How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

If you don’t use Spotlight search to its full potential on your iPhone or iPad, you really should. Here’s a guide to everything it can do.

One of your iPhone's most useful features hides in plain sight on your Home screen. You might rarely open it or never use it, but Spotlight search is quite powerful and can save you a lot of time and taps.

Let's explore what Spotlight on your iPhone or iPad lets you do so you can make full use of its utilities.

Accessing Spotlight and Basics

You can open Spotlight (also called Search) from any Home screen on your device; simply swipe from top to bottom to show it. If you prefer, you can also swipe from right to left on your leftmost Home screen to access the Today View. There, tap inside the Search box, which reveals the same Spotlight panel.

We've covered the basics of using Spotlight on your iPhone, so have a look at that overview to learn the fundamentals.

What Can You Do With Spotlight?

When you open Spotlight search, you'll see three main sections on its screen. First is a search bar, which lets you type or use the microphone icon to type via voice.

Next is the Siri Suggestions section. Here, you'll see suggestions for apps that you often use, especially at this specific time or at your current location. So if you regularly open Podcasts before bed or tend to launch Dropbox when you get to work, you should see those in Suggestions.

The more you use your iPhone, the better these suggestions will get. Tap the small arrow icon to the right of these suggestions to show four or eight at once.

Finally, there's a list of shortcuts for actions you frequently take in various apps. You might see prompts to open a certain note, send a message to a group chat in WhatsApp, or similar. These will also depend on what your iPhone learns about how you use it.

While all of these functions are useful, it's the search function that's most impressive, so let's dig more into that.

What Spotlight Finds on Your iPhone and the Web

Type anything into the search bar, and you'll instantly see matches for it across all sorts of apps and sources. In the example below, we've entered "echo." You can hit Search on the keyboard to finalize the query, but this isn't necessary. Doing so will usually change the order of the results.

First is a recommended app from the App Store, which you can install right away by tapping Get. Following that are web search suggestions, as well as recommended websites, that you can open in Safari. Next are options inside Settings that match your query, followed by a matching business profile you can call or text.

Further down, Spotlight shows emails matching the search, texts in Messages containing the term, podcasts you follow that match it, and even photos that contain that text. Siri Knowledge shows info about what an echo is from Wikipedia, while the Dictionary defines the word. These and other types of knowledge panels let you tap them to see more without opening a separate app.

If this all isn't enough for you, at the bottom of the search results, use the Search in Apps section to search apps like Messages, Podcasts, the App Store, and Maps for the query.

Other Types of Results in Search

This isn't an exhaustive list of results; your search will affect what appears in Spotlight results. Searching for a name will bring up entries in your contacts that you can call, message, or FaceTime. Some searches will show image results from the web, nearby places on Maps, or links to start playing something in Music.

Other results include events on your Calendar, stories from News, files in services like Dropbox, and friends in apps like Venmo. Tapping most of these will bring you to the relevant results in the app, but some results let you take action right from the search page.

Spotlight search will also show apps on your phone that match the search, which comes in handy when it seems like an iPhone app has disappeared. You can even drag an app from Spotlight results onto a Home screen.

Stop wasting time searching for an app or song on your iPhone or iPad

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Spotlight Search may be the most underused feature on the iPad or iPhone. Instead of hunting through page after page of apps, use the iPad’s search feature to find things for you. Because the search results update with each letter you type, you may only have to tap a few buttons to bring the item to the top of the screen.

Spotlight Search is about more than just launching apps, however. It searches your entire iOS device including your movie collection, music, contacts, and email. It also searches outside your iPad to bring in results from the web and the App Store. If you’re looking for an app that you deleted, the search results will include a link to its download page. Spotlight Search can also bring up information from Wikipedia and search results from Google.

Instructions in this article apply to devices running iOS 8 and later.

How to Open the Spotlight Search Screen

Open Spotlight Search by swiping left to right with your finger on the first page of the Home screen. If you run iOS 9 or earlier, swipe from the top down to open the search screen.

To open Spotlight Search, you usually must be on the Home screen and not in an app. Spotlight Search is available in Safari in iOS 8 and above.

The Spotlight Search screen that you see has a search bar at the top. It may also have other contents until you use it for a search, such as Siri App Suggestions, Weather, Calendar events and many other options, all of which you can activate or deactivate in Settings > Siri & Search.

How to Use Spotlight Search

Open the Spotlight Search screen and start typing the app's name in the search field. The app icon appears on the screen. Tap it directly from the results to open it.

When you Spotlight Search a TV show, the results display which episodes are available on Netflix, Hulu, or iTunes. You'll also find cast lists, games, websites, and other results related to the specific show you choose.

The feature can also save you time browsing your device's song library. Instead of opening the Music app and scrolling through a lengthy list for a particular item, open Spotlight Search and start typing in the name of the song or band. The search results quickly narrow, and tapping the name launches the song in the Music app.

You can also search nearby businesses like restaurants. For example, if you type "gas" in the search field, you'll get a list of nearby gas stations with distance and driving directions.

You can search for anything on your iPad including movies, contacts, and email messages. Spotlight Search can also search inside apps, so you might see results from a recipe app or a phrase saved in Notes or the Pages word processor.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Do you have many apps, files, emails, messages, contacts, and other data on the iPhone or iPad that you wish you could easily search through? It can be a challenge to scroll through all the home screen pages, contact lists, notes, emails, messages, and other stuff to find what you’re looking for on iOS and iPadOS, but there’s an easier way. This is exactly where Spotlight search comes in handy.

Spotlight is a powerful system-wide search feature that’s available on Apple’s iOS, iPadOS, and macOS devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It helps users find anything – files, text, contact information, emails, apps, info – that’s stored on their device, and it can even fetch results from the web. Thanks to the seamless Siri integration, Spotlight is capable of displaying suggestions based on your search history and updates results as you type too.

If you’re unfamiliar with Spotlight search on iPhone and iPad, then read on as we explain how you can use the Spotlight search feature on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

How to Use Search on iPhone & iPad with Spotlight

There are two ways to access Spotlight search on the iPhone and iPad, though one way is noticeably faster than the other. Let’s take a look at how you can access and start using Spotlight on your device:

    The quickest way to access Spotlight search would be by swiping down on the home screen, this opens the keyboard automatically and eliminates the need for a second input. You can also access Spotlight by simply swiping right on the home screen of iPhone or iPad, this takes you to the “Today View” section with the search bar on top.

Now you know how how to get started with Spotlight search on your iPhone and iPad to find stuff on your device.

Try it out by searching for apps, emails, messages, notes, contacts, and just about anything else that’s stored on your iPhone or iPad.

From being able to find apps on your device to searching literally anything on the web right from the comfort of your home screen, Spotlight has a lot to offer and is a great way to navigate the depths of an iPhone or iPad. Once you get used to this feature, you may never want to scroll through home screen pages to find apps, a giant address book in Contacts, or even opening your browser to fetch web search results quickly. Spotlight is quite powerful so try it out and use it enough to master it, you’re sure to appreciate the feature.

