iPhone 101: How to Access More Than 180 Apps or WebClips via Spotlight on iPhone 3.0

iPhone 3.0 Spotlight Search Launch Unlimited Apps

Welcome to iPhone 101, where new iPhone users can find helpful tips on how to use their new iPhones. And if you're a pro user, here's a handy link you can send to your new user friends. We tro

For some, even the newly expanded 11 Home Screen, 180 (including 4 fixed dock) app slots under iPhone 3.0 isn't enough. It's not about need -- it's about want. Luckily, iPhone 3.0 offers another handy, theoretically unlimited way to access apps: Spotlight. According to David Pogue:

You can install UNLIMITED APPS! Only 180 show up as icons—but Spotlight can find and open all of them! (And yes, we tried. Stopped at 250!)

So, check off every single one of your 56,000 (maybe?!) apps and sync them over. Then, instead of swiping right through 11 pages only to find the excess unaccessible, swipe LEFT to go to the Spotlight Search screen (or just press the home button again to get there super quick).

Next, start typing the name of the app, hidden or otherwise, you want to access, and as soon as it appears in the results, tap it to launch.

Boom. App pack rat bliss.

Note: Spotlight also shows WebClip icons you've bookmarked from MobileSafari to your Home Screen, so you can go crazy with quick access to your favorite websites as well.

And for those who prefer not to fill up their iPhone with apps, remember you can delete an app when not using it and download it again via the on-board App Store app, without any duplicate charges, any time. Cloud management is a reality, and a second option.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPhone 101: How to Access More Than 180 Apps or WebClips via Spotlight on iPhone 3.0


I like Spotlight but I would use it even more if it had a recently used list. By the way good post.

I love Pogue's stuff, but why is this news? The feature release set of 3.0 told us that you could have more apps than fit on the nine "pages" of iPhone apps. What's next? A highlight on the fact that you can cut and paste as well?
Most of the time I really enjoy this blog, with the exception of non-news (like this), each and every time you ask (and you do this often) "What do you think?" and when you highlight discussions in your forums as news.
Seriously, TIPB has the potential to be the best news and how-to source for iPhone users....leave non-news news (intended use) and the "What do you think" stuff for your forum. This kind of stuff makes you less than what you really are.

Added iPhone 101 to title, so ninja readers can happily skip it or forward it on to new-user friends, and everyone who's written in asking about 180+ apps and spotlight can enjoy it unmolested...

Seriously, no one can use 180 apps. If you were to go through them all in a 24 hour period, you could only spend 8 minutes using each one.

I didn't know about this feature. It's good to know. If you dont like tipb, nobody is forcing you to read OR post useless comments. Do us a favor and delete the bookmark.
I don't know how you can stand these people constantly whining and namecalling after you post an article.

Sometimes people have a problem distinguishing between a non-biased news source and a fanboy site.
This site is kinda both. There is a lot iPhone news served up, however there is also quite a bit of fanboy propaganda served up too.
As mentioned before, if you don't like this site, delete the bookmark and don't return. Then again, some people aren't happy unless they are trolling.

I definitely didn't know this so it's definitely useful. Thank you for posting and keep up the good work!

Cool. I mentioned it'd be nice to see a recently used list in spotlight at first glance upon opening it. Start typing to get search results but otherwise show most recent.
It's not exactly an app switcher but better than what we have now.
As for the more than 180 apps, i have trouble enough knowing some of the names of what i have now (and its around 20 apps). Has to be a better way. 180? I'd rather have an itunes like songs list to scroll through :)

So does this mean it's possible to hide an icon without deleting the app completely? Or do you have to fill all the home screens first before they drop off the end?

Can't hide them as far as I know.
@Paul what makes you think anyone would want to use all of their apps in a 24 hour period? I can't watch all my DVDs in a 24 hour period, I guess I don't need that many then right?
Btw just for the sake of arguement I only have three pages filled and rarely use anything off the front page.

