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How To Use Spotlight Search in iOS

It’s easy to stuff your iPhone with texts, music, contacts, videos, emails and so much more. But finding all those things when you need them isn’t so easy. Spotlight is one of the best features in iOS 10. It gets better with each new version. It allows you to find and use the contents on your iPhone that match your search, sorted by the apps they belong to.

Accessing Spotlight

There are two ways you can access Spotlight. You can swipe down on any home screen to get to the abbreviated search panel (shown on the left in the image below), or swipe to the right from the Home screen to get the more full featured one (seen in the image on the right).

Spotlight Search

For the most part, swiping to the right and getting the full featured search panel is the better way to go.


Spotlight: More Powerful Than Ever

Opening Spotlight, you’ll see a number of shortcuts to various things. Just scroll to see what’s available. But if you’re using only those shortcuts you’re missing out on Spotlight’s most powerful feature: the search bar. Below I’ve searched for “time”, look what comes up.

Search panel

It starts out with the Top Hit which in this case is FaceTime, then the Timer on the Clock app because it’s associated with time. As you scroll down you’ll see suggested websites, music, Wikipedia, messages, calendar, mail. All of that form a simple quick search.

There are all sorts of uses for search, getting specific city results in travel apps to recommendations from the App Store. The more apps you have the more useful this feature will be.

There are plenty of tricks you can do in the search bar. Spotlight can solve math problems


It can also convert other units as well, like temperature, weights and distances. It can show you weather in another city or Movie times.

weather, movies

You can get stock reports and sports as well.

sports, stocks

Managing Search Results

You can control what appears in your search results. Here’s how.

Launch the Settings App>tap General>tap Spotlight Search, turn off the slider to any app whose results you don’t want to include in your searches.

Setting up search

Spotlight has long been one of the best features of iOS. The ability to search everything on your phone, whether it’s in an Apple App or a third party app, as well as the internet from the same search bar opens up lots of possibilities. If you aren’t using Spotlight, you’re most certainly missing out!


Tech Guru Tip: If you see the microphone, just tap on it and begin speaking your search item.

voice search

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