Apart from all that, there are some fun and useful things that you could do with Spotlight. You could find restaurants with just emojis on your iPhone or iPad. Let’s say you type in the pizza emoji, Spotlight would fetch you results of restaurants that serve Pizza. Kind of neat, isn’t it?

Additionally, if you want to quickly convert currency, you don’t really need to open your web browser. Just type in the currency value as you normally would on Google, and Spotlight would display the most accurate exchange rate.

And as was alluded to earlier, you can also search Wikipedia and the web from Spotlight too, so even if something isn’t on your device you can still look for it or seek it out.

Spotlight has a ton of features, and there’s also a capability called Siri Suggestions that some users may like or dislike, if you’re not a fan of that you can turn off Siri suggestions in search and you’ll stop seeing things that the virtual assistant isn’t being used for Spotlight searches.

As mentioned earlier, Spotlight is also available on macOS and functions in a fairly similar way. So, if you own a MacBook, iMac or Mac Pro, you might be interested in learning how you can get information regarding anything using Spotlight on your Mac.

We’ve covered a ton of Spotlight topics over the years for the Apple ecosystem, browse around those articles and you’re sure to learn something new.

What do you think of Spotlight search feature oo iPhone and iPad? Do you swipe down or swipe right to access it? Has it changed the way you access apps and search for information? Let us know your experiences, thoughts, and opinions in the comments!

Spotlight, Apple’s system-wide search feature, lets you search for apps, contacts, messages, webpages, music, notes, and other content that’s on and off your iPhone. On iOS, it’s known as “Search,” and you can access it by swiping your home screen down or swiping open the Today View screen. It’s not exactly convenient, but an accessibility feature can unlock Search so you could open it from anywhere.

The accessibility feature in question is Back Tap, and it’s only available in iOS 14 and later. Back Tap gives you quick access to certain things on your iPhone, such as apps, services, and shortcuts. To trigger it, you just tap the back of your iPhone two or three times, and the set action opens or runs. One of the best use-cases for Back Tap is being able to open Search from anywhere on your iPhone, not just from the home screen or Today View.

Whether you’re browsing the internet in Safari or playing a game from the App Store, you can easily tap the back of your iPhone to perform a quick search of your device or the web. Tapping a result will open it in the appropriate app, but you don’t always need to leave the app you’re currently in. For instance, if you want to know the definition of a word or the answer to a mathematical problem, back-tap to open Search, type in the word or equation, read the result, then exit Search to return directly to what you were doing before.

  • Don’t Miss: Quickly Open Apps Just by Tapping the Back of Your iPhone


Back Tap only works with iOS 14 and later. Additionally, not all iPhone models are supported. While the iPhone 6 S , 6 S Plus, SE (1st generation), 7, and 7 Plus can all run iOS 14, they can’t use Back Tap. Only models with an A11 Bionic or newer chip can. To be more specific, Back Tap works with the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X, X S , X S Max, X R , 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, SE (2nd generation), 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max.

Step 1: Set the Back Tap Gesture

To use Search with Back Tap, launch the Settings app and navigate to Accessibility –> Touch –> Back Tap. Next, choose either “Double Tap” or “Triple Tap.”

Two taps will make it easier to access Search but can also make it easier to trigger accidentally. Three taps will cut down on accidental activations but tapping three times may take getting used to.

Finally, scroll down and tap on the “Spotlight” option underneath the System header. You can now exit the Settings app because that’s all you need to do.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad alt=”Use This Trick to Quickly Access Spotlight Search from Anywhere on Your iPhone” width=”532″ height=”532″ />

Step 2: Run Search from Anywhere on Your iPhone

Now, tap the back of your iPhone twice or thrice, depending on what you set, to run Search from anywhere on your device. Instead of just the home screen, you can search your device from within any app. However, there are a few places where it won’t work, and those include the lock screen, Notification Center, or App Library.

For the lock screen and Notification Center, you can just swipe right to get to the leftmost Today View, which includes the Search tool. For the App Library, you can just exit back to the home screen and use Back Tap or pull down on the home page to get to Search.

The Search page allows you to perform various actions. You can start typing an app’s name and hit “go” on the keyboard if the highlighted app is the one you want, or you can tap on a different app result. You can calculate math problems and get results instantly without having to open the Calculator. You can view Siri Suggestions to open recommended apps and actions. And you can do a basic search for things on your device or in certain apps, as well as a quick web search.

Tap on any result to open the app or action, or hit “Cancel” up top or swipe up from the bottom of the Search page to return to where you were.

  • Don’t Miss: iOS 14’s Revamped Search Can Help Open Hidden Apps Faster

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad alt=”Use This Trick to Quickly Access Spotlight Search from Anywhere on Your iPhone” width=”222″ height=”222″ />

And again, “Spotlight” and “Search” can be used interchangeably. Apple’s development site still refers to it as Spotlight, as well as the Back Tap settings, but iOS user guides and the Siri settings refer to it as Search only.

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How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Once you’ve started using your iPad’s Spotlight search feature, you’re never going to lose anything on your device ever again.

Spotlight saves you time you’d otherwise waste searching for the item or website you want — all you need to do is type in the name of what you’re looking for, and it will be brought to you.

In short, Spotlight is your iPad’s one stop shop for searching for just about anything, whether it’s on the iPad itself or somewhere online. Here’s how to use it.

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How to search on your iPad using Spotlight

From the iPad’s lock screen, you can swipe right with one finger to open the Widgets menu. At the top of the screen is a search bar — type in it to use Spotlight search.

Once the iPad is unlocked, swipe to the right from the first page of your homescreen, and again you’ll find the search bar at the top of the screen.

On most iPads, when the tablet is unlocked, you can also swipe downward from the middle of any homescreen page to pull up the search feature.

As you type, Spotlight will suggest apps, Google searches, definitions, and more. It’s a great way to find information, even if you haven’t lost anything.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

If you’re an avid Apple fan, then you might be familiar with the “Spotlight search” feature in the company’s devices. On Macs, you can access this useful search feature anywhere by pressing the “magnifier” button at the top bar or by pressing “Command” and the spacebar. However, in iOS and iPadOS, you can access the “Spotlight search” only on the home screen by swiping down from the middle of the screen. On the contrary, what if I say that you can access the “Spotlight” search bar anywhere on your iPhones and iPads?

So, the trick is to use the “AssistiveTouch” feature in iOS and iPadOS to access the “Spotlight search”.

Now, the “AssistiveTouch” is an accessibility feature that is present in iOS and iPadOS for easy-access to different features. It is essentially a floating interface that you can tap to bring up a platter with a set of buttons to perform various actions in the OS.

This platter can contain up to 8 buttons from an array of other button options. And here, we can add the “Spotlight” button to access the search feature anywhere on iOS and iPadOS.

Access “Spotlight Search” Anywhere on iOS and iPadOS

So, here is how you can turn on “AssistiveTouch” and add the “Spotlight” button in iOS and iPadOS to access “Spotlight Search” anywhere.

