an iPhone or Android phone, you no longer need to do that to find photos.
Searching through photos on your phone is easier than ever and the search features have gotten even more in-depth.
Here are the best tips, tricks, and hidden features you should know while searching through your pictures.
How to easily search through your phone to find photos
How to search through your Google Photos
Google Photos is available for both Android and Apple products and has the most in-depth search features for finding photos. It’s free to use and all you need is a Google account, so if you already use Gmail, you’re all set.
Find Photos by People, Place, or Thing
Google Photos will group together photos of similar faces, animals, and objects.
The first category on Google Photos is People & Pets. Click View All to see everyone you’ve taken a photo of, and click anyone’s face to set a name. Then you can see all the photos you’ve taken of that person and search using their name. You can do the same for pets, and both options will come in handy for some searches we’ll explain shortly.
Search for a city, state, country, or even specific location. You can type “museum” to get any photos you’ve taken at museums in the past, or select a location option that pops up, I.E. “The Metropolitan Museum of Art.”
Search for a specific object, like “cake” “drink” or “plant” to populate photos containing items. You can search “water” and you’ll see images of beaches, and a glass of water. Or you can be particular and search for “lake” and eliminate the glass of water.
Search photos by Date
You can put an exact date, or a more general time frame in and find photos that way. Try searching “Halloween” to bring up past photos on October 31st, or type “Summer 2017” if you can’t remember a particular date you went on a trip that year.
Search photos by file type
You can specifically type “videos” or you can search “jpeg” if you need a particular type of file for work. You can also search “videos beach” or another specific location to bring up videos you’ve taken somewhere. This is an example of the search terms you can combine, which we’ll now talk more about.
Combine Search Terms to Find Photos
If you want to find all the selfies you’ve taken with a particular family member, when you click search you can tap Selfies, and then under the search bar, add another term. In this case, you would tap the face of the person you want to add and it will popular your selfies with that person.
You can also search for photos of the person in a specific time frame, which is why you’ll want to group together faces on Google Photos. Using these search terms will help you narrow down a particular photo even if you can’t remember exactly where it is in your camera roll.
How to search through your photos in the iPhone Photos app
If you’re an Apple device user, you’re likely familiar with the Photos app that comes on your device. While your photos are automatically saved here, you can also use Google Photos as a backup option for storing photos. To do a quick search for your photos:
- If you stick to the Apple Camera Roll, you can also use the search feature to find photos easily.
- You can also search your iPhone or iPad for photos before you even click on the app.
- While on your Apple device’s home screen where all of your apps are displayed, tap the middle of the screen and swipe down. This will pull up a search bar. Type in any search for photos here (IE: Dog) and scroll down. You’ll see results from online, and then you’ll see a section for Photos from App. Click Show More > to see all of your search results in your photos.
Find iPhone Photos by People, Place, or Thing
Like Google Photos, your Photos will recognize particular faces and objects. You can type dog, or you can specifically search “poodle dog” if you’re looking for photos of your family Labradoodle. You can also search for all the photos you’ve taken of or with someone, and combine search terms. Meaning, you can search “cat 2019” and all the photos you took of cats in 2019 will pop up.
Photos will also bring up specific places, so if you took a trip to New York City you can search “5th avenue” or “Brooklyn Bridge” for all of your photos from moments on that trip.
Find photos by Event
Look up “baseball game” or “birthday” as ideas of events to look up.
Apple will suggest categories when you start typing, so if you’re looking up “baseball game” when you type “baseball,” other more specific search terms might be suggested, like “baseball hat” or “baseball gloves” and even more photos will pop up.
The Photos app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac also lets you combine search terms, so you can look up “Texas 2020” or “Easter 2019” if you can’t remember the exact date of a photo there.
You can add your own captions to any photo you’ve taken which can also help expedite the search process in the future. This could be handy for labeling where and when the photo was taken, and if you want to label anyone who may not appear in your photos often.
For example, if you have a group photo from this past Halloween, you could add a caption that includes the kids pictured, their ages, and even their costumes.
To add captions to any photo on an iPhone or iPad,
- Open your Photos app
- Select the photo you want to add a caption to
- Swipe up on the photo, it will reveal additional details underneath the photo
- Tap the “Add a Caption” field and type anything you want
If you search any of those terms on your phone’s search bar or in Photos, that photo will now pop up more quickly.
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