Blog Post 8

Search Everywhere for Everything in Spotlight Search

Spotlight Search is a built-in intelligent search feature from Apple that allows you to search through apps, files, and the web to help you find what you’re seeking. Apple keeps improving this function, and iOS and iPadOS 16 are no exception. 

This guide will highlight what’s new in Spotlight and get you up and running.

How To Access Spotlight Search

Your iPhone and iPad come with Spotlight already turned on. To access it, you’ll swipe down on the Home Screen or tap Search at the bottom of the Home Screen.

There’s no option to disable this feature, but you can turn off Siri Suggestions from the search:

  • Open Settings
  • Scroll and tap on Siri & Search
  • Toggle off Show Suggestions
  • Toggle off Show in Spotlight

Try this with and without Siri Suggestions before deciding to disable this feature.

Image Search in Spotlight Search

Spotlight can find locations, people, text, pets, objects, and more in images from Notes, Files, Messages, and the Photos app on iOS and iPadOS 16.

Install, Delete and Move apps in Spotlight

Spotlight makes downloading apps more accessible than ever. You’ll have an option to directly download an app if you don’t have the app already installed. 

Adding an app to the Home Screen in iOS 15 was nearly impossible. However, with the updated Spotlight search, you can drag and drop it inside Spotlight without having to go to the App Library. In addition, you can also uninstall directly.

Search Live Text Inside Photos

The ability to search Live Text is one of the best features. This feature extracts text inside your photos, allowing you to copy, and paste that text anywhere.

Spotlight indexes the text inside your photos. So, if you don’t remember when the photo was taken but remember a few words in the image, Spotlight should find it.

Open Spotlight and type in the words you remember, and Spotlight should present you with that photo or photos.

Quick Actions in Spotlight Search

Quick Actions are functions that can be done right from the search interface.

 Some Quick Action options:

  • Run a Shortcut
  • Start a Timer
  • Shazam a song
  • Activate a Focus

You can also find Shortcuts using Spotlight.

Siri Suggestion Improvements

Siri suggestions are now smarter and more context-driven. For example, a list of recent searches allows you to revisit something you found earlier. You’ll also get better results when searching for businesses and sports teams.

Try typing in dog or beach, then scroll to Photos From Apps. The Photos app has been able to do this for some time, but it’s nice to be able to access this directly from the Home Screen.

Expanded Rich Results

Users can receive richer search results when searching for a sports team, business, or even an actor’s name. Check it out.

App Clips Improvement

You can now get the option to install an App Clip from a business. 

For example: searching for a restaurant, you may be able to see the menu, book a reservation, order takeout, join a waitlist, and more. 


Since Spotlight integrates into every aspect of iOS and iPadOS 16, it allows the whole ecosystem to be searchable. Once you start using Spotlight, I’m sure you’ll be amazed by its capabilities. If you have any questions, post them in the comments.

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Hi, I'm Ellen!

I help mature adults master their iPhone and iPads, even if they aren’t  techie! 

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