Turn On “AssistiveTouch”

  • Go to “Settings”.
  • Scroll down to find “Accessibility”.
  • Inside the “Accessibility” settings, tap the “Touch” button under the “Physical and Motor” section.
  • On the top, tap the “AssistiveTouch” option.
  • On this page, toggle the “AssisitiveTouch” button to turn it on.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Add “Spotlight” to “AssistiveTouch” Platter

Now, that you have turned on “AssistiveTouch”, let’s add the “Spotlight” option to the button platter.

  • So, on the “AssistiveTouch” page, tap the “Customize Top Level Menu” option.
  • Here, tap any of the existing buttons to open a list of buttons to choose from.
  • In this list, find “Spotlight” and tap it select.
  • Now, tap the “Done” button at the top right corner to add the button to the “AssisitveTouch” platter.

So now, you can access the “Spotlight search” anywhere inside the OS rather than just on the home. When inside any app, just tap the floating “AssistiveTouch” button to open up the platter and from there tap the “magnifier” icon to invoke the “Spotlight search”.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Now, this is a pretty nifty trick which I also discovered recently from a Reddit post. It was shared by u/yashinodon on the r/iOS subreddit and all thanks to the Redditor for sharing this helpful trick with the world.

Apple long ago perfected system search on their computers and laptops with a system called Spotlight. Spotlight is quickly accessible and searches automatically for documents, settings, applications and other items and displays the results as you type. It is so good that Microsoft started copying the feature in Windows Vista and came close to duplicating it in Windows 7 and 8.

Anyway, I digress. Apple brought that great search to their mobile devices and operating system and it is equally useful and quick. To access Spotlight on your mobile device, you can either push your home button once, pause and then push it again OR you can swipe all the way to left most screen. When the Spotlight search screen appears, the keyboard automatically appears as well and you can start typing the first few characters of an app (VERY helpful if you have many, many apps and screens), a contact, a reminder, a song, a calendar item or many other pieces of information on your device. It makes navigating your iPhone or iPad MUCH faster.

Watch the short video below to see a couple of examples of how to use Spotlight search and how to customize the results just for you.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Spotlight for iPhone and iPad is a way to search your device, the web, the App Store, and Maps for things you need quickly.

To access Spotlight search:

  1. Swipe left on the Home screen or Lock screen.
  2. Tap the search bar at the top of the screen.
  3. Enter your search query.

That’s it. Here are the best uses for Spotlight!

Find that hidden app

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

If you’ve downloaded all the apps, then you likely have many of them stored in folders. Rather than swiping through each page of your Home screen and frantically searching through each and every folder, just type the name of the app into Spotlight.

You’ll see the app under Applications. If that app has settings to be adjusted, you can even access its setting from Spotlight as well.

Search for notes, messages, and more

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

If you jotted something down in Notes a few weeks ago but can only remember part of it and don’t want to sift through everything you’ve written since, you can quickly search for it in Spotlight.

Start typing a few words from the note or message and it’ll appear under the app it’s associated with in the Spotlight results.

Search the App Store, Maps, and the web

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

You can search all three right from Spotlight. If you’re unsure of where you’ll get the best result from your query, search spotlight and check out the results!

Just how bad is the Canadian Dollar?

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

If you know the shorthand for world currencies, you can use Spotlight as a quick currency converter! All you have to do is type something like “1 cad to usd”, and it should pop up immediately with answer for you — no Google search necessary.

If you decide to type out “How many yen in one Canadian dollar,” however, then you’ll be directed to search the web, App Store, or Map.

What calculator app?

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Are you already on your Today view screen? Why bother opening up the Calculator app when you can just search “1×216”? Using shorthand for math calculations will show quick answers in Spotlight.

If you decide you want to go longhand and write “one divided by twelve plus ten minus two times twenty-six,” then you’ll still be able to search Google and Google’s calculator will do the work for you. Though at that point, you might as well have used the calculator app.

Quickly launch apps

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

If you want an array of apps that you use regularly, just tap that Spotlight search bar and you’ll see Siri app suggestions! These are the apps you use most or the apps that are most relevant to the other apps you use most.

Keep stuff out of the Spotlight

If you don’t want the contents of certain apps and services to appear in Spotlight, you can disable them so they don’t show up. Here’s how:

  1. Launch Settings.
  2. Tap Siri & Search.
  3. Tap the app you’d like to disable in Spotlight.

Tap the switch to turn it off. Gray is off.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Any other tips?

How do you use Spotlight? Do you even use it at all? Let us know in the comments below!

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Check How to Customize Spotlight Search on iPhone and iPad

New iOS users will never think about Search: Spotlight Search and then how to manage and customize Spotlight Search on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch when searching on the latest iOS. But Apple’s powerful search tools for iOS devices, Spotlight Search, provide amazing results from installed apps, saved contacts, notes, iBooks, videos, podcasts, music, audiobooks, voice memos, events, reminders, messages, and emails. Have you used Spotlight search on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad but are curious about how to customize your results? Part of what makes iOS Spotlight great is the fact that you can customize the results to display exactly the way you want.

I tend to move apps around folders and on my home screen quite often, so I’d rather use Spotlight to find them than have to crawl through folders and pages. Not only can you teach Spotlight which results are most important to you, but you can also choose not to show certain items in searches. I don’t want songs from my iPod to show up, so I turned that setting off. Nearly 100% of the time I use Spotlight, I’m looking for an app or an email. I configured Spotlight to show these results before anything else.

How to organize Spotlight search

If you’re running an iOS version between 8 and 10, you can change the order of the different categories in search by dragging and dropping the category.

  • First, we will have to go to the iPad Settings. This is the app that looks like gears turning.
  • In iPad settings, choose General from the menu on the left side. This will open the general settings.
  • Under General, choose Spotlight Search. This option is near the top, just below the Siri settings.
  • Spotlight search settings allow you to turn specific categories on or off and reorder where a category is displayed in the list. If you primarily use Spotlight search to find apps, you should move the apps to the top of the list. If you’re more interested in finding music or movies on your iPad, you can move them to the top of the list.
  • To move a category, press and hold your fingertip on the three horizontal lines to the right of the category list. While keeping your finger pressed, slide the category up or down in the list and release your finger when it’s in the right place.

Final words: How to Customize Spotlight Search on iPhone and iPad

I hope you understand this article How to Customize Spotlight Search on iPhone and iPad, if your answer is no then you can ask anything via contact forum section related to this article. And if your answer is yes then please share this article with your family and friends.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Now, as per the below-outlined picture, keep all apps search unselected. And then go for searching on Spotlight search you don’t get any content of iPhone, iPad.

You can see below the iOS iPhone screen, do all apps slider turn off the spotlight search screen, and that’s it.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

The spotlight tool is not case sensitive so, you can text uppercase, or lower case latter doesn’t matter, and you’ll get the same things that you want to search. Moreover, Apple suggests some good content to Search on to the Safari browser, Such as Wikipedia, Nearby Places, News articles, iTunes Store, App Store, and iBook Store. Apart from Safari, you can use Spotlight Search to find Contact, Calendar & Reminders, Mail, Messages, Music and Video, and Podcasts.

