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Spotlight Search App: How to Search on iPhone

written by: Mike Piero•edited by: DaniellaNicole•updated: 7/4/2009

Interested in learning how to search through your files and information on the iPhone? This article features information and tips on using the new Spotlight feature in the 3.0 software to find anything you are looking for.

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    spotlight icon Spotlight searching has been a feature greatly missed on earlier versions of the iPhone. With the latest 3.0 software release, every model of the iPhone now has Spotlight integrated into the operating system. This saves the user from having to search for messages or calendar items on the Mac. Now, the user can search right from the Spotlight search bar on the iPhone.

    When using Spotlight, what does it actually search?

    Email messages





    iPod content

    photo Here is a search I did on my iPhone (yes, it’s the old generation) when I was looking for the phone number to Apple. Just like in Spotlight on the Mac, the search filters results as you type; therefore, after having only typed two letters, "Ap", it already found my listing for Apple in my contacts. Clicking on that entry will take me right to the contacts section of the Phone application.

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    How to access Spotlight on iPhone

    photo-1 The great thing is that Spotlight has been integrated throughout the entire iPhone OS. Perhaps the easiest way to search for data is from the home page. When on your main page, swipe left to access the Spotlight search bar pictured here. You can easily swipe back to get back to you main page. Instead of swiping, you can also click the home button once to take you to spotlight and once more to take you back.

    Remember, the home button from any app will take you back to the homepage. Clicking on the home button from the homepage, however, will take you to and from Spotlight.

    There are other ways to access Spotlight within some of the iPhone applications. For example, in the Mail app, there is now a Spotlight search box at the top of the screen, right above your emails. This will restrict Spotlight in searching only for items in your inbox. You can also quickly customize whether you are searching for an email by the following categories: From, To, Subject, or All.

    Spotlight search is also at the top of the contacts list in the Phone application, as it is in the Calendar application as well. Each of these searches its own application. Only the main page Spotlight search bar searches the entire iPhone

    Having not been accustomed to searching on the iPhone, it has taken me a little while to get used to this new feature. Now that I am using it though, it has saved me a lot of time in opening applications and scrolling through pages of information. This has been a long-awaited feature, and I am glad that it is finally here.

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    Image Credit

    Spotlight logo Copyright © Macworld

    iPhone screenshots Image Copyright © Apple