It’s so easy to overlook Spotlight in iOS, especially since it “isn’t there.” Apple shows us how to pull down on any Homescreen to reveal it the first time we boot up a new device, but I bet many people forget about this otherwise hidden feature among the deluge of other Things To Know and apps to install.
I’ve been making myself use it for more things lately, and I’ve found Spotlight to be great for:
Quick web searches
I really like Phlo for iOS as a full–featured search utility, so much that it’s on my first Homescreen. But for the times when I know I just need a quick default Yahoo search (or Wikipedia), pulling down on a Homescreen, typing, and tapping Spotlight’s “Search the web” option (found below any other results) works just fine.
Searching Messages and highlighting the right one
If you tap a Messages conversation in Spotlight results, iOS doesn’t just open the relevant conversation, it takes you to that specific message in the conversation and highlights it.
Side note: the highlight effect is really subtle, so you might miss it the first couple of times. I hope Apple makes this more apparent in an update.
Inexplicably, Spotlight still can’t suggest apps from App Store, but it can help you find that one app buried in a folder somewhere. If you have a lot of pages or folders, it can be a quick way to cut down on hunting for apps.
I place some contacts in Favorites, but I still have to hunt for many of the contacts I want to call or message. For a while, that meant my habit was to open Phone or Messages and tap a few times to get to a point where I can search for a contact. It was a slow and crufty process, and there’s a better way.
You can pull down Spotlight and searching for the contact first; it’s a much faster way to start the conversation. Plus, doing it that way gives you a choice of contact medium. By finding the contact first, You can choose to use iMessage, a phone call, or FaceTime video or audio.