Know your experience with us on this tip on how to Turn ON /Off Spotlight on iOS. Leave a comment in the below comment box on how this is helpful for you.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been helping someone out with their iPhone—a neighbor, friend, or family member—and I have to walk them through finding something with Spotlight. When I explain that a simple drag-down on the home screen lets them search for anything on their phone—an app, contact, contents of an iMessage or email, photo—I can practically see the light bulb go off.

And then, inevitably, they go right back to pecking around their six pages of home screen icons trying to find where they put the Settings app.

Spotlight is the most criminally underused feature of the iPhone, and it’s getting better in iOS 15. Now if only Apple would fix its biggest problem: discoverability.

Just swipe down… no, not there!

If Spotlight has a problem, it’s that so few people seem to even know it exists. Oh sure, you probably use Spotlight every day. Macworld readers tend to be a little more informed about the ins and outs of their Apple hardware, understandably. But out of the billion-plus iPhone users in the world, it consistently seems like a fairly small percentage of them seem to know about Spotlight search and what it can do. There are two ways to access Spotlight search, and neither one of them seem to be obvious enough.

First, you can swipe down from somewhere on the home screen (and with iOS 15, even the lock screen). Each time I tell someone to do this, they invariably swipe from the top edge of the screen, opening the Notification Center or Control Center instead of Spotlight. Oops. “No, swipe down from the middle,” I always say, which makes them swipe down on the middle of their notifications. “Sorry, I mean, on your home screen, swipe down on the middle…” and there’s a 50/50 chance the person will actually get to the search page instead of opening the context menu for whatever icon or folder is in the middle of their home screen. Sigh.

The other way to get there is to simply swipe right, until you’re looking at the widgets screen to the left of the first home screen. Frankly, a lot of iPhone users seem unaware that this screen exists. There’s a search bar at the top for Spotlight, but it’s not at all clear that it searches all the stuff on your iPhone, plus the web. If a person is aware of that at all, they probably think it just searches the stuff on that screen and maybe widgets. That would make sense, right? There’s a search bar just like this at the top of the App Library, after all, and it only searches the App Library. Yeah, it’s actually labeled “App Library” but most users don’t seem to get past the superficial similarities to pay attention to that distinction.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipadMost iPhone users seem unaware that this search bar can find nearly anything on their phone and the web.

Spotlight is getting even better

In iOS 15, Apple’s making Spotlight search even better.

Your searches will deliver more results from your phone, even the contents of photos (search for “sign” or “car”, or even for text within photos!). Results from the App Store are better, and you can install apps right from the Spotlight results. Search for things like actors, musicians, or movies and you’ll get richer details. You can get web images, better definitions, Wikipedia listings, and probably a bunch of other stuff I haven’t found yet.

Honestly, whether you’re looking for content on your iPhone or just want to search the web, using Spotlight search in iOS 15 may be the best place to start.

But for all of Apple’s welcome improvements to this already killer feature, it still isn’t making the one change that would mean the most: making people aware of it.

Spotlight, front and center

Apple needs to make Spotlight a little more obvious. Google has long since put a search bar right on the Android home screen, but then Google is a search company that makes money off ads.

Maybe this is crazy talk, but I think it’s high time the Dock gets replaced by something more useful. A dock makes sense on the Mac, where lots of things are visible at once, but on the iPhone? All apps are full screen, so the Dock is hidden unless you’re on a home screen anyway. And between Widgets, the App Library, and folders, the idea that you’ll need these to keep these four specific apps at the bottom of every home screen just seems outdated. On the Mac or iPad it’s always available (and has more functionality), but on the iPhone, the dock is just another row of App icons you can only see when you’re on the home screen.

I don’t know about you, but I’d use a Spotlight bar a lot more than four app icons I could just as easily just place anywhere else on my home screen. I doubt Apple would go so far as to replace the dock with a search bar. But maybe a widget? Apple definitely needs to do something to clue in everyday iPhone users that there’s this magic search feature that locates anything on their phone a lot faster than poking around and browsing through apps, not to mention deliver lots of relevant web content.

Before you can use Search to find 1Password items and vaults, you’ll need to turn on Spotlight Search in the 1Password app:

  1. Open and unlock 1Password.
  2. Tap Settings > General.
  3. Tap to turn on Spotlight Search.

From now on, you’ll be able to search for 1Password items and vaults without even opening the 1Password app.

Use Search

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

There are two ways to use Search to find 1Password items and vaults on your iPhone or iPad:

  • Drag down from the middle of the Home screen.
  • Drag right from the Home screen to show Search and Siri Suggestions.

Then enter the name of the 1Password item or vault you’re looking for. When you find what you need, tap it to open it in 1Password.

Get help

Sometimes, it may take a few minutes for 1Password items and vaults to appear in searches.

If you turned on Spotlight Search more than a few minutes ago, and you still aren’t seeing 1Password items or vaults, follow these steps. Try again after each step:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap Siri & Search. Scroll down and select 1Password, then tap Siri & Suggestions.
  2. Restart your iPhone or iPad.

For your protection, 1Password limits searches to item and vault names. Open 1Password to search for usernames, tags, or other fields.

Using Search to find 1Password requires iOS 9 or later, but it is not available on iPhone 4s, iPad 2, iPad (3rd generation), iPad mini (1st generation), or iPod touch (5th generation).

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipadWilliam Gallagher | Dec 16, 2021

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission as an Amazon Associate and affiliate partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content.

Spotlight is much more useful in iOS 15, with improvements including new items it can search for, and new intelligence behind its searching, too.

The first, most visual difference in Spotlight under iOS 15 is that much of the time, it opens with two rows of app suggestions. Swipe down from the center of any homepage on your iPhone, and you can now get eight suggested apps.

You may instead just get four, though, with the second row being taken over by a button for a Shortcut.

Just as before, the suggestions for either the apps or the Shortcuts are far from random. They’re based on what you use the most, and also when you use it. So the chances of the app you need being right there in the list are higher than ever.

It’s just that this is now far from the only useful thing Spotlight does on iPhone.

How to install apps from Spotlight

  1. Swipe down to open Spotlight
  2. Start typing the name of an app
  3. If it isn’t installed already, you’ll get an App Store link
  4. Tap on that and you’re installing the app immediately

This also works if you’ve previously bought a version of the app and deleted it. Then you get the option to redownload, but otherwise the process is the same.

It’s not an enormous saving in time, but it is some. Rather than opening the App Store, typing what you want and wading by other similar-sounding apps that have somehow come first in the list, you can go straight to what you need.

You do need to know the name of the app you want, but if you don’t, there is still a slightly quicker alternative to how this used to work. Type a description of an app, then scroll right to the bottom of Spotlight’s results list, and you’ll find Search App Store.

How to delete apps using Spotlight

  1. Open Spotlight and start typing an app’s name
  2. When it appears, press and hold on the app’s icon
  3. Choose Delete App
  4. Tap Delete to confirm

This also works with apps that Spotlight has suggested you may want to use next.

