How to Find Anything on an Apple iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Apple has a feature that can make your searches a little easier, and it’s called Spotlight Search. It is available on all iPhones, iPads, and Macs with an iOS 8 or later update.

What is Spotlight Search?

The purpose of Spotlight Search is to reduce the time wasted searching for a specific app on your phone or a photo you might have sent to a friend weeks ago. Instead, you can type something into Spotlight Search, which will scan your entire device for anything related to the term you typed.

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Spotlight Search can search many things, including your music, contacts, email, weather, calendar, maps, news, and more. It can even bring external results from the Internet and App Store. Or suppose you want to do a quick math equation, currency conversion, measurement conversion, or temperature conversion. In this case, Spotlight Search will instantly give you the answer you are looking for.

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Start searching for content on your Apple device by opening the search function.

Start searching for content on your Apple device by opening the search function.
(FoxNews)

Why is Spotlight search better than searching within specific apps?

Spotlight Search ultimately pulls more content for you, giving you all the options you need on one page rather than having to open multiple different apps to search for something. Say, for example, you wanted to listen to the song “Piano Man” by Billy Joel.

You can type “Billy Joel ‘Piano Man'” into your Spotlight search. It will give you a tab to go directly to the song on Apple Music and provide you with website links to its music videos and the Wikipedia page to the song’s history, so you can get the most out of your search.

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An example of finding content on your Apple device.  In this case, Billy Joel

An example of finding content on your Apple device. In this case, “Piano Man” by Billy Joel.
(FoxNews)

How to open Spotlight Search on your iPhone or iPad

If you have iOS 16 update or higher:

  • It is accessible by swiping down from the middle of your home screen
  • Click on the research circle (may also appear as a few horizontal dots) on the first page of your Home screen, just above your Phone, Mail, Safari, and Apple Music apps. This will automatically open Spotlight search.

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An example of using the Spotlight search feature on your iPhone or iPad.

An example of using the Spotlight search feature on your iPhone or iPad.
(FoxNews)

If you have iOS 15 or lower:

  • Unlock your iPhone or iPad to reveal your home screen
  • Swipe left from the first page of your home screen, then you will see the search window.

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Instructions on how to search for content on an Apple device.

Instructions on how to search for content on an Apple device.
(FoxNews)

How to open Spotlight Search on your Mac

  • Look at the top bar on your Mac’s home screen (where the Apple Icon, File, Edit, etc. options are)
  • On the right side of this bar next to your Wi-Fi icon, there should be a magnifying glass icon. Click it to open Spotlight search.

Note: Instructions may vary by model

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An example of how to open the search function on a Mac computer by pressing the magnifying glass.

An example of how to open the search function on a Mac computer by pressing the magnifying glass.
(FoxNews)

An example of what the Spotlight search function looks like when opened on a Mac computer.

An example of what the Spotlight search function looks like when opened on a Mac computer.
(FoxNews)

How to Change Search Settings on an Apple Device

You can change the search settings to limit the apps and results that show up while searching. Here’s how:

  • Go to Settings and press Siri and Search
  • Scroll down and select an app
  • Then select Show app in search, Show content in search, Show on home screen, Suggest app, or Suggest notifications.

Let us know how you like this new Apple search feature. We would love to hear from you.

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