Searching Your iPhone or iPad

If you don’t know how to use the search feature on your iPhone or iPad, I think you are doing yourself a disservice. The search feature is easy to use and powerful. Here are instructions for using it.

  • Wake up or unlock your iPhone (or iPad).
  • Place your finger in the middle of the screen and swipe down on the screen. [Note: If you place your finger near the top of the screen and swipe down you’ll open up the Notification Center.]
  • The Search field appears. Let’s imagine you’re looking for the Settings app because you can’t find its icon. Simply type Settings into the Search field. The search is performed automatically as soon as you begin typing.
  • You should see a results section titled Top Hits which lists the Setting app. Tap on it to open it.

Searching is that simple!

Let me give another example so you can see how useful it is.

Let’s imagine that you want to search your iPhone for a good friend named Tim Hannon. Swipe down on your device’s screen to access the Search field and then type in Tim Hannon. The search results will list the Tim Hannon that was found in your Contacts list. It’ll also show you email messages or text messages from Tim Hannon as well as calendar events that include Tim Hannon in the name or notes. The results could also include Tweets from Tim and any files that contain Tim Hannon in their name or content.

The search function will search through all types of data (apps, contact records, calendar events, notes, text messages, tweets, files, photos, etc) for the word or words that you type into the search field. In addition to searching your device itself, search will also the Internet. If you were to search for the word sushi, the results could include any of the following:

  • Sushi restaurants in your Contacts
  • A note the you have about sushi
  • The names of sushi restaurants close to you.
  • The names of Apps for sale on the App Store that contain the word sushi in their name
  • Songs, Albums, TV Shows or Movies available in the iTunes store that reference sushi
  • Websites about sushi
  • NYTimes articles about sushi

The Search function is really powerful. The results you see are affected by which apps you have installed on your device. If you don’t have a Twitter app setup on your device then you wouldn’t see tweets. If you don’t have the NYTimes app on your device then the results won’t list NY Times articles.

You owe it to yourself to experiment with iOS’ search feature. It’s fast and powerful.

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