Spotlight Search is one of the most underrated features of iOS. For me, that defines the “iPhone experience.” While iOS 15 boasts a host of features such as FaceTime Links, Offline Siri, and Live Text, one of Apple’s silent improvements is Spotlight search. It is now more powerful and affordable.
Let’s take a look at how to use Spotlight Search, its great features, and how it helps make your life easier.
How to turn Spotlight search on or off in iOS 15
By default, Spotlight search is enabled on your iPhone. You can swipe down on the home screen to access it.
For some reason, Apple doesn’t let you turn off Spotlight search entirely. However, you can remove Siri suggestions from your search. Here’s how;
- Open iPhone settings.
- Scroll down until you see Siri and Search.
- In the Siri Suggestions section, turn it on or off;
- Suggestions While Searching: This will stop Spotlight search from completing a sentence when searching for something.
- Lock screen suggestions: Your iPhone, depending on your use, offers recommendations for apps, notifications, and other apps on the lock screen. You can turn them off by turning off this option.
- Home screen suggestions. Likewise, the iPhone offers some recommendations on the home screen. Turn it off to turn it off.
- Send Suggestions: Have you noticed how your recently contacted friends show up when you share a photo or something via the Share Sheet? If you don’t want someone specific to appear on the shared sheet, turn off this switch.
Spotlight search features introduced in iOS 15 on iPhone
- Install, move and uninstall apps directly
- Search for text in photos
- Accessing Spotlight Search from the Lock Screen
- Additional opportunities for contacts
- Quick search for movies and TV shows
- Look for objects, places, animals and more in photos
- Accessing App Collections from Search Results
- Find a place, calendar event, files, and more
1. Install, move and uninstall applications directly.
In iOS 15, you can directly install apps from Spotlight Search. Enter the app you are looking for in the search bar and click the Get button. This feature comes in handy when you don’t have time to go to the App Store and download the app.
In previous versions of iOS, it was not possible to add an app to the home screen. You can now drag an app from Spotlight Search directly to your home screen without going to the App Library. Likewise, you can directly remove apps from Spotlight search.
2. Search for text in photos.
One of the big improvements in iOS 15 is Live Text. This feature extracts text from your photos and helps you copy, paste and perform actions based on the text present in the photo.
Spotlight Search indexes all text in your photos. Using this, you can directly search photos from Spotlight Search. Let’s say you want to find a photo, but don’t remember when you took the photo. But you remember a few words mentioned in the photo.
Open up Spotlight search and enter the words you remember and voila! Spotlight Search presents you with the same photo. This will come in handy in a variety of situations.
3. Access to Spotlight search from the lock screen.
iOS 15 also lets you access Spotlight search right from the lock screen. Just swipe down on your iPhone’s lock screen and a “locked” version of Spotlight search will appear.
It prevents the user from taking full advantage of the search – since the iPhone is not unlocked yet – but it does allow basic tasks.
You can make quick calls, open apps, and even check a fact on the lock screen. While this feature can trigger many random searches, it is useful.
4. More opportunities for contacts
This time, the contacts interface has been updated from scratch. It provides contextual results, such as your last call to this contact and your messages, and shows activities from other apps.
Now you will be able to directly contact the person through other applications – for example, send a message on WhatsApp. Spotlight Search even shows photos of that person, if any, on your iPhone.
What’s more, you can use Apple Pay to pay for a contact directly from Spotlight Search. Clicking on the $ symbol will take you to the Messages app on iPhone. You can now pay directly for a contact using Apple Pay.
5. Quick search for movies and TV shows.
IOS 15 brings richer results for movies and TV shows. Instead of searching Google for the TV show you want to watch and then searching the streaming service, you can directly search for the show in Spotlight search. IOS will take you to the streaming service page.
The search results also give you Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb ratings. Along with the results about TV shows and movies, you can dive into the search results for actors and other crew members.
6. Look for objects, places, animals and more in your photos.
Thanks to the correct use of the Neural-core chip, Spotlight search now provides search results for animals, places, and even objects like romances, etc. Look for things like “animals” or “golden retriever” in Spotlight search, and if your photos contain a similar theme, it will be displayed under the Photos from Applications section.
7. Access to collections of applications from search results.
The focus in iOS 15 shows company actions in Maps results. In addition to ringing, routing, and time checking, if a company supports App Clips, you can now have the option to install an App Clip for that company in the Spotlight Search Map.
For example, in Search, you might be prompted to open a restaurant menu, book a table, make an appointment, order food to go, join a waiting list, view session schedules, pay for parking, check prices, and more.
8. Find a place, calendar event, files, etc.
Since Spotlight search is now integrated into every section of the iOS ecosystem, it makes the entire system searchable. Spotlight Search in iOS 15 works just like Spotlight on Mac and makes Spotlight Search “Google” on your phone.
You can search for documents in the Files app, search for a text message in the search bar, check your calendar, and more with Spotlight.
How to Delete History in iOS Spotlight Search on iPhone
Apple does not allow deleting Spotlight search history. If you were looking for something that brings you to Safari, you will have to remove search from Google. This is how you can remove Google Search and other activities on iPhone.
If you don’t want Spotlight Search to display a specific offer, here’s how to turn it off:
- Open Spotlight Search by swiping down on the Home screen.
- Now press and hold the sentence you want to delete.
- Select “Offer fewer labels.”
Apple has certainly taken a big step in Spotlight search in iOS 15. Features like real-time search are a big step towards making Spotlight search more user-friendly, and I’m sure when you start using the new search Spotlight, you’ll be amazed at its capabilities.