In my opinion, multitasking is the single biggest feature that has been added to the iPad since its more humble beginnings in 2010. While it was certainly possible to use earlier iPads as tools for creation, rather than just consumption, it was this feature that allowed users to take the greatest advantage of tablet’s the screen real estate and increasingly powerful processors. For me personally, this is the feature that makes my 12.9″ iPad Pro more than just an oversized tablet. As much as I love using the Apple Pencil, I use multitasking multiple times a day, every day.
Let’s take a bit of a break from criticizing iOS 9 and shine a light on one aspect that has been working really well so far: Spotlight Search for third-party apps. I honestly had my doubts about this one when it was announced. It’s an exciting prospect and could prove to be a new, extremely powerful way to navigate your information, regardless of the app. That’s because it’s often easier to remember a piece of information (“pie recipe”) rather than which app you’ve placed that information in. Swiping between different home screen pages and opening app folders can very quickly become disorienting, and I’ve often found myself entering apps only to ask: what was I looking for again? Spotlight search for third-party apps addresses this issue by letting you type into the search bar and find relevant results, organized by app.
Once implemented by an iOS 9-compatible app, specific developer-specified strings of your data become indexed for Spotlight search. Some examples of apps doing this are:
- search the inbox (but not archive) for the title or contents of any note
- search for notes by title in any notebook available on your device
- search for notes by title + content in any notebook available on your device
- enter the name of a movie and see IMDB results in Spotlight
Here’s a quick, basic tip for those of you who have updated to iOS 7 on your iPads. I’ve seen a good number of people puzzled by this after updating: how to bring up the Spotlight Search bar in iOS 7.
And it’s very easy of course, once you know how. Here’s how you bring up the search bar in iOS 7:
Swipe down from anywhere on any of your home screens. Don’t swipe down from the very top status bar – that will invoke the Notification Center.
That’s it. Spotlight search is just as fast and useful as ever, there’s just a new way to launch it.