Your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch have a powerful search tool called Spotlight. If you’re looking for an app, text message, email, song, contact, or other information on your iDevice, you can use Spotlight to find what you’re looking for easily.
If you use Spotlight a lot, learn how you can make it work best for you. If you haven’t used Spotlight yet, learn how you can use it to help you find items on your iDevice.
How to Use Spotlight
To use Spotlight, swipe down on the screen to reveal a search bar at the top.
Start typing the name of the app, contact or keyword you’re trying to find. The results will appear just as soon as you start typing.
You’ll also see options at the bottom of your search results to search on the Web or Wikipedia.
Note if you’re trying to find an app that’s in an app folder, Spotlight search will show you the name of the folder where the app resides.
You can also search within individual apps such as Mail, Notes, Contacts, Reminders, Music, Videos and more. Look for the search bar at the top of the screen when you’re in the app.
Where Spotlight Searches
You can use Spotlight to find:
- Text messages
- Calendar entries
How to Make Spotlight Search Work Best for You
By default, Spotlight searches all of the above places but having all of those search results on your screen may be a wee bit more information than you need.
To limit the Spotlight search results, go to Settings => General => Spotlight Search and then click on the categories you want to search. Uncheck anything you don’t want to search.
This can be very helpful if you find you’re getting search results you don’t want or you’re not getting enough search results.
You can also change the order of the places Spotlight searches. Tap the three bars on the right side of a category and slide it up or down to change the order of the results.
What Else You Should Know
In email, Spotlight only searches the names of the sender and the recipients and the subject line. If you want to search for words in the body of an email, go to the Mail app and search there. Spotlight only searches within the email accounts in the native Mail app.
In calendar, Spotlight searches events one year before and one year ahead. If you have multiple events using the same keyword or repeating events, Spotlight will show you the event closest to the current date.
In text messages, Spotlight searches the name of the sender and the body of the text message.
Do you use Spotlight search to find items on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch? Has Spotlight ever helped you find an important item? Have you ever customized your Spotlight search results? Let us know in the Comments section below!
Carolyn is temporarily away on vacation, busy honing her Spotlight search results. The Wonder of Tech will continue to publish articles about fun and useful tech while she’s gone. Carolyn will respond to comments when she returns from her trip.