How to convert units and currencies and get exchange rates with Spotlight on iPhone and iPad

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 1, 2015

In addition to running simple math with a little help of iOS 9’s vastly improved Spotlight Search, your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad also lets you run unit and currency conversions, and get live exchange rates, right from any Home screen.

This convenient feature is another great time-saver provided by iOS 9, even more so if you resort to third-party apps for live currency conversions on the go.

With Spotlight in iOS 9, you can convert dollars to euros, feet to meters, pounds to kilograms, hectares to acres and much more, here’s how. Read More


Shazam update brings support for iOS 9’s enhanced Spotlight Search and more

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 21, 2015

Shazam, the popular music and media identification software, has rolled out a brand new 9.0 update to its iPhone and iPad application in the App Store, bringing out support for Spotlight Search on iOS 9, improved Bluetooth listening and other tidbits.

Shazam songs and artists can now be searched from the Home screen on iOS 9 and tapping a Shazam result takes you directly into that content within Shazam’s mobile app. Read More


New in iOS 9: Spotlight can solve math problems

By Jeff Benjamin on Sep 19, 2015

One of my favorite things about Spotlight and Alfred on OS X, is that both allow me to quickly churn out quick answers to simple math problems. Prior to iOS 9, Spotlight on iOS was extremely limited, but thanks to some major effort on the part of Spotlight’s engineering team, the search feature is starting slowly creep towards its feature-rich big brother on Mac.

One detail that’s been flying under the radar is Spotlight’s new ability to solve simple math problems directly from the Spotlight interface. It’s like having a calculator app that’s readily accessible with just a simple swipe from the Home screen. Read More


How to prevent Spotlight from searching certain apps on iPhone and iPad with iOS 9

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 17, 2015

iOS 9 sports an easily overlooked yet significant enhancement to Spotlight, permitting you to search and discover content buried deep within the apps on your device right from Spotlight’s search field on the Home screen.

This was made possible because the iOS 9 SDK gives developers the tools to expose content stored inside their apps to the operating system in order to make it searchable and linkable within Spotlight.

But as you install apps from the App Store that support Spotlight, they get automatically added to Spotlight, whether you like it or not.

And with too many apps feeding their content to Spotlight, the feature shows the tendency to run slower than usual due to indexing. Of course, not each and every app needs to be searched this way.

In fact, it might be prudent to turn off ones that pollute your search results and make Spotlight run slower than usual. In this tutorial, we’re going to explain how you can selectively exclude content from specific apps from surfacing in Spotlight search results. Read More


How to search within third-party apps using Spotlight on iOS 9

By Jeff Benjamin on Sep 16, 2015

One of the biggest new features found in iOS 9 is the adoption of universal search. Universal search is a new feature that allows you to search for content within apps directly from Spotlight search.

On previous versions of iOS, searching was limited to the web and first party Apple apps pre-installed on iOS. For example, with older version of iOS you could search for contents within the Notes app, but couldn’t do so for third-party note apps.

With iOS 9’s new Spotlight search abilities, you can now search and discover content buried deep within the apps on your iPhone. It makes Spotlight feel truly useful and brand new. Read More


Spotlight gets smarter in iOS 9

By Jeff Benjamin on Jun 8, 2015

Spotlight search has been completely redesigned for iOS 9, and it brings with it a new interface, a new search API, deep linking to search results, and more. With an interface that harkens back to the pre-iOS 7 days, search is now a powerful new tool in iOS. Read More


Applebot, a web crawler for Siri and Spotlight, unmasked in a support document

By Christian Zibreg on May 6, 2015

An official support document updated last evening has confirmed that Apple is using a web crawler service called Applebot to index the web for content used by its Siri personal digital assistant on iOS devices and built-in Spotlight search on both iOS and OS X.

