How to Search Directly Within Apps on iOS 9

How to Search Directly Within Apps on iOS 9

I have over a hundred and fifty apps on my iPhone. The first screen is well-organized with my favorite apps, but the next 4 pages are messy. However, I mainly use Spotlight to search for apps. It’s just a down-swipe gesture away on the homescreen and it works most of the time.

All I do is swipe down from the homescreen and start typing an app’s name. Before I finish typing the first 2-3 characters, the app I want is there as the top option. I tap and voila, I’m in the app.

If you’ve used an iPhone for a while, you’re likely familiar with this feature. If not, start using it now.

With iOS 9, Apple has advanced Spotlight, allowing me to search for content within apps. Although iOS 9 is new, I found that popular apps like Drafts, Instapaper, Evernote, and Workflow already support this feature. Check out the 9 new features in iOS 9.

How Does it Work

iOS 9 introduced “Deep linking,” a feature that allows developers to index and make all app content accessible via Spotlight.

To understand this better, consider the following example:

How to Search Directly Within Apps on iOS 9How to Search Directly Within Apps on iOS 9

Before iOS 9, I’d search for Evernote or tap the icon. Then, from the homescreen, I’d scroll around and find the note.

In iOS 9, this has been condensed to just 1 step. I search for “Article ideas” and the note shows up. I tap it and boom, I’m in there. I just skipped Evernote’s loading screen and homescreen.

First, ensure that all your apps are updated. One way to determine if an app supports Spotlight search is by checking its description when updating it. Alternatively, you can search for something to test it.

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The beauty of Deep linking is its effective functionality and ability to provide abundant information on a single screen. For example, if you search for something generic like “Thanksgiving,” you will see emails mentioning Thanksgiving, your calendar appointment for that day, a note you’ve been working on, or a recipe for a traditional turkey meal from an installed recipe app.

How to Search Directly Within Apps on iOS 9How to Search Directly Within Apps on iOS 9

Search for a movie and receive results from Netflix or other supported apps.

Launch your favorite workflows.

Find a note or reminder.

Open your favorite magazine in Flipboard.

Jump to a particular board in Trello.

If you use your iPhone frequently, start using this feature. Once you become proficient at searching within apps (the skill is knowing what you’re looking for), you’ll realize the significant time savings it provides.

Bonus: Proactive Search and Suggested Apps

In iOS 9, there is a dedicated Proactive Search screen.

The most appealing feature is the app suggestions. After a few days, your iPhone or iPad will learn which apps you use at specific times of the day.

How to Search Directly Within Apps on iOS 9How to Search Directly Within Apps on iOS 9

This app suggestions is also present when you swipe down for Spotlight search. It’s surprising how often the app I want to open is already there.

Impressed by the new back button, case sensitive keyboard, or low power mode? Share your favorite part of iOS 9 in our forums.

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