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February 9, 2023

Apple has a feature to make your searches a little easier called Spotlight Search. It works with all iPhones, iPads and Macs with iOS 8 update or later installed.

What is Spotlight Search?

The purpose of Spotlight Search is to reduce the time wasted looking for a specific app on your phone or a photo you sent to a friend weeks ago. Instead, you can type into Spotlight Search and it will scan your entire device for anything related to the term you typed.

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Spotlight Search can search many things, including your music, contacts, email, weather, calendar, maps, news and more. It can even fetch external results from the internet and the App Store. Or suppose you want to do a quick math equation, currency conversion, measurement conversion, or temperature conversion. In this case, Spotlight Search will get you the answers you need in no time.

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Turn on Search to start finding things on your Apple device.
(Fox News)

Why is Spotlight search better than searching within a specific application?

Spotlight Search finally extracts more content for you, giving you all the options you need on one page instead of having to open multiple different apps to search for something. Let’s say you want to listen to the song “Piano Man” by Billy Joel.

You can type “Billy Joel ‘Piano Man'” into Spotlight search. It gives you a tab that takes you directly to the song on Apple Music, and gives you a website link to his music videos and a wikipedia page to the song’s history so you can get it from a search More information.

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Examples of how to search for content on Apple devices.In this case, Billy Joel's "piano man."

Examples of how to search for content on Apple devices. In this case, Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.”
(Fox News)

How to Turn On Spotlight Search on iPhone or iPad

If you have iOS 16 update or later:

  • It can be accessed by swiping down from the middle of the home screen
  • Click on the search circle (It may also appear as a few horizontal dots) On the first page of the Home screen, just above the Phone, Email, Safari, and Apple Music apps. This will automatically open Spotlight Search.

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An example of how to use the Spotlight search feature on an iPhone or iPad.

An example of how to use the Spotlight search feature on an iPhone or iPad.
(Fox News)

If you have iOS 15 update or below:

  • Unlock your iPhone or iPad show your home screen
  • swipe left From the first page of the home screen, you will then see Search window.

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Instructions on how to search for content on your Apple device.

Instructions on how to search for content on your Apple device.
(Fox News)

How to Open Spotlight Search on Mac

  • View the top bar across your Mac’s home screen (Where the Apple icon, File, Edit, etc options are located)
  • To the right of that bar next to the Wi-Fi icon, there should be a magnifying glass icon. Click it to open Spotlight Search.

NOTE: Instructions may vary by model

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Example of pressing the magnifying glass to open the search function on a Mac computer.

Example of pressing the magnifying glass to open the search function on a Mac computer.
(Fox News)

An example of what Spotlight Search looks like when it's turned on on a Mac computer.

An example of what Spotlight Search looks like when it’s turned on on a Mac computer.
(Fox News)

How to Change Search Settings on Apple Devices

You can change your search settings to limit the apps and results shown when you search. That’s it:

  • go set up then click Siri and search
  • Scroll down and select an application
  • Then choose Show Apps in Search, Show Content in Search, Show on Home Screen, Suggest Apps, or Suggest Notifications.

Let us know how you like this new Apple Search feature. We’d love to hear from you.

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