Google Productivity Pad: How to easily find anything on your iPad using Spotlight Search

Monday, January 27, 2014

How to easily find anything on your iPad using Spotlight Search

Spotlight is one of the most under utilized features of iOS. Many people do not even realize it exists, and those that do often forget about it or don't understand how powerful it is. The truth is that it can save you lot of time you would otherwise waste looking for stuff on you device.

  • First make sure it is on for everything that you want to be able to search for. Go to Settings > General > Spotlight Search.
    • A check mark (red box) means that it can be searched for. I leave mine on for everything.
    • You can use the sorting bars (orange box) on the right to choose which order the categories will display in. Just hold on the bars and drag up or down.
  • Next you will need to go to the home screen to access spotlight. Prior to iOS 7 you got to the search screen by swiping to the left most home screen. In iOS 7 that changed to swiping down from near the top of the screen. 
  • Once the search bar and keyboard appear simply type the name of whatever it is you are looking for. In this case I wanted to find the BYU app so I simply typed "BY" into the search bar and it appeared.
  • You then click on whatever result you desire and you are done :)
Note that because using a single finger to scroll up on the iPad will cause spotlight to close, you must you two fingers to scroll through the results list, for some reason this is not the case on the iPhone.

This feature can save you lots of time looking for an app you only use once in a while, or finding the contact you are trying to call, or the song you want to play, or that txt message you can't remember exactly what it said. There are a lot of situations in which this kind of instant search capability can prove very useful.

A tip for bluetooth keyboard users, many keyboards have a search button (for me it is Fn > 4) that will open up the spotlight search, even from an app. Using that keyboard command can save you even more time.

Well that's it for today. I hope this can help you to remember to live better.

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