Visual Look Up in iOS 17 Gets Cleverer, Apparently

On Apple’s marketing page for iOS 17, a section dedicated to Visual Look Up promises it will now be able to display “recipes for similar dishes from a photo”. According to a report in Autoevolution and confirmed by “yahlover” on Reddit, it can detect universal symbols on car dashboards and in instrument clusters. And, as seen by Federico Viticci, Visual Look Up in iOS 17 will be able to identify laundry symbols on clothing tags.

With the understanding that this is beta software, I cannot get any of these features to work, and I think I am losing my mind. Even testing with my system region and language set to the United States and U.S. English — which should not matter because Visual Look Up is supposed to work in “English” — I cannot reproduce any of these enhancements.

I have tried the food identification thing with clear photos of all kinds of simple dishes, from fried rice to pizza, and it does not detect anything in the image. Dashboard and laundry symbols similarly have no effect. It is not that Visual Look Up does not work as a whole; it still picks out landmarks and species most of the time. But none of these newer features are available for me.

It reminds me of when Visual Look Up was released as a U.S.-only feature first and, when it was eventually rolled out to Canada, it went unmentioned. Its appearance was made silently and, when it fails, it is also done quietly. If a photo of a plant cannot be identified, the Visual Look Up indicator does not appear for the photo. For contrast, the excellent Seek app will give users some indication that it sees a plant, but it might only give you a rough idea of what it might be.