Stop Using Spotlight on Your iPhone (And Do It Instead)

Stop Using Spotlight on Your iPhone (And Do It Instead)

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Spotlight, once an essential tool in your iPhone’s productivity arsenal, has become nearly unusable on iOS 16. It sometimes shows search results almost instantly, but most of the time it takes a few seconds (or more) to find things. The the latency is especially noticeable on older iPhones, and the inconsistency of a once-reliable tool is pretty sad to see.

The same feature faced similar issues on Mac, but at least there’s alternatives, such as Alfred and Raycastwhich compensate. On your iPhone, you cannot replace Spotlight with an alternative, but there are a few workarounds you can try.

Use your iPhone Application Library

If you keep swiping left on your iPhone home screen, you will find the app library at the very end. Once there, swipe down to open the search bar and type in the name of the app you want to find. You will see that this search box instantly loads the results you are looking for. We tried this on a three-year-old iPhone XS Max with around 200 apps installed. Loaded results without lag or long waits, every time. IIt’s just a matter of moving your muscle memory from Spotlight to searching in the App Library. It takes more swipes, but it does the job faster overall. And if you hide or remove all home screen pages but one, the app library can be a sweep.

For other types of searches, it’s best to open individual apps and use the search box within. For example, instead of using Spotlight to search for contacts, you can open the Contacts or Phone apps and search there.

Reduce what Spotlight can show you

You can turn off some of the potential results that slow Spotlight down. This solution isn’t ideal because it reduces Spotlight’s functionality, but if you really can’t use other methods, it’s worth a try. Be careful though, this one is a bit bulky. First, you can go to Settings > Siri & Search on your iPhone and disable the following options:

  • Show suggestions
  • View recent events
  • Show in search
  • Show Featured

This will reduce the elements that Spotlight tries to load and could improve performance. If this does not work, the next step is a After tedious option. On the same settings page, scroll down and tap any app name. Disable Show content in search to prevent Spotlight from indexing this app’s content. You can repeat this process manually for any apps you don’t want Spotlight to scan. It goes without saying that you might not want to do this for applications like Contacts, where you may often want to see detailed information. But once you’re doneyour lag Spotlight should be much faster.

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