How to quickly locate a specific setting on iPhone and iPad

iOS 9 Settings icon full size

As Apple continues cramming new features into iOS, the Settings app has slowly but surely gotten populated with a bunch of toggles for customizing different aspects of your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, so much so that it can feel a little overwhelming to normals and non-techies.

And with an ever-growing array of different settings to choose from, it’s getting harder to find the exact one you need, especially considering that Settings is among the most frequently used stock apps.

But worry not, my friends. iOS addresses this customer pain point by implementing a dedicated search field within Settings for quickly finding a specific setting on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

How to locate a specific setting on iPhone or iPad

Step 1: Open Settings on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

Step 2: Navigate your way back to the top menu with Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Cellular as the first items. Now scroll to the top and pull down to reveal the hidden search field.

Settings Search Closeup iPhone

Step 3: Start typing the first few letters of a specific setting you wish to locate and matching results will pop up as you’re typing.

For instance, I know my iPhone lets me invert colors on the screen but I couldn’t remember where Apple hid that specific option.

Colors Settings Search iPhone

So I just went ahead and I typed “colors” into Settings’ search field. Sure enough, the Invert Colors option surfaced in search results. Another example: searching for “ring” will surface options to change the volume, select a new ringtone sound, adjust the volume of alerts, turn the ringer on or off, create custom vibration patterns and more.

Step 4: Now tap a desired result to be taken directly to that specific settings within the Settings app. As you can see for yourself, each item in your search results is accompanied by its path (i.e. General → Accessibility → Keyboard).

Keyboard Settings Search iPhone

Unfortunately, you cannot search in Settings unless you’re at the top level.

That’s pretty clumsy, in my personal opinion: if I’m in Settings → Wallpaper I must swipe my way back to the root menu before I can use the search field.

In addition to locating Apple stock apps’s settings, you can used the method described above to find preferences for any third-party application that has installed a dedicated section into Settings, as shown below.

Videos Settings Search iPhone

It’s interesting that items within Settings currently do not show up in Spotlight despite Settings being listed by default among Spotlight’s content sources in Settings → General → Spotlight Search.

Still, being able to cut on the information overload by quickly finding a specific setting within the crowded Settings app is extremely convenient, wouldn’t you agree?

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