Skip to content

Guide: Intelligent Search with Spotlight on iPhone | iOS 9

Spotlight search enables you to search your phone for contacts, apps, music, video, audio books, notes, emails, calendar entries, messages and more.

Spotlight is located at the top of any Home screen page and can be opened by swiping down on the screen. Tap in the text box at the top to type your search.

Swipe down from the top of the screen

Improvements added with iOS 9 make Spotlight search more useful than ever. You can search for practically anything here and Spotlight will do its best to give you a relevant spread of results. It will show a mix of content from your device – apps, contacts, emails etc. – along with results from the internet.

Tap any of the results to be taken to the relevant app.

Third-party search

Another big change is that you can now search for content within supported third-party apps. This means that as well as being able to search through Messages and Notes, Spotlight can also find useful content from your other apps.

For example, you can search for documents kept in Dropbox, recipes from Yummly or songs tagged in Shazam. Tapping the result will not only open the app for you but take you straight to the relevant page.

You can even try this out with this app – try searching iPhone questions to see results from Tips & Tricks that will link you right back to this very app!

This feature only works on the iPhone 5 and newer devices.

Tap a result to launch the app it's from

Find folder

If you’ve placed an app in a folder, Spotlight will show the name of that folder alongside the result, too.

The app can be opened directly from Spotlight, but now you’ll also know where the app is when you want to use it in future.

Easily find apps stored in folders