Seeing AI

Last modified
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Description of App

Seeing AI is a free app that narrates the world around you. Designed for the blind and low vision community, this ongoing research project harnesses the power of AI to open up the visual world and describe nearby people, text and objects.

Optimized for use with VoiceOver, the app enables you to recognize:
• Short Text - Speaks text as soon as it appears in front of the camera.
• Documents - Provides audio guidance to capture a printed page, and recognizes the text, along with its original formatting.
• Products - Scans barcodes, using audio beeps to guide you; hear the name, and package information when available. (works with iPhone 6 and later)
• People - Saves people’s faces so you can recognize them, and get an estimate of their age, gender, and emotions.
• Scenes (early preview) - Hear an overall description of the scene captured.
• Currency - Recognizes currency notes.
• Color - Identifies color.
• Handwriting - Reads handwritten text.
• Light - Generates an audible tone corresponding to the brightness in the surroundings.
• Images in other apps - Just tap “Share” and “Recognize with Seeing AI” to describe images from Mail, Photos, Twitter, and more.

Seeing AI is built to help you achieve more by leveraging the power of the cloud and artificial intelligence. As the research progresses, more channels may be added.

Check out tutorials with this YouTube playlist:

Visit for more details

Available in 35 countries including the U.S., Canada, European Union, U.K., Australia, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore. Coming soon to more countries.
Languages supported – English
Supported on iPhone 5C, 5S and later; best performance with iPhone 6S and later models.

Questions, feedback or feature requests? Email us at seeingai @



Free or Paid


Apple Watch Support


iOS Version


Device(s) App Was Tested On


Accessibility Comments

This app is very accessible

VoiceOver Performance

VoiceOver reads all page elements.

Button Labeling

Most buttons are clearly labeled.


The app is fully accessible with VoiceOver and is easy to navigate and use.

Other Comments

This is an amazing app! I was pleasantly surprised to learn about this app from mainstream tech sites this morning.


52 people have recommended this app

Most recently recommended by Casey 4 months 1 week ago



Submitted by Ekaj on Saturday, May 19, 2018

Hi everyone. Just yesterday I was perusing the Internet as always, and came across some really good videos about this app. It seems like something I want for the iPhone 7 which I just got. However, I'm wondering 2 things. First off, what are peoples' experiences with the app in regards to travel? My iPhone tutor at Second Sense here in Chicago said that while all these GPS apps are good, most if not all of them are a bit inaccurate when it comes to giving directions. I briefly checked out the iPhone's on-board Maps app, and it seems to be pretty good with VoiceOver. But I'm rather new to this whole GPS concept and need help. My second question is how accurate is Seeing AI in comparison with Directions for Me?

Submitted by TJT 2001 on Saturday, May 19, 2018

Jake, this app is a camera app, not a GPS app. You're probably looking for Microsoft Soundscapes if you are thinking of the newly-released GPS app that Microsoft made. GPS is generally quite accurate to a few metres from the desired location, though remember that GPS will not inform you about things like areas under construction, obstacles, etc.

Submitted by Ekaj on Friday, October 19, 2018

I just downloaded this app and did a couple things with it. My sighted neighbor from across the hall was in here when I tried to scan a small box of jello that another neighbor had previously given me. We eventually got it. Then I tried scanning a jar of peanut butter from my cabinets, but was totally unsuccessful. I then went out in the front hallway to try and scan some of the photos on the bulletin board just outside my door, and the app just told me that no edges were visible. I love this app but it's going to take some practice. Lots of very useful features though, and I like the audio tutorials. Very accessible too. Nice job Microsoft.

Submitted by Fran on Sunday, December 23, 2018

I absolutely recommend this app to anyone who is visually impaired. It can really change your life! Every day I discover new features, and they're all incredible. I just checked and it can even read the computer screen! I can't believe it's free! I wouldn't hesitate to pay for this app.

Submitted by Anirudh Koul on Friday, December 28, 2018

Just wanted to say a big thank you from the Seeing AI Team to all the AppleVis family, for the support and the kind comments. Lots to improve, looking forward to an exciting future!

Submitted by Orko on Saturday, December 29, 2018

Because some of Seeing AI's feature don't work all that well, I have picked up a lifetime plan for Envision AI. You just can't argue with the 30% discount they are offering until the end of the year.

For example, for short text, Envision AI blows Seeing AI away, it's not even a fair fight. The most I could ever get out of Seeing AI was one word, moving the camera further away didn't get it to read more words, nor did slowly moving it to try to scan other words. So Seeing AI's implementation was basically useless.

On the other hand, when I went to scan the barcode for a package of frozen vegetables, that's all Envision AI would tell me about it, if I wanted to know what variety of vegetable was in the package, I'd have to do a search in Safari. If you ask me, a bar code scanner that tells you what you already knows is pretty much useless. When I scan the exact same package with Seeing AI, I am told that it is broccoli, carrots, and colliflower in a sauce, now that is what I wanted to know.

So, despite one being free and one being paid, there is no clear winner between the two apps.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Saturday, December 29, 2018

I noticed that when I try to go to color and flick I got a pop that provided info about different itoms. It is hard to move to the different itoms such as money, doc and color unless you do it very, very fast.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Thursday, March 14, 2019

Version 3.0

•Explore photos by touch: This new feature allows you to explore how objects in a photo are arranged. Select "Explore Photo" from the Scene channel, photo browser, or when recognizing photos from other apps. Then, move your finger over the screen to hear where objects are located.
•All new iPad support.
•Get faster access to your favorite features by customizing the order in which channels are shown.
•On the Person channel, you can now teach Seeing AI to recognize someone new, directly from the main screen.
•When recognizing photos from other apps, you will now hear the processing sound as in the main app.

Sounds like this could be a very interesting update. I am eager to hear peoples' opinions about the new version.

Submitted by Ekaj on Friday, March 15, 2019

Looks like my iPhone just updated this app automatically. Looks pretty cool. My sighted neighbor across the hall has an iPad, and we always hang out together. I've been talking to him about all the tech I use, so think I'll tell him about this update to Seeing AI so that he can check it out if he so chooses. This app seems to be getting better all the time!

Submitted by Ekaj on Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Hi everyone. I just wanted to say that I practiced with this app some more just a bit ago. I got it to successfully scan and read the labels on some food items in one of my cabinets. It seemed to do better on boxes and canned items than on the rice packets that I have. I was able to tap on "More Info" and it read off the box instructions on a box of long-grain rice with chicken and jalapeno. I also got something in Spanish when scanning another much smaller packet, but my Spanish is rather rusty so I don't know what it said. But this app is indeed getting better all the time. I also like the sharing options that are available.

Submitted by Austin Grace on Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Hello everyone. I have been using this app since day 1 and there is nothing like this app. I had switched to android a few months ago and this is one app I dearly missed on android. So when I got the chance I got an iPhone 11 and seeing AI is amazing on this thing. Plus it works very well in the dark. I was still able to read the screen on a car stereo thanks to Seeing AI.