Spotlight apps

So, you’ve got apps spread out everywhere throughout your device. Some are scattered about multiple pages, and some, courtesy of iOS 7’s lax folder restrictions, are scattered throughout multiple pages of folders. How’s a guy to keep tabs on all of this activity?

One easy way to do so is to simply use iOS’ built in Spotlight search. Obviously, you can use Spotlight to search for a number of different items on your device, including apps. Inside, I’ll show you how to quickly list every installed application on your device, along with the folders that they reside in.

I should note that I’ve taken the liberty to customize my Spotlight search in a way that works best for my workflow. Below is a screenshot of my spotlight configuration as found in Settings > General > Spotlight Search:

Spotlight search options

I find that organizing Spotlight in this way not only places apps at the top of my results, but it also reduces much of the excess noise that plagues Spotlight.

Once you have Spotlight configured as desired, all you need to do is open Spotlight search using a swipe down motion while on the Home screen, and insert a single character, such as a period symbol, in the search bar. Spotlight should then provide a listing of each and every app installed on your device.

What’s even nicer is the fact that Spotlight will list the folder that the app resides in, if it happens to be in one. You can find the app’s folder designation to the right of its name.


Spotlight search is an effective tool to use if you ever need to take a quick inventory of your device’s installed applications. What do you think?

  • marcus1324

    Seriously Jeff people know this…

    • thetomthebomb

      Well I didn’t…

    • 4p0c4lyps3

      Now. Now.

    • Jeff

      I guarantee there are quite a few people who had no idea you could list every app on your device. I didn’t know it, and I deal with iOS devices day-in and day-out for hours on end.

      • marcus1324

        Alright I see your point but I feel like this is just filler until the iOS 7 jailbreak comes and then people will be REALLY excited to watch your videos

      • blastingbigairs

        I agree 100%, but give the guy a break, it’s not his fault that without a JB IOS has become desperately boring and kind of lame. I’m so glad I am still on IOS 6 and scrolling through the many tweaks Cydia has to offer.

      • marcus1324

        It’s probably hard to figure out what to post when there isn’t a jailbreak available on the current major release of iOS. I have had iOS since 2009 so I was ready for a refresh regardless of jailbreak, I’m not tired of iOS 7 at all yet in fact I’m just getting started with really liking it.

      • blastingbigairs

        Yea I hear ya, my wife has it on her iPhone 5, and it looks decent enough, but I just can’t get myself to give up my free wifi tethering (TetherMe) and MovieBox. All the other stuff like Winterboard I could do without. Who knows, I might just pull the trigger if too many apps start acting weird on IOS 6. Only time will tell.

      • Jeff Ramirez

        I had no idea this little trick existed. Now, before everyone calls me ignorant, I’m pretty tech savvy. But this is probably something I would have found out on accident. So thanks, Jeff. Great article. Learn something new everyday.

      • Alex Marwaha

        Boss move Jeff. Nice.

    • There are many who know even how to throw a file into the trash and delete. and there are a few who doesn’t. It’s good to get rid the few.

    • Jonathan

      Neither did I…

  • Mr 5abi

    without the jailbreak of the latest ios7 my iphone got boring and the same reason is making iDB un-interesting these days! 🙁

  • Why not type in ls?

  • czbird

    Can you finally delete an app by swiping on the Spotlight search result in iOS7?

    • Lÿo

      You might wanna checkout Settings > General > Usage (Storage > Show All Apps). You can quickly delete apps from here.

  • TesticularFortitude

    Please post more, Jeff!! I appreciate your input. It’s a breath of fresh air from the daily litigation articles, the rumor mongering, and just your general rehashed story distributed between Apple sites.

  • Chem

    InstaLauncher owns this. JAILBREAK NATION

  • Marcio Atouguia

    I didn’t know this eather. Thank you Jeff

  • Coach E

    Nice to see not everybody assumes everybody else knows too. Even experienced users sometimes forget the little simple things. For those who think they know it all relax, if you believe that then you really are missing the point.

  • Lee Pattison

    Even if you do know how to do it, this is a top tip for people that don’t
    share the knowledge that what this site is about no ?

  • batongxue


  • deepdvd

    If only Spotlight alphabetized the app results when you only type a period.

  • gopurdue60

    Thanks. I guess I don’t qualify as everyone. Appreciate any info

  • Anthony Nguyen

    I just found out a cool trick you could do in the music app. When in landscape mode, you could pinch to zoom in or out to see more your albums or less. I just want to tell people this who did not knew before

  • Jo

    I can confirm that this works on iOS 6.

  • Elxlr

    I didn’t know about it, even though i consider myself a power user. I tried it in IOS 6 , and it worked . Helped me.

  • Jackson Mah

    The other way to do is
    Setting > General > Usage > Storage
    This is where you can see all your apps with their sizes and best of all, you can DELETE a particular app if you need to free up some storage/space.
    Mind you, it is take a minute or less to load up all the info and delete means, DELETE everything that app contains.

  • TonyCr

    Another thing is to connect the device to iTunes. Do a backup including apps and look at the apps list for the device. If it says Remove, it’s in the device. Install indicates it’s not. the nice thing about this is that you can add/remove at the same time.

    Obviously you can’t launch apps from here, but it will help you manage them.