There is a seemingly long, long-lasting bug in iOS, however. You’re unlikely to see this, but some users find that Spotlight will not find an app even when it’s installed.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Instead, you get a listing for the app store, maybe for the developer’s website, just not the app you’ve already got. It’s a reasonably rare bug that predates iOS 14, but if you’ve had it before, iOS 15 seemingly does not fix it.

More intelligent searching in Spotlight

This is sometimes quite subtle, but overall iOS 15 is consistently better at returning search results that you want. Search for, say, a TV show, and the first few results may be the same as they were on iOS 14.

But then you’ll get a couple of better, deeper links to details of the show online. One issue is that you sometimes need to type a show’s name, then hit Return.

As you’re typing the name, iOS will try autocompleting it. At some point quite soon, it’s going to get the show’s name right, and it will display an icon for it.

If you tap that icon, sometimes you go off into the Apple TV app with options for searching for where to watch. If, instead, you finish typing the name and tap Return, you definitely get a show page right there in Spotlight.

It lists where you can watch that show, gives a description plus its first air date, cast, crew, and direct links to different seasons online.

There’s also more intelligent searching offline. That’s because new Spotlight can take advantage of the new Live Text, too.

Open Spotlight and start typing some words you remember seeing in a photograph. Spotlight should surface that image among its results.

Contacts in the new Spotlight

This is going to take some retraining. Depending on when you got your first iPhone, you’ve either always automatically opened the Phone app when you want to find someone, or the Contacts app.

It’s the same data, it’s just that Apple introduced an actual Contacts app a little while after the iPhone came out.

Now you can reach the same data, and possibly a little more, by ignoring both Phone and Contacts apps. Search in Spotlight instead and now you may get a much fuller result.

It does depend on who you’re searching for and what information you’ve got about them, though.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

There’s more

Your mileage is going to vary on this because it depends what kind of events you have in your calendar, and what companies you may be meeting with. Generally speaking, if you type a company name, you should get details of when your meeting is.

But if their name happens to be the same as a film, good luck with that. Yes, you can end up getting the film’s details instead.

If that becomes an issue, though, you may not be able to improve it, but you can stop it happening. The new iOS 15 gives you practically ridiculous control over what is and is not displayed in Spotlight.

How to refine Spotlight searches to what you want

  1. Open Settings
  2. Go to Siri & Search
  3. Scroll down past Suggestions from Apple to the list of apps
  4. Tap on any app
  5. Set your options

You can set whether Spotlight and Siri learn from how you use this app, which might help. You can switch off just what information Spotlight and Siri will show you from the app.

There are two options that ought to be a boon. Suggest App tends to default to on, and Suggest App tends to default to off.

You would think that setting Suggest App to on would solve the old bug of Spotlight not showing you some apps you have. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.

At least, not if you happen to be someone who has this rare bug. If it’s all working for you, you could use turn this Suggest App to off in order to avoid a particular app showing up all the time.

Spotlight is a system-wide search system that facilitates quick item discovery on iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Unfortunately, the iOS version always lacked functionality and hasn’t been very accurate.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

With iOS 15, Apple is finally changing that to make Spotlight more powerful. So now, in addition to returning accurate results, it also offers rich search options and the ability to install/delete apps, carry out web image searches, and look up photos on your device.

Of all these, the ability to search photos through the Spotlight search happens to be the most valuable Spotlight feature. Follow along as we discuss the steps on how to use Spotlight to search photos on iPhone in iOS 15. [These steps also work for iPads running iPadOS 15, so you can follow this guide if you own an iPad too.]

Steps to Search Photos in iOS 15 Using Spotlight

First things first, make sure you have Spotlight for Photos enabled on your iPhone. Usually, this functionality is enabled by default, but in case it isn’t, follow these steps to enable it:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Go to Siri & Search.
    How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad
  3. Scroll down and tap Photos.
    How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad
  4. Toggle on the button for the following options: Show App in Search, Show Content in Search, Show on Home Screen, and Suggest App.
    How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

With Spotlight for Photos enabled, you can search photos in the Photos app from Spotlight using the following steps:

  1. Swipe down on the Home Screen or Lock Screen to bring up Spotlight.
    How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad
  2. Type “photos” and enter your search term. Ideally, Spotlight can identify people, scenes, locations, and objects in images on your device. Not just that, thanks to Live Text, you can look up text in your photos, and Spotlight will pull up relevant results.
  3. Click on the Show More option to view all the photos that contain the search term. This includes results for both: photos that include your query subject, under the Photos section, and the photos that contain your query text in them, under the Text Found in Photos section.
    How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad
  4. In case you want to search for something else, tap on the Spotlight search bar and remove the text after Photos with your new query.

When searching for photos on Spotlight, make sure you always prepend your searches with the term “photo” to restrict results only to images and ignore everything else.

Although rare, in case the Spotlight fails to show results for your queries, you can use the following solutions to fix it:

  1. Reopen Spotlight search.
  2. Verify if Spotlight has access to Photos. (Refer to steps earlier in this section for this.)
  3. Try accessing Spotlight from the Home Screen (if it doesn’t work on the Lock Screen).
  4. Restart your iPhone or iPad.

While the Spotlight search functionality on iOS 15 is really convenient and comes in handy when you want to quickly find images on your device, there may be times when you wouldn’t want these results to appear within your search results, maybe due to privacy concerns.

In such situations, you can choose what items appear on the Spotlight search results by using the steps below:

  1. Open Settings and go to Siri & Search.
  2. Scroll down to select Photos and toggle off the button next to the options under WHILE SEARCHING and SUGGESTIONS options to disable them. Ideally, you want to make sure the Show Content in Search option is disabled.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Finding Photos in iOS 15 Efficiently Using Spotlight

Using the Spotlight search functionality in iOS 15, you can easily find photos on your iPhone right from the Home Screen or Lock Screen without having to go into the Photos app. This not only saves you a few steps but also brings essentially the same search functionality that you’d otherwise find in the Photos app at your disposal.

One of the advantages of iPhones is superior RAM power. Experts have observed that iPhones users hardly experience slow performance of device, and therefore, they are inspired to download more and more apps on the devices. To search apps, they generously use Spotlight Search facility given on iPhone.

Spotlight Search is the coolest way to open an app instead of browsing the screen of your phone. Just swipe down on your home screen or swipe from left to right, and Spotlight Search is at your disposal. Type in the name of any app and it will be shown in the results below. From here, you can tap on the app and start using it. This feature also tells you if you have already removed any app from your phone. But this generous use of Spotlight Search creates a lot of search history below the Spotlight Search bar.

Unfortunately, there is no feature that can help you remove Spotlight Search history from iPhone running on iOS 10. But there is a trick that can come to your rescue. We have listed a few steps that can delete Spotlight Search history.

How to Clear Spotlight Search History in iPhone Running iOS 10

Remember that this is just a trick as Apple doesn’t offer any given option to fix the issue. You can call it a workaround to delete the Spotlight Search history from your iPhone or iPad.

If you are iOS 11, then follow this guide to clear it.

