The iPhone has a feature called Spotlight search which can find just about anything stored on this pocket-sized Apple computer. That’s what a modern smartphone really is, a computer that’s more powerful than early desktop machines. Apple‘s Spotlight search actually originated on its Mac computers and quickly becomes an everyday tool after the first few uses.

Everyone is familiar with an internet search, the way to find answers to common questions, solutions to problems, and details about products. That same capability can be turned inward on an iPhone, iPad, and Mac computer using Spotlight, a feature added to Mac OS X Tiger in 2005. It sounds like a small thing but an internal search can make a big difference in how a computer is used.

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Apple‘s Spotlight Search is a fantastic time-saving feature that can help to locate almost anything on an iPhone. It can serve as a quick way to find a note or reminder, an easy way to locate people in contacts, and can even find receipts by searching for text in images. Spotlight indexes Notes, Reminders, Calendar events, Photos, Settings, and much more. One of the best things about it is the ease of use. Simply swiping down from the center of the Home screen opens a search box and raises the keyboard for swiping or tapping letters and the search happens almost instantly after just a few letters. Apple keeps expanding Spotlight’s abilities and now it can also reveal movies, TV shows, music, and website results.

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Apple iPhone 13 Pro With Magnifying Glass Icon Overlaid

Spotlight, like most iPhone features, integrates well with Apple‘s apps but might not work as well with third-party apps. There are ways for an app to index its data to make it appear in a Spotlight search but some don’t. In some cases, there is a workaround if it’s possible to bring the app data into an Apple app. For example, Google’s mail service is designed to work with the Gmail app. It’s also possible to add a Google mail account to Apple’s iPhone Mail app, and suddenly emails that comes to the user’s Gmail account can be searched via Spotlight.

When setting up a Home screen, the most often used or quickly needed apps are generally placed there. The camera app is a good example since the need to snap a picture can arise at any given time. Maps and the Safari browser are commonly placed on the Home screen as well as the Phone and Messages apps. Apps that are important but rarely used might be best left in the App Library since opening them is super quick by swiping down and starting to type the name in the search box. iPhone options can sometimes be buried deep within the Settings app, yet are another item that is easy to find by name with a Spotlight search.