Search on iPad with Spotlight on iOS

Several months ago I wrote an article about how to search on iPad. It mainly referred to iOS 6.
The main benefits of searching your iPad with iOS 7, 8 or 9 remain the same. With iOS 7, 8 and 9, you are able to locate things quickly and easily, whether it’s an App, a contact, song, email, book or appointment.


There is a subtle change though and it boils down to how to access Spotlight (the search utility). In this post I will show you how to access, use and configure Spotlight on iOS 7, iOS 8 and iOS 9.

Applicable to:
iPad versions: iPad 2, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini, iPad Pro
iOS versions: iOS 7, iOS 8, iOS 9

Opening and using iPad Search (Spotlight)

To access the Search utility, swipe down from the middle of your Home screen.


The iPad search bar appears on top of your iPad screen and the keyboard on the bottom.


As you type any words, Spotlight will update the search results. Spotlight searches are not case-sensitive. Uppercase or lowercase inputs will generate same results. On this example I’m searching for a lunch appointment.


Configuring Spotlight

Did you know you can choose what Spotlight searches for? Did you know you can set the order of the results?

That’s right you can choose to display results only for Apps, Music and Contacts and leave out the rest and/or you can configure which results to show first.

Tap on General > Spotlight Search


This brings you to the Spotlight Search screen. Here you can select/deselect the type of results you want to see while performing a search and by dragging and dropping the tabs you can configure the order of the results.


Questions? Thoughts?

Did you ever have trouble finding an App or email? Try Spotlight, it will make your life easier from now on.
I look forward to hearing your comments.

5 thoughts on “Search on iPad with Spotlight on iOS”

  1. Wow! the insights are great – have been using iOS7 since its beta, but still you can’t know all features – will try these too.

  2. Thanks for the graphics! I tried several others on the Internet but none worked for me. I did as you illustrated and found the Spotlight!

    With the others I ended up with either search the web/wikipedia or with Notifications.

    • That was exactly why I posted the pictures. Thanks for the feedback, it is really appreciated!!

  3. Will you be providing guides for iOS 8? It seems to me that all your information is for iOS 6&7, which is outdated.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Lea,
      Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I know some of the posts were written for iOS 6 way back then and many were written for iOS 7. I just reviewed this post (Search on iPad with Spotlight on iOS) and saw that there are no specific changes for searching on iPad between iOS 7 and 8. The post is still relevant. I also updated the text to mention the instructions also apply to iOS 8 and avoid any confusions.

      I will go through other important topics and update for iOS 8 if needed.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions or suggestions.


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