Best uses for Spotlight on iPhone and 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

You can always trust iMore. Our team of Apple experts have years of experience testing all kinds of tech and gadgets, so you can be sure our recommendations and criticisms are accurate and helpful. Find out more about how we test.

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

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

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?

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?

Are you already on your Today view screen? Why bother opening up the Calculator app when you can just search "1x216"? 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

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

Any other tips?

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

Mick Symons

Mick is a staff writer who's as frugal as they come, so he always does extensive research (much to the exhaustion of his wife) before making a purchase. If it's not worth the price, Mick ain't buying.