An Apple-operated engine, Applebot is described as “the web crawler for Apple” which gathers useful content for products including Siri and Spotlight Suggestions. The document doesn’t state how long AppleBot has been operational in production. Read More


Twitter content and accounts coming soon to Spotlight search

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 29, 2015

According to Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, Twitter content such as tweets and accounts are coming to Apple’s Spotlight search engine on Macs and iOS devices, allowing for an even tighter integration between the iPhone maker and the popular micro-blogging service, MacWorld reported Wednesday. Apple added Twitter to the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad as the inaugural third-party service integration in iOS 5 three years ago. Read More


Spotlight bug exposes your Mac’s IP address and more to spammers

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 9, 2015

An unusual oversight in how OS X’s Spotlight feature handles privacy settings in Apple Mail leaves the door open to spammers, phishers and online tracking companies who can obtain private data such as your IP address, current operating system version, browser details and more, whenever an email message is previewed in Spotlight.

First discovered by German technology news site Heise, the bug takes advantage of a common information harvesting technique and a Mail setting which determines whether or not the program loads remote content in emails. Read More


Liberate OS X’s Spotlight search with Flashlight

By Timothy Reavis on Jan 7, 2015

For years now, Alfred has been a staple of OS X workflow applications, enhancing search on the Mac and adding many features in the process. Spotlight search remained rather antiquated in comparison until Apple revived it with OS X Yosemite, but there’s still much to be desired. While Alfred will continue to hold its well-deserved position as a staple Mac app, Flashlight has the potential to reach far beyond the abilities of Alfred to make OS X’s native Spotlight search an incredibly powerful and useful tool.

Imagine using ⌘+SPACE as a text-based Siri, in which typing the phrase “remind me to Write Flashlight review at 2pm” or “text Mike I’m on Steam, wanna play?” will do exactly as expected. However, Flashlight not only allows reminders to be made and messages to be sent directly from Spotlight – its potential reaches much further. Read More


How to turn Spotlight into a better application launcher

By Jeff Benjamin on Jan 2, 2015

Searchlight is a jailbreak tweak that allows you to improve Spotlight in a few basic ways: it allows you to access the Spotlight search interface from anywhere, even while within an app, and it allows you to bolt on recent and favorite apps to the interface as well. If you’re used to using application launchers on your desktop machine, then Searchlight might be a jailbreak tweak that fits nicely into your workflow. Read More


How to increase the availability of QuickType in iOS 8

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 17, 2014

iOS 8 ushered in a new QuickType predictive text feature that is bolted on to the top of the keyboard. The purpose of the QuickType feature is to help you type faster by predicting the words you might use next. I find that QuickType is usually a hate it or love it feature, but some people swear by it.

For those of you who can’t live without QuickType, there’s a brand new jailbreak tweak that may garner your interest. It’s called SystemWidePredictiveText, and it enables the iOS 8 QuickType feature in places where it’s not normally available. Read More


Using OS X Yosemite’s revamped Spotlight Search

By Jeff Benjamin on Oct 30, 2014

Spotlight has been improved through and through to be more useful in OS X Yosemite. It has adopted an Alfred-inspired interface that makes working with Spotlight easier and more powerful.

Want to see some of the main differences in action? Have a look at our video walkthrough as we showcase some of the new things that Spotlight has to offer. Read More


The best new features of iOS 8

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 17, 2014

Admittedly, the myriad of new and useful capabilities that Apple’s just-released iOS 8 brings to your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad are going to prove hugely popular with mainstream users, to say the least. With iOS 8, Apple is appeasing harsh critics who’d frequently point out that Android is capable of things iOS cannot do, and then some more.

iOS 8 opens up Apple’s mobile operating system to third-party development to a much greater extent than ever before. And stemming from relaxed policies, iOS 8 boosts on-the-go productivity with deeper inter-app sharing while implementing some of the features our Android friends have grown accustomed to, but in a typical hassle-free Apple fashion, things like third-party keyboards, custom actions, photo editing extensions within the context of Photos and Camera apps and way more.

And though evolutionary rather than revolutionary, we have no doubt in our minds that iOS 8 is going to significantly improve the functionality of Apple’s mobile platform, and perhaps even give some folks less reasons to jailbreak.

