Tom Tips & Tricks by

6 reviews
4.33 stars

How To Exclude Apps From Spotlight Search

Here’s a tutorial on how to exclude specific apps from your Spotlight search on iPhone and customize the search results. With the advent of iOS 9, Apple introduced numerous new customization options for iPhone users. One of them is interesting with respect to the search feature, which has been revamped in this iteration of iOS 9. You can now pick and choose which apps (and their respective in-app content) appear in your search results.

The new iOS 9 search does not only suggest certain apps, contacts or other shortcuts at the appropriate time and place via “Siri Suggestions” (which also functions as a sort of speed dial), but also allows you to go deeper and search within apps.

How to search “within” apps on iOS 9

Say you have a bunch of documents in a PDF scanner app. If your app supports the new feature, you will be able to search within its document folder by typing in a search term in your global Spotlight search, which is located to the left of your main Home Screen and can be accessed by swiping it to the right or bottom of the screen. Both methods work just as well for our purposes.

How to exclude apps from Spotlight results

Prerequisite: You will require iOS 9 running on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to complete this guide. If you are currently on a lower (older) version of iOS, you will need to upgrade. Prior iOS versions don’t have the deep search feature, therefore there is no such option.

Customizing Spotlight search on iPhone

Settings > General > Spotlight Search

Go to your “Settings” app and tap “General” to get to a list of settings on your iPhone. Now tap “Spotlight Search” to customize the search result list. Each of your apps has a toggle on this page. By turning off the respective toggle for the app in question, we hide this app from the search results. This is handy for privacy or clarity reasons, as it gives you the option to filter and optimize your list of Spotlight search results.