An Issue with TapTapSee

iOS & iPadOS

i am curious whether or not I am the only one running into this identification issue and whether or not I am the only one that hopes that the developers might change the way things are done so as to minimize such occurrences.

I feel bad about Criticising this great app in any way, but this issue is making what I am trying to do more difficult in some cases rather than making things easier. I subscribe monthly, so the issue isn't costing me pictures, but it does cause frustration and makes one major task I need the app for to be more difficult than it needs to be. I have a lot of respect for the people who do identifications for Taptapsee, but I've found an area where I think they need improvement.

I am a serious movie collector and I am spending hours upon hours catching up on making braille labels for my Blu-rays and DVDs. Taptapsee has been an amazing help with this when things go right, but they seem to go wrong far too often. What the identifiers at Taptapsee need to do is realize that when a user puts a movie in front of the camera, they generally would like to get the title and when a season of a TV show is put in front of the camera, the user probably wants the season number along with the title.

I know that with some movies, the design of the cover makes identifying the title difficult or maybe even impossible. I had one movie that I took a picture of nearly 30 times, cover and spine both and all I would get was black movie box or black and silver movie poster. I finally gave up and found some sighted help. The movie turned out to be 'The Game' with Michael Douglas and the cover was indeed black and silver. The title was apparently best described as lighter black on darker black with silver lines running around the border. I absolutely understand why neither the computer nor any person who got this image could figure out the title. A person with better than 20/20 vision had trouble with it in person. Identifying it through a picture had to be highly unlikely if not absolutely impossible.
But there are many others where the covers are clear and readable and the picture is nice and clear, this I've confirmed with several sighted individuals. I have gotten results like Black and red DVD cover, Movie cover with Angelina Jolie and all kinds of others with some sort of physical attribute of the movie case described, but with no helpful identifying information. When I get results like this I find myself wishing for the ability to send a twitter sized message like title please, season number please to the human identifiers. Another example, I have nine seasons of the show 'Supernatural, with some of them I've gotten Supernatural Season 4, a useful identification. With others I've gotten Blu-ray case with movie poster or Supernatural DVD. These are not really all that helpful.

I've gotten so much good use out of this app, that I hate to say a single negative thing, but I really think that it is likely that the majority of people who send a picture of a movie are looking for the title and the number of the movie if it is part of a franchise like The Transporter, one that gave me some trouble just today, perhaps which movie it is like the original Total Recall versus the remake and the season if the picture is of a TV show. I don't mind getting a performer's name or other information, but I think the priority should be on the previously mentioned information. I hope I am not just being unreasonable because of the frustration each one of these odd identifications that don't really identify cause meBut to me, part of the point of Taptapsee is to allow blind users to perform some tasks that previously required sighted assistance and not getting the basic information in these cases is forcing me to go back to using sighted help more often than I would like.

As I said before, I understand that some of the elements on some of the movie covers might not be readable, particularly in a photo, but this is not just happening with difficult to read titles, Some of them are very clear. i just think that the folks at Taptapsee might need to implement some sort of policy on identifying media. In the case of difficult to read covers, I would even suggest an error message like Title of DVD movie unreadable. That at least would be less frustrating than Red and Black DVD case and all of the other identifications that don't really tell me what movie I am holding. I think the same should apply to CD cases, books and any other media with a title and other information on the cover or spine.

Again, apologies if I am being unreasonable here, I just have been getting more and more frustrated every time this happens and if nothing else, I got to vent a bit. I think Taptapsee is one of the best apps on the app store, hands down, but even the best of products can sometimes use some improvement.





Submitted by AnonyMouse on Saturday, September 6, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hello Blindcat,

Have you tried their other app called CamFind?

Would be very curious if you get better results from that app. Since that app was design to identify things like your DVD and give you results.

Keep me in the loop of your findings with the CamFind. It just might be a better alternative for those type of scenarios. Plus, it is FREE.



Submitted by Blindcat on Saturday, September 6, 2014

I did try Camfind last month when my budget was too tight to get my subscription. I only buy the 3 month because I think it is the best deal. I found the multitude of ads very distracting, sometimes it was difficult to tell what was a result and what was an ad and it wasn't always accurate. Small things seem to trip it up. One Blu-ray box set I took a picture of apparently had a blurb from Redbook magazine's movie critic. Even though the title of the magazine only appeared in one place on the box, The identification I got was Redbook and the result page was full of ads for subscriptions to Redbook and other similar magazines. This got a laugh out of my friends and family as my taste in magazines always ran more to Sci-Fi/Fantasy, roleplaying and similar subjects.

I finally got the actual title to come up by taking a picture of one of the inserts in the movie case. So, the app did work eventually, but I didn't find it to be the best and while I know they have to support the development and running of the app somehow, the ads seemed a bit intrusive to me. I still keep it around and have, from time to time, used it on some things Taptapsee had trouble with and had it actually work. Considering the price, even if it only rarely works I figure it is worth keeping around. I even click on some ads when they are more appropriate to my interests than Redbook.



