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The Siri photo feature you're probably not using (and should be)

You do too much swiping as it is.

siri-photos
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Siri is getting smarter to where I find myself conversing with Apple's voice assistant with greater frequency these days -- and Siri Shortcuts have yet to arrive. For one, Siri makes it so I don't have to remember any of my passwords, which is the greatest gift a digital assistant can give me. For another, Siri offers invaluable aid when I want to find an old photo among the thousands stored on my iPhone.

Granted, Siri has room to grow when it comes to helping manage and parse huge photo libraries, but I've only recently discovered how powerful Apple's digital assistant is at locating specific photos. Siri has saved me from tons of furious swiping through the Photos app to dig up an old photo before the person standing next to me loses interest.

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Hey Siri, show me photos of...

I thought I was clever in navigating the photos app because I would use the Places album to find photos from past vacations or the Videos album to narrow my search when attempting to locate an old video. Now, I just ask Siri.

Siri can locate photos and videos by a variety of parameters, including date, location, people, objects and activities. And some combination thereof. Here are some examples to get you and Siri started conversing about your photos.

Location

You can be as general or as specific as you need to be, from "Show me photos of Ireland" to "Show me photos of Fenway Park."

siri-photos-by-location
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Date

As with locations, you can be specific or general, for example: "Show me photos from December 25, 2006" or "Show me photos from April 2014." Siri also understands things like "Show me photos from last month" and "Show me photos from last Christmas."

siri-photos-by-date
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

People

If you have set up the People part of the Photos app by naming your family members and friends, then Siri can help you find photos of the people in your life and camera roll. Combine their name with a date or location to narrow your search, such as "Show me photos of Dan and me in Iowa" or "Show me photos of Samantha from last April." Siri also knows her front-facing camera from her rear-facing camera, so you can say, "Show me selfies from yesterday."

siri-photos-by-people
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Objects and activities

Two things I take photos of with regularity: my dog and my kids on skis. Siri is helpful in finding such subjects: "Show me photos of my dog" and "Show me photos of skiing." You can also narrow such searches by saying, "Show me photos of my dog in Maine" or "Show me photos of skiing from last February." Now, when you say "my dog," Siri just shows you photos of any dog in your photo library. And asking for a specific person skiing, I will note, doesn't work so well because faces are usually covered by goggles and a helmet.

siri-photos-by-activity
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

For more, here is the complete list of Siri commands.