Discovering and Utilizing the Secret AI Camera in Your iPhone's Magnifier App

Your iPhone features an AI subject detection tool built into the Magnifier app. Using AI, the iOS Magnifier app is capable of detecting and identifying subjects using the camera, then describing them to you via on-screen text and spoken descriptions. The app can also use the same detection system to identify doors and people. It’s an accessibility feature that can describe surroundings to people who may not be able to see it for themselves.

While the Magnifier app is available on most iPhones, subject detection depends on your iPhone having a LiDAR scanner, which is limited to Pro and Pro Max models from the iPhone 12 Pro onward. That means if you have a standard iPhone model, you won’t be able to use the AI subject detection.

If you have an iPhone 12 Pro or later, the AI powered Magnifier tool is easy to use. Here’s how to use the AI-powered iOS Magnifier app to detect your surroundings:

  1. Open the Magnifier app, swipe up and tap the box icon First up, open the Magnifier app, then swipe up on the bottom panel and tap the box icon, on the right-hand side.

  2. Choose a Detection Mode and point your camera at a subject Detection Modes will appear on the left. Tap one and then point the camera at a subject. Your iPhone will identify that subject and tell you what it sees. Available Detection Modes are:

    • People detection (tells you the distance of nearby people)
    • Door detection (tells you the distance and type of nearby doors)
    • Image descriptions of surroundings
    • Text detection (relays any text detected on screen)
    • Point and speak (describes what your finger points at)
  3. Point and speak All of the detection modes work similarly, except point and speak. Tap the bottom icon on the left to enter point and speak. This mode detects your finger in frame and will speak what is detected.

  4. (Optional) Tap the settings cog to change settings If you’d like to change the settings for one or more Detection Modes, tap the settings cog, top left.

  5. Select a Detection Mode to customize Select a Detection Mode.

  6. Apply custom settings Now make any changes you want using the toggles. Settings are not the same for all Detection Modes.