Google Lens is a clever tool you can access from your smart device. Touting AI visual recognition powered by neural networks, Lens looks at saved photos and the display on your camera and then offers information about what it sees. Anyone passing on Lens is missing out on one of Google’s most valuable services.

Many of the best Android phones come with this software already integrated. You can also use it with iOS on your iPhone or iPad if you download the Google Lens app. It’s a great idea to learn more about what Google Lens can do and how to use it, but first, it will help you to learn what Google Lens is and how to activate it.


Google Lens: A quick overview

Google Lens is a software developed using machine learning technology for AI visual recognition. Essentially, Lens looks at saved pictures or your live camera feed and compares what it sees against Google’s image database. The result is a tool that offers helpful information about what is displayed on your device’s screen.

There are a lot of neat features that Lens supports. You might be surprised by how useful it can be, from translating text to identifying plants and animals. There are also several ways in which you can activate it.

1. How to use Google Lens in the native Android app

Using the Google Lens app is the most straightforward way to activate Lens. This is the recommended approach for both Android devices and Apple devices.

  1. Download and open the Google Lens app.

  2. Accept the permissions for access to your camera and saved photos.

  3. To use Lens with your live camera, tap the camera icon.
  4. To use Lens with a saved photo, scroll through your photos and select one.

You don’t need to download the Lens app to use the tool on Android, but it’s still a good idea for simplicity. Downloading the app is recommended for users who want to access Lens on iPhone or iPad. If you’d rather use integrated Lens options in other apps, read on to see a few of the best ways to do so.

2. How to use Google Lens in the Google Photos app for Android and iPhone

Google Photos is the default photo storage app on most Android devices and generally includes Lens integration. Apple devices need to have Google Photos downloaded with the relevant pictures backed up to prompt Lens in this way.

  1. Open Google Photos and select the photo of interest.
  2. Tap the Lens icon in the lower-right corner.

This is the simplest way to activate Lens for any pictures you stored in Google Photos.

3. How to use Google Lens in the Google app for Android and iOS

The Google app is another good option for accessing Lens on various devices. This app comes preinstalled on most Androids, but iPhone or iPad owners need to download it from the App Store.

  1. Open the Google app.
  2. Tap the Lens icon on the right side of the search bar.

This option isn’t different from downloading the Google Lens app, but the Google app has additional features that are great for Google enthusiasts.

4. How to use Google Lens in your Android’s camera app

The Google Lens feature is enabled by default in the camera app on most Android phones. You’ll need to check if the Lens icon displays in the app, as shown below.

  1. Open the Camera app and tap the Lens icon in the lower-left corner.
  2. In some app versions, tap Modes and select the Lens icon.

This method doesn’t require taking pictures of the item you need more information about. You can point your phone’s camera at whatever you’re curious about and activate Lens to find out more.

5. How to use Google Lens via Google Assistant

Google Assistant is a convenient way to activate Lens on Android devices. It’s neat that you can activate Google Lens using only your voice. Just speak these commands, and Lens will be at your service.

  1. Vocally prompt or tap the app icon for Google Assistant.
  2. Say, “Use Google Lens,” or tap the keyboard icon in the lower-right corner and type the same command.

You can type the commands if that works better for you, but activating Lens with your voice is worth trying once or twice.

Learn more about the world around you

Whether you’re embarking on an international adventure or walking around the neighborhood, Google Lens can help you explore the world around you. Don’t hesitate to make use of Google’s cutting-edge visual AI tool. Take some time to learn about Google Assistant if you’re interested in it but unsure about the specifics.

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