Step #1: Launch Settings app on your iPhone/iPad.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Step #2: Tap on General.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Step #3: Open Spotlight Search option.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Step #4: Now simply toggle Siri Suggestions OFF and after a few seconds turn on the same option.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

That’s it! This action will clear the search history in Spotlight on your iPhone running on iOS 10.

Remember that there are already some Siri Suggestions available under Spotlight Search bar. And this will remain there even if you disable and enable Siri Suggestions on your iPhone. Spotlight Search history will be displayed below the default Siri Suggestions.

I wish Apple had given a facility to swipe the Spotlight Search history – swipe up, down, right or left. If there was any such feature, it could have been easy just like we swipe up the apps from App switcher to remove the background running apps on our iPhone and iPad. This would have saved our time, which we waste by going in the Settings General Spotlight Search Siri Suggestions.

Let’s hope, Apple pays some attention to this in its next iOS update. Till then, keep reading this blog and keep sharing your feedback with us on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

With the upcoming release of iOS 15 for Apple mobile devices, Apple’s built-in search feature known as Spotlight will become a lot more functional. In what may be one of its bigger updates since it introduced Siri Suggestions, the new version of Spotlight is becoming an alternative to Google for several key queries, including web images and information about actors, musicians, TV shows and movies. It will also now be able to search across your photo library, deliver richer results for contacts, and connect you more directly with apps and the information they contain. It even allows you to install apps from the App Store without leaving Spotlight itself.

Spotlight is also more accessible than ever before.

Years ago, Spotlight moved from its location to the left of the Home screen to become available with a swipe down in the middle of any screen in iOS 7, which helped grow user adoption. Now, it’s available with the same swipe-down gesture on the iPhone’s Lock Screen, too.

You can access spotlight from the lock screen #iOS15 (locked or unlocked)

— Alex Fife (@alextfife) June 9, 2021

Apple showed off a few of Spotlight’s improvements during its keynote address at its Worldwide Developers Conference, including the search feature’s new cards for looking up information on actors, movies and shows, as well as musicians. This change alone could redirect a good portion of web searches away from Google or dedicated apps like IMDb.

For years, Google has been offering quick access to common searches through its Knowledge Graph, a knowledge base that allows it to gather information from across sources and then use that to add informational panels above and the side of its standard search results. Panels on actors, musicians, shows and movies are available as part of that effort.

But now, iPhone users can just pull up this info on their home screen.

The new cards include more than the typical Wikipedia bio and background information you may expect — they also showcase links to where you can listen or watch content from the artist or actor or movie or show in question. They include news articles, social media links, official websites and even direct you to where the searched person or topic may be found inside your own apps (e.g. a search for “Billie Eilish” may direct you to her tour tickets inside SeatGeek, or a podcast where she’s a guest).

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Image Credits: Apple

For web image searches, Spotlight also now allows you to search for people, places, animals and more from the web — eating into another search vertical Google today provides.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Image Credits: iOS 15 screenshot

Your personal searches have been upgraded with richer results, too, in iOS 15.

When you search for a contact, you’ll be taken to a card that does more than show their name and how to reach them. You’ll also see their current status (thanks to another iOS 15 feature), as well as their location from FindMy, your recent conversations on Messages, your shared photos, calendar appointments, emails, notes and files. It’s almost like a personal CRM system.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Image Credits: Apple

Personal photo searches have also been improved. Spotlight now uses Siri intelligence to allow you to search your photos by the people, scenes and elements in your photos, as well as by location. And it’s able to leverage the new Live Text feature in iOS 15 to find the text in your photos to return relevant results.

This could make it easier to pull up photos where you’ve screenshot a recipe, a store receipt, or even a handwritten note, Apple said.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Image Credits: Apple

A couple of features related to Spotlight’s integration with apps weren’t mentioned during the keynote.

Spotlight will now display action buttons on the Maps results for businesses that will prompt users to engage with that business’s app. In this case, the feature is leveraging App Clips, which are small parts of a developer’s app that let you quickly perform a task even without downloading or installing the app in question. For example, from Spotlight you may be prompted to pull up a restaurant’s menu, buy tickets, make an appointment, order takeout, join a waitlist, see showtimes, pay for parking, check prices and more.

The feature will require the business to support App Clips in order to work.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Image Credits: iOS 15 screenshot

Another under-the-radar change — but a significant one — is the new ability to install apps from the App Store directly from Spotlight.

This could prompt more app installs, as it reduces the steps from a search to a download, and makes querying the App Store more broadly available across the operating system.

Developers can additionally choose to insert a few lines of code to their app to make data from the app discoverable within Spotlight and customize how it’s presented to users. This means Spotlight can work as a tool for searching content from inside apps — another way Apple is redirecting users away from traditional web searches in favor of apps.

However, unlike Google’s search engine, which relies on crawlers that browse the web to index the data it contains, Spotlight’s in-app search requires developer adoption.

Still, it’s clear Apple sees Spotlight as a potential rival to web search engines, including Google’s.

“Spotlight is the universal place to start all your searches,” said Apple SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi during the keynote event.

Spotlight, of course, can’t handle “all” your searches just yet, but it appears to be steadily working towards that goal.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipadBen Patterson

With speculation that Apple intends to create its own Google-replacing search engine, it seems to be a good time to focus on a few of the more powerful things Spotlight can already do for you on both Mac and iOS devices.

Learn to make the most of Spotlight

Command-Space to invoke Spotlight is the single most useful command on your Mac. It can help you find almost anything on your Mac or online.

Want to open an app? Tap Command-Space and begin typing the app name until it appears, then press Return to launch the app. Want to open a document? Begin typing its name until you find it in the Documents view.

To select items in the dropdown list that you can see, just use the up/down arrows, and press Return when you want to open something. You can also use it to get to System Preferences. (I find this approach faster than using Siri.) You’ll find lots more useful Spotlight search tips here.

What does Spotlight search for you

On a Mac, Spotlight searches all kinds of things for you, Applications, bookmarks contacts, documents, films, folders, fonts and so much more. You can limit the search categories it looks up in System Preferences>Spotlight where you uncheck asset types you don’t want included.

When navigating results, just hold down Command and use the up/down arrow keys to slip between categories.

Spotlight works a little differently on iOS devices, as search is organized on a per-app basis in Settings>Siri & Search, where you can set some apps not to be searched.

The bottom line is that Spotlight on your Apple device can look through just about everything, including parsing Safari search results, which now rely on Apple’s own Applebot-based search engine. You can ask Spotlight to search the Web, App Store, Maps or Ask Siri using a selection of options at the bottom of a results page

Show all in the Finder on a Mac

When you search for something on your Mac, you can ask Spotlight to show you all the search results – just scroll down the search results and let it know you want to “Show All in Finder” using the item you’ll find at the end of the list.

  • You’ll be given a set of results that show all the items matching that term residing on your Mac.
  • Tap the gears icon on the top row and you’ll find a range of tools with which to optimize that search: Group by Name to alphabetize the results, for example.
  • You can also tap the small Save button to save a search. When you do, you can choose where to save this search item and it will automatically run when you select it.
  • Like any other item you can drag the saved search into the left-hand column to your Favorites, which means that particular search will always be available in your Finder. This is useful when used with tags to manage project files.

