Use iPhone Spotlight Search to Find Apps, Get Reminders, News and More

Have you ever lost an app on your iPhone.  You’ve scanned all of your Home screens and just don’t see the app that you know is on your iPhone.  Or you have simply lost a document, marked location, text message or something else on your iPhone or iPad.  IPhone Search may be the answer.  

The Search function on your iPhone gets results from your apps but also from the Internet, from  Maps and Contacts and more.

Naming challenge

Most of the experts and resources call this function Spotlight Search.  But when you view Apple documentation, they just refer to it as iPhone Search.  In this Nugget, we’ll show you what it can do and you can call it what your want!.



Access Search

To use Search swipe down from the center of the Home screen.  You can also think of it as pulling down from a blank space in the middle of the Home screen.      Try to place your finger on the exact center of the iPhone Home screen without tapping an icon and gently swipe/pull down to the button of the screen.

You can also access Search if you are running an app.  If you are in an app, swipe down from the top like you are access the Notifications center, then swipe from the left edge of the screen.  

It turns out that the swipe from the left edge also works from the home screen.  Try it and choose that method that works best for you.

There are many practical and everyday uses for the iPhone Search.

Practical uses for search:

  • Find apps
  • Get snapshot of calendar and reminders
  • Get current temperature.
  • See news headline
  • Do calculations.  Type 29.67 * .2 to calculate a 20 percent tip.  
  • Advanced 1 – Use Search to find a setting in the Settings app that you have forgotten.  For example to find how to control the timing on the lock screen type “lock screen” into the Search bar. 
  • Advanced 2 – Tap the microphone to dictate your search term



No setup is required for basic search.  However, you can control which apps provide search results. See Additional Information below for a link.  


Requires IOS: 9+ (In previous versions of IOS, Search was known as Spotlight)

Works on iPhone and iPad

Additional Information

The Senior Tech Club recommends the following additional resources for members that wish to pursue additional and/or advanced information on this recipe:

iPhone User Guide – Search