How to Use Your iPhone Camera to Help Decipher Laundry Instructions

How to Use Your iPhone Camera to Help Decipher Laundry Instructions - Hero

Knowing how to properly wash and dry your clothing can be a bit of a mystery sometimes. Your iPhone camera can help you decode laundry instructions; here’s how.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sometimes baffled at how to safely launder clothing that doesn’t fit into the “jeans and t-shirt” category. If the laundry care instructions just use symbols instead of words, it’s like reading ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Fortunately, a little bit of help from your iPhone camera and Siri can make sense of those symbols in short order. Here’s how to do it.

The Mystic Laundry Care Symbols

Okay, yes, there are charts available through the internet to decipher those laundry care symbols. Heck, popular detergent maker Tide even has a webpage dedicated to decoding the instructions. But wouldn’t it be great to snap a picture and have your iPhone do the work for you?

Thanks to the enhancements made to Visual Lookup in the Photos app beginning with iOS 17, you can. Let’s walk through how to use your iPhone camera and Siri to help you wash that expensive sweater the right way.

Using Your iPhone Camera to Decipher Laundry Care Instructions

If you want your iPhone to help tell you how to understand laundry instructions, here’s what you need to do.

  1. Make sure your iPhone is running iOS 17 or later.
  2. Grab the article of clothing that you’re unsure how to launder safely.
  3. Find and take a picture of the tag with the laundry care symbols.
    3 Find laundry instruction details tag
  4. Next, open the photo you just took in the Photos app.
  5. Tap the information symbol, a lowercase “i” that may have sparkles around it. It might even show the outline of a washing machine symbol.
    5 Tap information symbol in Photos app
  6. Next, tap Look Up Laundry Care.
    6 Tap look up laundry care
  7. Read the results and set your washer and dryer accordingly.
    7 Decoding laundry care symbols using iPhone camera and Siri

The feature isn’t perfect as of this writing and may not report the meaning of all of the symbols. It might even misinterpret some of the symbols, especially if the care instructions are faded or unclear.

If that happens, tap Report an issue to help Siri better decipher the symbols.

Siri and Visual Lookup Keeps Getting Smarter

I know quite a few people dismiss Siri as useless, especially when they struggle with the virtual assistant not understanding their spoken words. That’s not all the technology does, though.

Siri is the power behind Visual Lookup in the Photos app, allowing you to identify objects and animals within the pictures you take. Apple keeps expanding on what wizardry is helpful for, and the ability for it to help you understand how to properly launder your more expensive clothing is a welcome enhancement.

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