The (5) best ways to use Spotlight Search on your iPad

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Spotlight Search is probably one of the most under used tools on the iPad.  I know I have taken it for granted for years.  I know it’s there.  I know it can be a very useful search tool, and I know that it was enhanced with iOS 8. But, how often do we really ever use Spotlight Search on our own without being prompted?  If you’re anything like me, the answer is probably close to never.  I know there have to be some seasoned veterans out there who take full advantage of the powerful search capabilities of Spotlight Search–and that’s great.  Most of us, however, don’t.  So I thought I’d highlight a few of my favorite benefits of this built in utility, in no particular order.

Wikipedia Search

Type in a term like “Florida Caverns State Park” and you’ll get a snippet of the Wikipedia article, including a picture and a summary. Select “see full article” and Spotlight takes you to the full article in Safari.


Local Restaurant Search

Looking for a place to eat dinner with the family?  Simply enter the name of a restaurant, and Spotlight Search will show the restaurant website and the closest one nearby–including the phone number and address. Tap on the Maps selection, and you will get a info card that lists the phone number, webpage address, restaurant address, a quick map view, and the option of selecting “directions to or from here” in the Map App.  In addition, if you scroll down farther on the info card you will see the restaurant hours, the food category, delivery and reservation info, pictures of  food from the restaurant, and reviews submitted on Yelp.


App Store Search

Looking for a particular app you are considering purchasing in the App Store?  Just begin typing the name of the app in the search field and Spotlight searches the App Store to give you the best available options.  When you elect an app from the search, you will see a typical App Store summary with the option to open and purchase the app in the App Store.  In addition, if you forgot that you already have a particular app downloaded to your iPad, Spotlight Search will show you where it is located (if in a folder) and will give you the option of launching the app right from the search results.


Search Websites

Start typing the name of a website or a topic you would like to read more about, and Spotlight Search will give a a list of the top hit for a suggeted websites to open.


Search Movie Showtimes

To search for a particular movie, type the movie name, and Spotlight Search will list the closest local movie theaters and showtimes where your movie is playing.  Select the result, and Fandango will open in Safari with a more detailed listing of local movie times, details about the movie, and published fan reviews.


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2 thoughts on “The (5) best ways to use Spotlight Search on your iPad”

    1. Thanks for the comment Jeff. Now that you bring it up, I guess one of the main reasons that people don’t use Spotlight Search is that it isn’t completely obvious how to even activate it in the first place! To use Spotlight Search from any of your iPad home screens, just pull down with one finger in a swiping motion and the search window will appear. Great question!

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