To celebrate today’s release of the free iOS 8 software update, we proudly present you this detailed overview of more than two dozen iOS 8 features we think you’re going to fall in love with at first sight. Read More


SpotFile: navigate iOS filesystem in Spotlight search

By Timothy Reavis on Aug 12, 2014

The same developer who made the script for switching between Mac partitions into a standalone application is back with a new jailbreak tweak called SpotFile. This tweak brings basic iFile functionality directly to Spotlight search, allowing users to navigate iOS’s filesystem from the Home screen.

While it was built for granting quick access to the file directory in iOS, SpotFile’s functionality can do quite a bit more than simply browse files and directories, and the developer says there are more features on the way… Read More


The best of iOS 8: from new features to developer tools

By Timothy Reavis on Jul 27, 2014

With the imminent introduction of the iPhone 6 will come the release of iOS 8, Apple’s latest iteration in its mobile operating system. After spending the past several weeks with pre-release versions of the software, I can say that there are definitive grounds for anticipating its public availability. Whether you’re planning on buying a new iPhone this fall or upgrading your current device to iOS 8, there are clear reasons to be excited about the features it has to offer.

Although it will be shipping with quite a few significant features – Apple claims this is their “biggest iOS release ever” – we’ve gone hands-on with the beta releases and picked our top ten favorite enhancements that will be available for qualifying devices this September. Here, in no sequential order, are the best of what makes iOS 8 great… Read More


Smart Search spices up Spotlight search on iOS 7

By Alihassan Mahdi on Jul 27, 2014

Spotlight can be used to search for content (music, app, mail etc.) on your iPhone, iPad or iPod and it can be accessed by swiping down the Home screen. Personally, I’ve never found Spotlight search useful and I rarely use it except when I’m tempted to. However, iOS 8 takes the feature to a whole new level by allowing users to search for an iTunes song, App Store app, website, Wikipedia entry and much more directly from Spotlight.

Inspired by iOS 8 Spotlight search, Smart Search is a new jailbreak tweak that improves the functionality of Spotlight search on jailbroken iOS 7 devices by expanding its search capability. It gives users the ability to search for a keyword from the App Store, iTunes Store, Google, Wikipedia, YouTube and more. We decided to give Smart Search a try and it worked flawlessly as advertised. Read More


Aslock: add new functionality to the Spotlight search swipe gesture

By Jeff Benjamin on Jul 4, 2014

Aslock is an interesting new jailbreak tweak that brings new functionality to the swipe-down gesture used to invoke Spotlight search. Along with being able to invoke Spotlight as you normally would, you can now access the App Switcher and lock your device using Spotlight swipe gestures.

It’s the type of tweak that’s a little difficult to explain in writing. With that in mind, we’ve created a video walkthrough so that you can see how the Aslock works in action. Read More


Apple updates Spotlight to be much more intelligent in iOS 8

By Jeff Benjamin on Jun 2, 2014

Like its OS X brethren, Spotlight has been updated in iOS 8 to be more intelligent. As it stands now, Spotlight is pretty bland, dumb and can only search for apps and content stored directly on your device.

In iOS 8, Spotlight can provide live search suggestions for apps, Wikipedia entries, movies, songs from iTunes radio, news and more. It’s a much more powerful way to perform smart searches on iOS. Read More


iOS 7: the ultimate Spotlight search guide

By Jeff Benjamin on May 24, 2014

Spotlight is the search tool that allows you to search for local files on your iOS device quickly and efficiently. Along with local file searches, Spotlight can search web contents via your device’s default search engine or via Wikipedia.

The great thing about Spotlight is that it is built right into the stock iOS 7 Home screen, and it’s accessible from any Home screen page.While the Spotlight search tool isn’t as robust as Spotlight on the Mac, or as robust as what you’ll find on competing platforms (there is no delimiting for local content), its ease of use makes it a fairly efficient tool for locating content quickly on the iPhone. Have a look at our full Spotlight how-to post after the break.
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