Spotlight search in iOS 15 includes Photos search with Live Text and several other improvements

Apple today during its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote announced several noteworthy improvements to the system-wide search feature on the iPhone and iPad.

Curiously, Apple is back to refereeing iOS’ Search functionality as Spotlight, which is the name borrowed from macOS. Spotlight in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 integrates photo search that uses object and scene recognition from the Photos app.

Photos search with Live Text support

This lets you pull down on any Home screen, bringing up Spotlight, and search across the Photos database using rich metadata. For instance, you can use Spotlight to search people in your photos, as well as scenes (beach, forest and so forth), locations photos were taken at and elements on your photos (toddler, cat, etc.).

Not only that, but Spotlight on iOS and iPadOS 15 supports Live Text, another new feature that uses optical character recognition to instantly find text on images. With Live Text in Spotlight, you can find text in your photos in a cinch.

Richer people search, recent Messages chats, more

You also get much richer search results for contacts that use Contacts data to neatly lay out all the contact information you care about in Spotlight, including contact photos. Other Spotlight enhancements in iOS and iPadOS 15 include the ability to surface recent conversations from Messages, search across shared photos and the like.

And last but not least, Spotlight now gets you even richer results with more detailed information when looking up information about actors, musicians, television shows and movies.