Submitted by yorkshire-drew on Sunday, September 7, 2014

I used the above app just now on 10 DVD cases and it identified 9 out of the 10 correctly. This app reads barcodes which on DVDs are almost always on the back of the case and usually on the bottom. You might consider this app as no matter how unreadable the graphics, a barcode is, well, a barcode.

Submitted by charles on Monday, September 8, 2014

There is an app called either "biz wiz" or "vis wiz" that might help with this problem. You take the picture and also record a question like, "What is the title of this movie?" and then send it to either a database, volunteer of the app developer, or either Twitter or faceBook (I don't remember which). Sorry that I don't recall the exact name of the app, but I hope this helps?

Submitted by jrjolley (not verified) on Monday, September 8, 2014


Although these camera apps with workers are great, they are a bit slow compared to a dedicated barcode scanner. I know they are expensive but I use the I.D. Mate from Envision America myself because I have 400 plus DVD/blu-ray/videogames that would just be so slow to deal with via web workers. Digit-eyes might be a bit better though as it does have online databases.

Submitted by Blindcat on Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I own Digiteyes and Vizwiz, but have yet to get a single successful scan out of either of them. For example, i double tap the scan button in Digiteyes and it just sits there and beeps at me with information on the screen indicating that it is scanning with a button to click if you want to stop the scan. No matter how I've held the phone, how I've placed the movie or any other tweak I've thought of, it never seems to progress.

I can't manage the cost of a bar code scanner at the moment. I've looked at a couple, but all of them were out of the current budget range.

It would be nice if I could get faster and more accurate results with another app. My backlog of unlabelled movies goes back to around 2007 and is well over 1000 movies. I am just slogging through and repeating some scans over and over again with Taptapsee. If I could get bar code scanning to work, it might be the better way to go since the bar code will not only tell me the title, but also which release of the movie. For example, I have three different copies of Avatar because each of them has something unique among all of the extras and such. But I just can't seem to get any of the apps to detect a bar code, let alone scan it and display results.

But even if I do get another app to work, I would still hope that the developers at Taptapsee might be persuaded to improve their identifying of media. I know a lot of people who use it, and to me having some policies in place for the people who identify pictures to help users get more useful information from the app. If I subscribed by number of pictures, I would be more than a little unhappy at having to use so many pictures just to identify one movie or album.

If anyone has some tips on scanning with the other apps using the camera, I would love to try those apps again.



Submitted by Mike Freeman on Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sure sounds to me like about eight hours of human reader time would be much more productive timewise in solving the problem than trying to find the illusory perfect app. And for those who consider this a "backward" comment, I use and enjoy my iPhone every day. But until we get STNG's Mr. Data, we're not going to do away with the utility of human readers IMO!

Submitted by TapTapSee on Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hi Blindcat,

Thank you for voicing your concerns and frustrations. I apologize for any inconvenience TapTapSee may have caused you. I assure you that I have forwarded your post to our development team in hopes of remedying these issues as soon as possible. We are constantly trying to improve TapTapSee, and posts from users like you help make that possible. I urge you or any one else to email us at with any questions or concerns you may encounter in the future. We always appreciate any and all feedback from our users.

For now, I can suggest some picture taking practices that may help with identifying objects such as DVDs in the future. I apologize if you already take these into account when using TapTapSee since you seem to be an avid user already:

1. It is advised to hold your device 8-12 inches (20-30 centimeters) away from the object being photographed. This method will help ensure that the object is in the scope of the camera.

2. TapTapSee has an autofocus notification to let the user know when the photographed object is in focus. For best practice, wait until the app beeps before taking a picture. The autofocus notification can be turned ON and OFF in the About menu.

3. For best results, pictures snapped with TapTapSee should be taken in a well lit environment. The app also features an automatic flash, which can be turned ON and OFF in the About menu.

I hope this has helped. Again, we hear your frustrations and concerns. We are actively working on some very new and exciting features that will assist in creating results with much less effort.

Thank you again.


The TapTapSee Team

Submitted by Orko on Friday, September 26, 2014

If you want to try scanning the UPC codes on the movies, try Red Laser, it's free, both to download and use.

Red Laser is very quick to capture a UPC code as soon as it sees it in the camera frame. I've had it catch them when either the UPC code and/or the phone was moving. With Digit Eyes, I've had it ignore UPC code that placed so that they took up most of the frame and were in focus. Usually, a UPC code Red Laser detects almost instantly, Digit Eyes takes 5 to 10 seconds to detect, if it detects it at all.

The only downside is that Red Laser's database of products isn't as extensive as the data base Digit Eyes uses.

Submitted by Troy on Monday, September 29, 2014

I don't know if anyone has suggested this to the tap tap see developers already, but I think they should add a feature like viz wiz to tap tap see where you can ask a question first before taking a picture, that way the identifiers would know exactly what you are looking for, like for example I use tap tap see on my thermostat a lot to find out temperature and stuff like that. Sometimes I need to take a few pictures to do this because sometimes they just tell me the manufacturer, the color, etc. but not the temperature like I am wanting. I suppose though having a feature like this would have to get approval by viz wiz or something so it doesn't run into a copyright issue.