You can also copy files and folders directly from the Spotlight search results, rather than navigating to the original file.

Finally, to get the full file path of a searched for item – to find where on your Mac it is – tap Command and wait a little while for the information to appear.

A power search tip

Spotlight on a Mac understands Boolian search queries. This means you can ask it to find, for example, a document written by a specific author that contains specific text. To do this, open a Spotlight window and write:

some of the text you are looking for author:jonny OR author:jon

The search will look for the words “some of the text you are looking for” in documents written by Jonny or Jon. You can find out lots more concerning complex search using Spotlight on a Mac at Apple’s own support pages.

Use your voice

Yes, you can use Siri to make a search. But if you want to use Spotlight, don’t neglect that on both Macs and iPhones, you can dictate the search – so long as dictation is enabled on your Mac. On an iPhone or iPad, just tap the microphone button on the keyboard.

Search in an app or find more

You can focus your searches to a particular app when working with Spotlight on an iOS device. Begin your search and review the results you see; depending on the nature of those results, you may see the phrase “Search in App” – tap this to search within that app.

In other cases (Files, for example), you may find the Show More button. You should tap this to find more results from within Files. If you use iCloud Drive, you should find Files search yields a very similar collection of documents to those on your Mac, assuming you sync them all.

Don’t forget, not every app contains items you are likely to need to search for. So you can prune the length of search result lists if you remove those apps you don’t want searched by unchecking them in the apps list in Settings>Siri & Search.

I hope this quick whistle-stop tour of Spotlight on Macs, iPhones and iPads helps you make better use of Apple’s data indexing service, which now appears to (privately) index all the world’s data, both online and on your device.

Jonny is a freelance writer who has been writing (mainly about Apple and technology) since 1999.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

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With iOS 14, Apple has refined its universal Search system to be even more powerful and far-reaching. Now more than ever, it’s your one-stop shop for anything you might be looking for on your iOS device, whether that’s a web search, an app, or a specific file. Here’s how to harness the power of universal Search in iOS 14.

How to launch Search

Accessing Spotlight is easy. Simply swipe down anywhere on the home screen – except the very top – to bring down the search box. Then type away, or hit the mic button and dictate your search term.

Here’s a little tip: Spotlight will highlight the first returned search item while you’re typing, so you simply need to hit the contextual blue button to the right of the keyboard to open or initiate that result at any time. You’ll be amazed at how quick and intuitive this feels.

Search and Siri

Search ties in with Siri, so Apple’s personal assistant will work to intelligently provide suggestions for you. For example, even before you start typing, Siri will provide some suggested apps that it thinks you might want to access at that moment.

Siri will also work to suggest web-based search results for any general Search terms you enter. Again, all you need to do is type what you’re looking for into that general Search field, and Siri will contribute.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

What to search for: Apps

Start typing an app’s name into the universal Search field, and you’ll be presented with any installed apps you have under that name. Search will highlight the app it thinks you’re looking for, so simply hit the blue keyboard button to open it.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

What to search for: Files

Type in the title of a file or document, and this too will be highlighted. If the first entry isn’t the one you want, scroll down to the Files heading for multiple files that meet that term.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

What to search for: Web searches

Search ties in with your web browser too, so if you type in a general search term you’ll be presented with web search results. You don’t need to type the full URL – just start typing out the name of the website, and Siri should return it as an option.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Hi! Thanks for reading. This post looks better in our award-winning app, Tips & Tricks for iPhone.

In case you have used the Spotlight search on your iPhone or iPad, you may have noticed that it displays your search terms below the search bar but provides no way to clear those search terms. Although, Apple has not yet provided an option to clear spotlight search history, there is a workaround that can help you clear your spotlight search history on iPhone or iPad.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Spotlight Search on iPhone

The best feature of Spotlight search is that it allows you to search for things on the internet (like a web browser) and also allows you to search for things that reside on your iPhone (Contacts, Pictures, Songs, Apps etc).

You can easily access Spotlight Search on your iPhone by swiping down on the Home Screen and use it to quickly launch Apps and play your favourite songs by typing the name of the song in the search bar.

As you can imagine, bringing up a song by merely typing its name in the search bar is far easier and faster than going through the process of looking for the Music app, Launching the Music App and then finding the song by scrolling through the long list of songs on your iPhone.

There is no doubt that the spotlight search is a useful feature to have on your iPhone, especially for those users who have a large music collection and dozens of apps residing on their iPhone or iPad.

Clear Spotlight Search History On iPhone or iPad

As mentioned above, Spotlight Search can reveal your search history, as it clearly displays your search terms below the spotlight search bar.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

While there is no official way to clear Spotlight Search History, there is an easy workaround that allows you to clear Spotlight Search history on iPhone or iPad.

1. From the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad, tap on Settings .

2. Next, tap on General .

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

3. On the General screen, scroll down and tap on Spotlight Search .

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

4. On the next screen, toggle the switch next to Siri Suggestions to OFF position (See image below).

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

5. Next, you can turn back Siri Suggestions to ON position again, so that you can continue using the Spotlight Search on your iPhone.

This simple act of Turning OFF Siri Suggestions clears your Spotlight Search history on iPhone and Turning back Siri Suggestions to ON position allows you to continue using Spotlight search with a clean slate.

Hopefully, the ability to clear spotlight search history will be added by Apple in one of the upcoming iOS updates. Until that happens you can make use of this workaround to clear Spotlight Search history on your iPhone or iPad, whenever you feel the need to do so.

Apple introduced a new Spotlight Search feature to iOS and iPadOS 14 that enables users to search and go directly to a site, completely bypassing Google’s search result pages.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Spotlight Search in iOS and iPadOS 14 bypasses Google Search by returning news and site results

When smart voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit started to become ubiquitous, there was concern within the SEO community that it might reduce search visits. That prediction, thus far, has not come true.

The lack of encroachment on browser-based search, even as voice assistant usage grows, is likely a result of the type of questions people ask. “The majority of voice assistant users ask their devices basic questions, search, request information and/or listen to music,” reports Victoria Petrock, an analyst at eMarketer. Subsequently, the impact on browser-based searches has been minimal because voice-based queries tend to be simpler, and a single answer is typically sufficient.

Unlike voice assistant searches, queries made on mobile devices and desktop computers are typically more diverse, and users expect a multitude of results from which they can choose. However, with the debut of iOS and iPadOS 14, Apple is looking to take that advantage away from Google Search by including search results into its Spotlight Search tool.

iOS and iPadOS 14 bypass Google Search with Spotlight Search

Spotlight Search is Apple’s copy version of the original Quicksilver app that speeds up the ability to find apps and files, search the web, and execute tasks via a swipe gesture on iOS and iPadOS, or a keyboard command on macOS. In most cases, using Spotlight Search is faster than trying to manually find an app or file on a mobile device or desktop computer.

