Seeing AI (iPhone and iPad)

Seeing AI is a free app created by Microsoft specifically for Apple iOS devices that can describe the world around you, including nearby people, text, and objects, and it also scans barcodes.

On this page

What is Seeing AI?

The app uses the power of AI (Artificial Intelligence) to describe nearby people, text and objects and can also help identify products using a bar code scanner. It's available in 70 countries, and supports English, Spanish, German, French, Dutch, Japanese languages.

The iOS app is supported on iPhone 5C, 5S and later models, but performs best on iPhone 6S, SE and later models.

How to use Seeing AI

  1. Download the app on iPhone from the App Store.
  2. Select to open the app, locate Seeing AI  Logo of the Seeing AI app
  3. Review the terms and conditions – if you chose to agree, select ‘I Agree’ at the bottom of the page.
  4. The app will ask to use your camera and photos. For the app to work correctly you need to select OK to grant these permissions to the app.
  5. The next screen will be a tutorial on how to use the app.
  6. Once you have completed the tutorial, the app will start on Short Text channel.

Layout of the screen


Left – menu button

Right – help! 


This is the camera viewfinder. In some channels, you will be required to take a picture, for example when using the Person or Scene channels, and to do this you select the button on the left-hand side. If you are using Voiceover double-tap this area.


This is the Channel area. The various features are called channels.


If you wish to reorder the channels this can be done be pressing Menu then Settings.

Things to keep in mind

  • To use some parts of this service, you will require an active internet connection, whether that be through Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection.
  • For text reading, the quality of the printed text is important if the paper or ink is diminished it may struggle to identify the text correctly.
  • The app performs better on newer Apple iOS devices. For example, iPhone 6s and above.
  • This app is also usable on an iPad.
  • This app is using Artificial Intelligence – be mindful this will not be 100% accurate all the time.
  • To get the most from this app – you may need to utilise Voiceover to read out text.

Type of assistance Seeing AI is useful for

Caring for your guide dog

  • Reading written notes in vet books
  • Assisting with medication for your dog
  • Reading letters or documents from Guide Dogs

Day-to-day uses

  • Reading letters
  • Reading documents
  • Reading prescriptions
  • Reading receipts
  • Reading birthday or greetings cards
  • Locating colour of clothing
  • Locating colour of make-up
  • Recognising family or friends
  • Identifying products from your cupboard
  • Telling similar products apart – for example shampoo and shower gel
  • Reading signs

Frequently asked questions