Can’t search anything on your iPhone or iPad using the Spotlight search feature?

Spotlight search is one of the crucial features of your iPhone or iPad. This feature is integrated into your apps so you may have faster search results when searching websites, email messages, applications or map locations. It can be very frustrating if this feature is not functioning, primarily if you use it often for various essential tasks.

Since Spotlight search was designed by Apple to enhance your device’s search capability, it also eats up a large portion of your device resources. The problem usually starts when you don’t have enough resources to spare for this feature. This often happens with older versions of the iPhone and iPad since they have lower technical capabilities.

But no worries.  We have managed to get together all the most effective and working solutions that have been tested and suggested by users into this guide.

Without further ado, let’s get started!


TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1. Turn Off Passcode Temporarily
    2. Change Phone Settings
    3. Disable Spotlight Search in Applications
    4. Free Up Memory Space
    5. Update to the Latest Version
    6. Restore Device and Setup as New
    7. Contact Apple for Support

 

How to Fix Spotlight Search not working on your iPhone or iPad: 7 Ways

 

 

1. Turn Off Passcode Temporarily.

It is possible that the security feature is having bugs and is affecting the Spotlight search function of your iPhone or iPad. Though only do this if you understand the risk of easing the security of your device.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. First and foremost, be sure you are in the home screen of your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Next, tap on Settings, then find and tap Face ID & Passcode option. In some versions, this could be written as Touch ID & Passcode.

Spotlight Search Not Working on iPhone or iPad

 

  1. Now, scroll down and tap Turn Passcode Off.

Spotlight Search Not Working on iPhone or iPad

 

  1. Finally, you will be prompt with a disclaimer message, and tap Turn Off. If asked, provide your passcode. Now that you remove the conflict between the Spotlight search app and the passcode, you will be able to use the search feature with no issues.

 

 

2. Change Phone Settings.

Spotlight search indexing can be impeded if the file that is handling language in your Apple device has been corrupted. This is a pretty common cause and multiple users have reported that this solution managed to fix the issue for them. The solution involves rebuild the file, temporarily switching the device’s regions and then refreshing the device.

Here’s are the steps for you to follow:

  1. Go ahead and tap on the Settings option, then General.
  2. Next, tap on the Language & Region option on your iPhone or iPad.

iPhone Keyboard, Language, Region, Dictionary Settings

 

  1. Then on the Language & Region settings, make sure that the language is set to English.

Spotlight Search Not Working on iPhone or iPad

 

  1. Now tap on Region option and change it to Canada, Australia or the UK.
  2. Shutdown your device by going back to Settings, then General, and then tap Shutdown option.
  3. Turn back on your device and go back to Step 2. This time change the Region back to the United States.
  4. Finally, do Step 4 for the shutdown process and turn your device back on to refresh the settings.

Another setting that might be causing the conflict with your Spotlight Search is the Predictive and Checking Spelling function. To make sure that your device is searching for the correct keyword and do not change it through these functions, you need to disable it. Go to the Settings of your device, then tap General, and then Keyboard option. Disable Predictive option and Checking Spelling on the Keyboard settings page.

 

Spotlight Search Not Working on iPhone or iPad

 

Dictionary function also has a similar service and needs to be disabled as well. To do that, go back to the Settings, then General, and then tap on Dictionary option. Toggle the button to disable the feature.

Spotlight Search Not Working on iPhone or iPad

 

Now that you can make changes in your device settings, you will be to use the Spotlight search with no problem. But if ever you still have issues with the Spotlight search, proceed to the next method.

 

 

3. Disable Spotlight Search in Applications.

An application may be having a conflict with the Spotlight search app. This usually happens because different developers develop each application. As a result, it can sometimes cause compatibility issues because these developers have their specifications. And their outdated design may not match with the new feature such as the Spotlight search.

To fix this, you need to disable the search option in each application. You may need to enable it one by one to see which app is causing the conflict.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Go ahead and tap on the Settings, then Siri & Search on your device.

iPhone iOS 13 Settings

 

  1. Then tap the application name on the list at the bottom area of the screen and turn off the following options:
  • Learn from this App
  • Show in Search
  • Show App
  • Suggest Shortcuts (if applicable)
  • Show Siri Suggestions (if applicable)

Spotlight Search Not Working on iPhone or iPad

 

  1. Now, repeat Step 2 for each application on the list.
  2. After that, test if you can use Spotlight search with no issues.
  3. Go back to Step 2, but this time enable the Siri & Search option on one application, then test the Spotlight search function. Repeat this until you can find the application that is causing the conflict.
  4. Finally, to be more efficient, enable the Siri & Search function on essential applications.

Now that you have removed the conflict between the application and Spotlight search function, you will be able to utilize it without a problem. But if you are still experiencing the same issue, check out the next method for another potential fix.