One of the notable features of Spotlight Search is its ability to search Google. In iOS and iPadOS 13, a user can quickly type a query in Spotlight Search and tap on a result that will open Safari and display search results from Google. However, in iOS and iPadOS 14, Spotlight Search returns search results that completely bypass Google’s search engine. In version 14, users are provided with actual pages and news articles, and can now go directly to those sites.

The new version of Spotlight Search poses an existential threat to Google on Apple devices because bypassing their search results page means they can’t display ads, push users into Google search experiences, or funnel them to other Google-owned properties like YouTube.

This type of feature isn’t new. The Start Menu in Windows has had this feature for several years. While it likely sends a significant amount of traffic to Bing, Google Search and Google Ads seem mostly unaffected.

However, Spotlight Search on mobile devices is different from the desktop search experience on Windows. The most efficient way to find and do anything on iOS and iPadOS is with Spotlight Search.

Apple may end up succeeding where Microsoft has failed through more seamless integration of search results into Spotlight Search. If that happens, Google could lose a significant amount of revenue. The problem for Google could also be exacerbated if and when Apple adds the functionality to macOS.

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Spotlight Search is one of the oldest iPhone features that come in handy to search across your iPhone and you can also use it as a search engine to browse the internet. Spotlight Search has been improved gradually over the years and it has also received few improvements in iOS 15.

Unfortunately, if you are unable to access the Spotlight feature after upgrading to iOS 15, you are not alone. Many users have complained about the issue.
There can be two primary reasons behind a non-functional Spotlight search on your iPhone. One is buggy software and the other can be older hardware that struggles to keep up with new updates.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipadImage Source: AppleToolBox

Keeping that aside let’s try to tweak a few settings on your iPhone to make Spotlight Search functional.

Restart your iPhone

Sometimes, your iPhone tends to experience some random issues if you’ve not rebooted your iPhone for a long time. So it’s best to restart your iPhone to see if it makes any difference. Let’s see how to restart your iPhone:

iPhone X or above: Press and hold the volume up or down button along with the wake button until a slider appears. Slide it to shut down your iPhone.

iPhone 8 or earlier: Press and hold the power button until the slider appears. Slide the slider to the right to shut down your iPhone.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipadImage Source: Business Insider

Wait for some time and restart your device again by long-pressing the power button.

Remove Shortcuts from your iPhone

iPhone Shortcuts are a handy way to do things quickly. They allow you to quickly set up your own shortcuts for tasks such as getting directions or checking your email. Apple has also introduced a shortcuts widget in iOS 15 but a lot of iPhone users have reported that when they added shortcuts widgets to their home screen, they started experiencing issues with Spotlight search.
Hence it’s best to remove the widget to be able to use Spotlight search.

  • Go to the home screen of your iPhone and swipe down to view all the widgets currently added by you.
  • Now tap the edit option and then look for a red icon near the Shortcuts widget. Tap it to remove the Shortcuts widget.

Now see if Spotlight search is functional again otherwise move to the next troubleshooting method.

Change your iPhone settings

Are you getting a black screen to stare on instead of the Spotlight search interface? If yes, there is a probability that the language settings of your iPhone have been corrupted somehow.
So let’s fix the language settings of your iPhone to fix issues with Spotlight search.

  • Go to Settings on your iPhone.
  • Now head to General > Language and Region and you’ll see the language is set to English.
  • Secondly, tap the iPhone Language setting and change it to Canada.
  • After this head to the General Settings and tap the Shutdown option.
  • Wait for thirty seconds and then restart your iPhone. Now change your iPhone language settings to default.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

After this, try the Spotlight search feature it should work fine now. If not let’s move to the next step.

Disable and then Enable the Spotlight Search feature

Disabling and then enabling any feature on iPhone can help to get rid of any random glitches in the application. So we’ll try to apply the same formula here! Let’s disable the Spotlight Search from iPhone settings to get rid of any bugs.

  • Head to Settings and tap ‘Siri & Search’ settings.
  • Now tap the first app in the list and turn off the toggle next to the following options:
    Learn from this app
    Show in Search
    Show App
    Suggest Shortcuts
    Show Siri suggestions
  • Now repeat the same process for all the applications in the list. Once done, head back to check if Spotlight Search is working now.

If not, turn on the Siri & Search for some apps and try to figure out which app is causing the issue.

Update your iPhone

If you’re still experiencing issues in Spotlight search, it may be due to some bugs in the current iOS version. If it is so, Apple must have tried to eradicate these bugs in the new updates released recently.
So it’s wise to install the pending software updates for your device. Here’s how to go ahead and check for any pending software updates.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

  • Head to the Settings app and tap General.
  • Now tap Software Update and look for any pending software updates.
  • If you find any tap the download button and install it.

Reset your iPhone

If none of the above hacks work, its best to reset your iPhone, here’s how to do it:
Head to your iPhone settings.
Tap General > Reset > Reset all Settings.
Enter your Passcode in the pop-up and tap ‘Reset All Settings’ once again.


These are some of the quick tweaks you should make in your iPhone settings to make Spotlight Search work again. If the problem is still not sorted, it’s best to contact Apple Support to find a solution to this problem.
If you know any other method to fix this issue, we’ll be glad to hear about it.

How to use spotlight search on your iphone or ipad

Hello Geeky, so today we are focusing on How to Customize Spotlight Search on iPhone and iPad. So please read this tutorial carefully so you may comprehend it in a better helpful way.

Guide: How to Customize Spotlight Search on iPhone and iPad

New iOS users will not think about Finding – Spotlight Search and then how to manage and customize Spotlight Search on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch when on the latest iOS. But Apple’s powerful search tools for iOS devices, Spotlight Search, return amazing results to install apps, saved contacts, notes, iBooks, videos, podcasts, music, audiobooks, sound memos, events, reminders, messages and emails. Have you used Spotlight Search on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad but it is curious how to do your results? Part of what makes iOS Spotlight is great is the fact that you can customize the results to accurately display how you want them to perform.

I tend to move applications around folders and on me home screens often, so I would rather use Spotlight to find them than navigate through folders and pages. Not only can you build a Spotlight whose results are important to you, you can choose not to highlight certain items in the searches. I do not want music from my iPod to show up, so I turned off the system. Almost 100% of the time I use Spotlight, I am looking for an application or email. I set Spotlight to present these results before anything else.

How to Set up Spotlight Search

If you are running an iOS version between 8 and 10, you can change the order of the different categories in search by dragging and dropping the category.

  • First, we will need to go into the iPad Settings. This is a tool that looks like turning gears.
  • In the iPad settings, select General from the left menu. This will increase up general programs.
  • In General, select Spotlight Search. This option is near the top, under Siri settings.
  • Spotlight Search programs allow you to turn on / off specific categories and configure where a category appears in the list. If you used Spotlight Search first for finding applications, you should move the applications to the top of the list. If you are more interested in finding music or movies on your iPad, you can move them to the top of the list.
  • To lift a branch, hold it tip of your finger down on the three horizontal lines to the right of the branch list. While holding your finger down, slide the branch up or at the bottom of the list, release your finger when you are in the right place.

Guide about How to Customize Spotlight Search on iPhone and iPad

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