I know it's off subject but, how many of those DVDs do you watch after the initial view? Lol. Anyways I'm about tocheck out spot bright in cydia, it sounds pretty useful.

I don't have all my screens full except the last one. I pushed an icon to the last screen and sure enough one of the other apps on that last full screen vanished. Luckily I remembered the app names on that screen. I did a search and sure enough it came up. MY QUESTION is: How do you get that icon/app back on one of the home screens???

one problem: you can not delete these apps, that are not shown on the homescreen. no icon, no deleting. you have to connect to your computer.

I figured it out. Launch iTunes. Uncheck the app that is not visible to remove it from your iPhone and sync. Then recheck the app and sync again and it will be visible again on your iPhone screen.

Any way to get spotlite to index my book marked Safari Pages?
I have enough of them that its hard to find things, but I remember bits and pieces of URLs, like site names, etc. I wish it would search those.

I think this is a great post. I can't wait to try it on my own phone. This would be a great way to be able to try updates of apps when they come out as soon as they are pushed to your phone. Even if they are not on your homescreens. That way you don't have to sync apps from iTunes to your phone just to try an app's update and them have to delete the app from your phone again. I'm going to load up my pages with app that I use and then sync my phone. Then after every page is full load on the rest of the apps and see how well the spotlight search idea mentioned in the post works. Then hopefully I will get notifications for updates of apps that I can't see but will b able to intstall and then try right away. O hope this works and I will post a review here if it does work.

I like the idea of having all apps I bought on my iPhone.
However, the problem is:
- It's hard to remember the name of all apps.
- It's not easy to organize your home screen. You have to remove app on the home screen when you purchase a new app if you want to show it on your home screen. It only works when you buy it on your iPhone. If you remove an app from your home screen, the space will be filled with a hidden app alphabetically. You can keep the space by filling the space with an app from your dock before you reboot your iPhone.
It would be very useful if Apple allow us to add your own tag to apps you purchased and make it searchable or at least app developers name the app something present the feature, such as twit.
Maybe, they need to consider SEO of apps more seriously.

I already have spotbright. If you ever hear me complaining it's because I am upset it is not already integrated feature. See even though I jailbreak I really shouldn't have t but when many of Apples best efforts are copy in paste in 2009, a compass, voice dial and memos in 2009 you have gotta believe and ask "what the fukk is apple doing". Maybe in 20010 we will get karoke. Anyway I can't help myself: spotlight blows.

@DDell, probably just shift icons back from that last screen to a prior one.
You can tell Pogue is a journo and not a real techo. He stopped at 250 and called it unlimited? Any techo who got that far wouldn't stop until 257. Sheesh!

Sooner or later Apple is going to have to do something about how Apps are organised. This is useful in the meantime Rene!

@Allister, nope the app icon was not on any of the screens including the prior one. I checked ALL the screens thinking it would be on one of them since I don't have all my screens full. I only found it with a search.

I discovered something else. Since I don't have all my screens full, to get the icon back on a screen simply reboot the phone.

After I bought my iPhone 3GS 3 weeks ago I had been downloading many APPS. Once I hit over the 11th app screen page the icons were not showing on the 12th app screen. It appeared to me that the number of the app screens had found its limit. Now I started to delete all the apps I no longer needed. By accident I came across some sort of back door that allowed me to create an extra app screen. I tried that same procedure again and again and another extra app screen was created. I tired it so far that I now have 16 app screens with over 230 apps. I don't know how far it will go, but now I fell free again. I can re-install some of the apps that I had to give up due to the app screen restrictions. I don't know if I should talk about how exactly I found this back door here on this blog because I'm afraid that apple will close this back door in the next OS update. I will post again with a youtube link showing that this blog is not a joke! By the way I did not use any kind of crack or jailbreak app to enter this app screen back door.

but how do i delete the apps that I can only access via spotlight? Is there anyway to do it on the phone itself?

same question. How do u delete apps that went beyond the 11th page using just the iphone?