 

 

4. Free Up Memory Space.

Another cause for your Spotlight Search not functioning could be because there is no enough space on your device to load the search result data. This usually happens to older versions of iPhone and iPad with limited storage capacity.

To fix this, you need to uninstall unimportant applications that occupy a large portion of your storage.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Go ahead and go to the Settings, then General option
  2. Then iPhone Storage or iPad Storage option on your iPhone or iPad.

iOS 13 General Settings

 

  1. Then, look for the application that you are not using and has a significant storage value. Take note of those applications.

Spotlight Search Not Working on iPhone or iPad

 

  1. Now, go back to the Home screen of your device and look for the app icon which you want to delete.
  2. Touch and hold the app icon until you see the app starts to wiggle and an x button appears on its left-top corner. To delete the app just tap on the x icon.
  3. You will be prompted with a confirmation message, simply tap on Delete to confirm the removal of the app from your device.
  4. Finally, repeat the step on all applications you want to delete.

Now that you have enough space on your storage, your Spotlight search feature will be able to function correctly. But if the Spotlight search still having the same issues, check out the next method for it might help resolve it.

 

 

5. Update to the Latest Version.

Bugs and glitches are often the main culprits to why your Spotlight search is not working correctly although this depends on the iOS or iPadOS version itself.

Often the conflict occurs when you update your applications and but not your device’s operating system. Your application may have been developed to work with the latest version of your operating system and as a result, the Spotlight search component is not updated either.

So you must make sure you update your iPhone to the newest iOS version or iPad to the newer iPadOS versions by way of checking for updates manually and then updating.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. First, make sure you plug-in your iPhone or iPad into power and connect to the internet using Wi-Fi.
  2. Now jump into your Settings app and then tap General.

Spotlight Search Not Working on iPhone or iPad

 

  1. Next, tap on Software Update.

Spotlight Search Not Working on iPhone or iPad

 

  1. Now choose and tap Download and Install. If a message appears that you will be temporarily removing apps because of space requirements for the update, tap Continue. Don’t worry, the iOS will reinstall apps that it removed after the process. If you tap Cancel, know what to do next.

 

Apple Update iOS

 

  1. If you want to proceed with the update right away, tap Install. Or you can tap Later and choose Install Tonight or Remind Me Later. If you tap Install Tonight, plug your device into power before you go to sleep. Your device will update automatically overnight.
  2. Finally, provide the passcode if applicable.

Now that you have the latest version of your operating system, the bugs have been fixed, and the Spotlight search feature should work correctly. But if you are still having the same issue, proceed to the next method.

 

 

6. Restore Device and Setup as New.

Sometimes there are corrupted system files in your iPhone or iPad that cannot be detected. If that happens, the only way to fix this issue is to restore your device to its factory default state. To do it, you can use the Finder application in your macOS Catalina (and later macOS versions) or iTunes application in your macOS Mojave (and earlier macOS versions) or Windows 10.

But before you start the recovery process, make sure that your macOS and the applications Finder or iTunes are in the latest version. Here’s how you can restore your device:

  1. Go ahead and connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac or PC with a Lightning to USB cable.
  2. Then, locate your device using the Finder or iTunes in your computer.
If you’re on Finder (macOS Catalina or later)

Spotlight Search Not Working on iPhone or iPad

 

If you’re on iTunes (before macOS Catalina)

Spotlight Search Not Working on iPhone or iPad

 

 

  1. Now, click on your device name on the left side of the screen. This will bring up details for the device selected.
  2. Find and click the Restore iPhone or iPad option. If you’re signed in, you need to sign out before you can click Restore.
If you’re on Finder (macOS Catalina or later)

Restore iPhone from Finder

 

If you’re on iTunes (before macOS Catalina)

Restore iPhone from iTunes

 

  1. Click Restore again to confirm. Your computer erases your device and installs the latest iOS or iPadOS software.
  2. Finally, after your device restores to factory settings, it will restart. After that, you will be able to set it up as new.

You can opt to restore your device from backup after the process. But we prefer that you set up it as new to be sure that there are no corrupted files will be loaded from backup. You will be able to use the Spotlight search feature with no issues now. But if you are still experiencing the same problems, proceed to the next method.

 

 

7. Contact Apple for Support.

If you do not want to risk restoring your device on your own, you can always let the Apple-certified technicians do it for you. This process, along with other software and hardware repair services, is available at your nearest Apple store. In the worst case that there might be a problem with the hardware, be sure to check the warranty options for your device.

You can also check the available support in your country if ever you don’t have an Apple store near your place. There is a handy option to book an appointment for repair online so that you can send your Apple device through a courier. They will be able to repair your Apple device in their lab, and you can monitor the repair progress anytime you want.

Apple Repair

 

We hope that this guide has helped fix the Spotlight search not working on iPhone or iPad. If you have questions, please feel free to leave a comment below, and we will love to help you out. ❤

 

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