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As part of its annual iOS update, Apple has made some updates to Spotlight. Here’s how to take advantage of the changes iOS 16 brings to the search tool.
Every year, Apple’s long list of iOS updates includes a ton of changes for Spotlight. For 2022, there are even more tweaks to the tool, which can help you get the information or access an app at a fast pace.
As usual, it can provide app usage tips, modes, and shortcut tips based on your usage. This will get better as you use your iPhone and get more accurate as time goes on.
It’s also a powerful search tool if you need to answer a query, quickly summon a contact, or open a rarely used app without searching.
At first glance, it looks a lot like the iOS 15 version, but with a few immediate differences.
The Spotlight screen has changed its search box to just above the keyboard, and the search box has also moved to the bottom of the screen when displaying results in a full-screen view. Naturally, this brings everything else back to the default view and in the search results a bit further up the screen.
Many incoming changes are result-based or done behind the scenes to better integrate with other functions. Here’s everything you need to know to get started with Spotlight in iOS 16.
The first thing is to learn how to display it on the screen. Previously, you could call Spotlight by swiping down from the center of the screen, but now a second option is available.
The little row of dots that shows which home screen page you’re on now displays a button marked “Search” when you’re not actively displaying the row of dots. You can tap on it to bring up the same Spotlight screen.
Once in Spotlight, you can tap a suggestion, or if it’s something else, tap the search box, then start entering your search, then tap the Search button.
As usual, a results screen will appear, providing lists of Siri’s knowledge base, contacts, apps, communications that use the term, related web searches, and options to search other apps.
deal with apps
Instead of going directly to your phone or the app store, you can search for an app through Spotlight. The result will appear in the Top Hit section and will also tell you if the app is installed and accessible, was previously installed but can be downloaded, or was not installed on the device.
Touching the list of an installed app will open the app. Tapping on a previously installed but deleted app will set it to download and install again before opening it.
How to install apps using Spotlight in iOS 16
- Throw Stand out.
- Look for the app.
- In the App Store, view the app icon and tap the Get button next to it.
- Confirm installation, and the app will be downloaded and added to your device.
You can also use Spotlight to uninstall installed apps.
How to uninstall apps using Spotlight in iOS 16
- Throw Stand out.
- Look for the app.
- touch and hold the app icon, until a pop-up window appears.
- Select Delete appafter Erase to confirm.
The context of the results
When using Spotlight, you should keep in mind that it pulls data from many different sources on your iPhone to try to give you the best possible result.
For example, searching for a contact could generate lists of contacts for that person, along with communications with or about them in Messages and Mail, related documents, and calendar entries involving them.
The famous name search can also display web images related to the term, Siri Knowledge details, suggested websites, and Apple Music and Book Store listings that they may be related to.
You can refine what is displayed by adjusting the options within Settings. Doing so could limit what shows up in searches, such as preventing data from specific apps from showing up in results.
How to refine Spotlight search sources in iOS 16
- Open Settings.
- Open Siri and search.
- scroll down to Apple Suggestions. You can toggle these options if needed.
- Scroll down to see a application list.
- Select the app want to manage, such as Contacts, to bring up more options.
These options have changed slightly since iOS 15, reorganized with new groupings that make them easier to understand in many cases. For Contacts, the top “Learn from this app” list lets Siri learn how you use Contacts so it can offer better suggestions in Spotlight and elsewhere.
The During Search section will show whether the app itself or its content appears in the results.
You can toggle other items, like Suggest App, to either allow or prevent Siri from suggesting the app in your queues of apps that it thinks you want to use.
What else is new?
In iOS 16, Apple has outlined several changes that should make Spotlight even more useful. However, not all of these features are accessible in the beta versions, so they will be usable at the time of the release of iOS 16 or shortly thereafter.
To begin with, it uses its processing on the device to use the information that appears in the images. You can scan messages, notes, and files to find locations, people, scenes, text, or objects in images, which you can present in the results.
However, you will need an iPhone with an A12 Bionic chip or later for this feature to be available.
You can also use Spotlight to take a quick action. You can search for an app name to see related shortcuts, create custom shortcuts to access within Spotlight, or perform system actions like starting a timer or changing a focus.
Results will also be more useful contextually, with Siri now considering previous searches. This also goes for other things Siri will think you’ll be doing soon, like providing navigation app suggestions if you’re headed to an appointment you’ve set in Calendar.
Sports fans will benefit from Start Live Activities, a feature that will provide updates about an event, such as a game or team game. The option will appear when you search for teams, but only for a limited number of sports and countries.
NBA and English Premier League live activities will be available in the US and Canada, and MLB live activities will also be available in Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the UK.