Spotlight search in iOS allows you to search your entire phone for something that you’re looking for. Whether it’s an email, an app, a contact or a document, Spotlight search is like what indexed search is on Windows; when you enter in a search phrase, it searches your entire machine for files relating to that phrase.
In iOS 6, you accessed Spotlight search by swiping to the right and having it pop up, and it’s been like that ever since Spotlight search was introduced in iOS, so you would think that it would be the same in iOS 7, right? Wrong. Apple changed the swipe gesture in iOS 7 to something the company has never implemented before in iOS, so it’s a little difficult to find at first. Here’s how to do it.
Accessing Spotlight Search
To get to Spotlight search and find that something you’ve been looking for, simply swipe down in the middle of the home screen. Easy, right? Of course it is, but it’s amazing how Apple doesn’t tell you that they changed it, and since it’s a swipe gesture that Apple has never used before, swiping down in the middle of the home screen is the last gesture you would ever think of.
Anyway, to exit out of Spotlight search, you can either press the Home button, tap on “Cancel” or tap anywhere in the area where your home screen is still showing.
Spotlight search comes with a little bit of customization, but not a lot. To access these options, open up the Settings app and navigate to General > Spotlight Search. From there you can select which types of files that you want (and don’t want) included in Spotlight search. Just tap on an item to select/deselect it. A checkmark next to an item lets you know that those types of files will be included in a Spotlight search.
You can rearrange the items as far as what types of files show up at the top of the list when searching for something. Just tap and hold on the three horizontal lines to the right of an item, and drag it into a different position — either higher on the list or lower.
Personally, I don’t use Spotlight search and there’s no way to disable it without jailbreaking, sadly, but it doesn’t get in the way all that much anyway, as it’s unlikely that you’ll accidentally open it while you were actually just trying to open an app or complete another swipe gesture.