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Do you Really Know How to Use Spotlight Search on iPhone?

By FonePaw | Nov 03 , 2017

What's Spotlight on iPhone? Spotlight is a default, system-wide search service, which was first introduced as part of iOS 3 in 2009 and has been being improved so far. Simply swipe down on the Home Screen Layout and you're able to enjoy this intuitive and powerful search tool on your iPhone.


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Spotlight can be used to search for apps, notes, settings, contacts, songs, email messages, calendar events and so on. In short, it's able to access whatever you have on your iPhone. However, seldom do people know how to make full use of iPhone Spotlight Search. Actually, you may not even know these:


Get More Specific Results in Spotlight Search
Quickly Look Up An Unknown Word
Clear Spotlight Search History
Do Math When Searching


Get More Specific Results in Spotlight Search

Due to its powerful searching, Spotlight will look for results as many as possible. Therefore, somehow unwanted results will be shown along the way. In fact, users can do a more specific search with Spotlight via changing its settings.


Launch the "Settings" app and swipe to the "Siri & Search" option. Down list all apps installed on your iPhone. Also, those are apps that Spotlight search will search for. Hence you can disable apps you don't want Spotlight to scan. For example, if I didn't want Spotlight to access my notes, I would tap the "Notes" app and toggle "Search & Siri Suggestions" off.
Note that if off, neither will Spotlight nor Siri have access to the app.


Disable App Spotlight

Quickly Look Up An Unknown Word

Another convenient feature is that users can directly get quick definitions of words using built-in dictionaries via Spotlight. Before that, you should apply desired dictionaries in advance.


There are currently 30 dictionaries available on iPhone. Please go to "Settings" > "General" > "Dictionary" and select those you want to use on iPhone. To quickly look up a word, you can swipe down the Spotlight search and type the word in the search bar. Then, you can get a quick definition of the word. To check out more results, you can tap "Show More".


Spotlight Dictionary

Clear Spotlight Search History

Previously on iOS 10, there is "Siri Suggestion" in Spotlight search, which enables Siri to suggest apps and search keywords according to users' usage and history. That means Siri is actually recording whatever you search in Spotlight, even if you're searching for something private.


On iOS 10, you can toggle off the "Siri Suggestion" option. On iOS 11, there is a way faster access. In the Spotlight search screen, Siri Search Suggestions are now viewable along the way. You can directly tap on search history to do a quick search or tap "Clear" and then "OK" to wipe out private search history if necessary, or go to "Siri & Search" and toggle off "Suggestions in Search".


Clear Spotlight History

Do Math When Searching

Do you know you can actually do calculations directly in Spotlight search? Yet I don't think it would be quicker than you use the Calculator app in Control Center. However, since now Control Center is customizable, you can remove the shortcut to Calculator making way for more commonly used apps if you like.


Spotlight Calculator

Spotlight search is really helpful when it comes to looking up in a bunch of apps. If you know other tricks on Spotlight, you can share with us. If you like this article, share with your friends.


Advanced Notice: The next article is Apple Maps: Unknown Features in iOS 11.

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jack maxwell
jack maxwell
5 year before

Hello.. your blog is great. I read your blog and like it very much. Thanks for sharing.
How to Choose Apps to Search on iPhone’s Spotlight Search

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