How to convert units and currencies with Spotlight on iPhone and iPad

iOS 9 Spotlight Search image 004

In addition to running simple math with a little help of iOS’ 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, even more so if you resort to third-party apps for live currency conversions on the go.

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

Step 1: Bring up the Spotlight interface by pulling down on any Home screen of your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

Step 2: Simply type in the unit or currency you wish to convert to local values. For example, if you live in Germany and wish to convert 100 dollars to Euros, you would type in “$100”.

Step 3: There is no step 3—Spotlight immediately gives you the converted unit or currency values, as shown on the screenshot below.

iOS 9 Spotlight unit and currency conversion

So, how does Spotlight determine the target unit or currency for conversion? As you might have guessed, it takes into account your device’s currently active region formats, as set in Settings → General → Language & Region.

For example, if I tap on Region in Language & Region and set China as my preferred region format (this doesn’t affect your device’s primary language), typing “$100” in Spotlight instantly converts a hundred US dollars into Chinese Yuan.

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But you don’t need to be change region formats in Settings because Spotlight is smarter than you think. Just type something like “$100 to AUD” to convert a hundred bucks into Australian dollars.

Similarly, you can ask Spotlight to convert “$100 to CAD,” or any other amount prepended with any currency symbol, for instant currency conversion.

The same goes for units.

“100cm in in” will convert 100 centimeters to inches while ”100m in ft” will give you the result in feet. And to get the current exchange rate for any currency, just enter “1“ as the amount (i.e. ”$1,” ”€1,” etc.).

And if Spotlight omits support for a specific unit or currency, you can always tap on the Search Web option right below Spotlight results and run that query through Google, or whatever search engine is set under Settings → Safari → Search Engine.

By the way, live currency and unit conversion in Spotlight has been available on the Mac since OS X 10.10 Yosemite. Last but not least, Spotlight in iOS also lets you solve simple math problems.

How do you like this nifty Spotlight tip? Know of other handy new Spotlight features? Share them with us and fellow readers in the comment section below.