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17 Ways to Use Spotlight Search on iPhone

by Ritesh Rawat
Apple Spotlight

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to search for information on your iPhone, look no further than Spotlight. With iOS 17, it gets even more powerful. With Spotlight, you can search for apps, contacts, messages, emails, music, news, and a whole lot more. Here are some of the things you can do with Spotlight.

Note: By default, the spotlight feature is enabled for all apps so you don’t have to do anything. But in case it is not working for a particular app, you can recheck from Settings > Siri & Search. Scroll to find a list of all installed apps.

1. Call, Text, or FaceTime

You don’t have to bother opening any app if you want to reach out to someone via call, text, or FaceTime. Thanks to Spotlight, you can easily get in touch with anyone from your contact list.

Simply swipe down from the home screen, open Spotlight, and type in the name of the person you wish to contact. Right there, you’ll find the option to FaceTime, send text messages, or make a call.

Call, text or video call from Spotlight

2. Quick Rich Search Results

Need to quickly check something? Spotlight has got you covered! No need to open your browser. Simply open Spotlight, type your query, and it will display results with additional details such as the latest news and social media handles (if available).

Quick Rich Search Results from Spotlight

3. Enable or Disable Settings

Did you know that you can’t turn off Bluetooth or Wi-Fi from the control center? Your iPhone will disconnect from the Wi-Fi but the Wi-Fi service itself is still enabled and running in the background on your iPhone. But, if you use Spotlight, you can save time by skipping the process of going to Settings.

Simply swipe down to open Spotlight and search for settings like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Then, just tap on the toggle next to the options to enable or disable them.

Enable or disable settings from Spotlight

4. Identify Music With Shazam

Shazam is pretty popular for identifying any song that’s playing nearby. It’s already pre-installed on all iPhones, so you don’t need to download anything. Just open Spotlight, type in “Shazam,” and click on the Shazam shortcut to find the name of the song.

Identify Music with Shazam

5. Play Songs and Check Artist Details

Had a song in mind to quickly jam? There is no need to open the music app and search for a song to play. Instead, directly search for the song and play it from the Spotlight.

Play Songs with Spotlight

Also if there’s already a song playing, you can open the Spotlight and it will automatically display the artist name of the playing song. You can tap on it for further details on the artist. Although for some reason it’s not working for every song.

Check artist details with Spotlight

Pro Tip: Apple Music now lets you collaborate with your friends, family, or fellow music lovers to create and manage playlists together

6. Add New Event

To effortlessly add an upcoming event to your calendar, simply utilize Spotlight. Open Spotlight, input the date, and voila! You’ll be presented with the choice to add a fresh event to the default Apple calendar.

Add event with Spotloght

Pro Tip: Do you walk both worlds and use both Android and iOS or have you recently switched? Don’t worry! There are a few ways to add Google Calendar to your iPhone.

7. Set Timer

Spotlight can set and run a timer if you need to track time for cooking or plank. Just search for “Timer” in Spotlight, select the option, set the time you need, and tap on Start. It’s that simple.

Set timer with spotlight on iPhone

8. Jump to Sub Settings

You don’t have to go through the Settings app to manage small options buried deep in the Settings app. Let’s say you want to customize the actions on AssistiveTouch. Instead of navigating through Settings > Accessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch, you can simply search for it in Spotlight and open the correct screen. It’s a quick and easy way to find any setting and option.

Jump to Sub Settings with spotlight on iPhone

9. Install or Delete App

Easily install any app by simply searching for it in Spotlight. No need to go through the hassle of visiting the App Store and searching for the app.

Install app with spotlight on iPhone

To remove the app, you don’t need to scroll through the endless list of apps on your iPhone. Simply search in Spotlight, hold down the app, and you’ll find the option to uninstall it.

Uninstall app with spotlight on iPhone

10. Do Calculations

Spotlight can also perform simple to fairly complex calculations right inside the search bar. Enter the formula and you will see the results with an option to copy the result.

Calculate with spotlight on iPhone

11. Search for Images

Usually, we rely on a web browser to search for images of well-known individuals or places. Nevertheless, a more effective approach is directly entering the name in Spotlight. You can easily tap on any image to see a larger and clearer version.

search for images with spotlight on iPhone

12. Search Within Photos, Documents and iMessage Apps

Spotlight can not only search the web but also within installed apps. Some examples include saved documents in Files, text messages in iMessage, and even images in the Photos app.

Search Within Photos, Documents and iMessage

13. Check Weather

Are you heading to an unfamiliar city and unsure about the weather? Simply enter the city name and “weather” into Spotlight search and get an instant weather update. Click on the search result and you’ll be redirected to the Weather app, where you can view all the weather details for that location in detail.

 Check Weather with Spotlight on iPhone

14. Check Live Score

Wondering what’s going on in the ongoing NBA match? No need to Google the score or open an app. Launch Spotlight, type the team’s name and you can check the score right there. For more details on the match, tap on the result.

Check Live Score with Spotlight

Must Read: You can pin live sports scores to your screen, so you can follow the action even when you are not actively watching the game.

15. Quick Dictionary

Instead of having to open a separate dictionary app or website, you can simply type the word into Spotlight and the definition will appear. This can save you precious time and effort.

Dictionary with iPhone

16. Faster Map Results

Want to go to a restaurant for a quick bite or looking for a place to shop? You don’t have to open Maps or a browser to search. Open Spotlight, enter the name of the place and you will have the option to directly get the directions on the map.

Faster Map Results with Spotlight

You can also tap on the result to get more details like the rating of that place, contact number, address, and much more.

Faster Map Results

Pro Tip: While Google Maps has always allowed users to download maps offline, with the recent iOS17, you can now download and use Apple Maps offline on your iPhone. Learn how.

17. Conversions

Spotlight can do currency, length, weight, and other conversions easily from the search. Just type how you want to convert and it will show you the results right away. You also have the option to copy the result.

Conversions with Spotlight

Quick Pick

Spotlight is quite helpful and allows you to search deep within settings and the wild web but also files saved within apps like images, documents, and more. The more you use it, the more it learns from your behavior.

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