10 Fixes for Spotlight Search Not Working on iPhone and iPad

Spotlight Search is one of our favorite features on the iPhone. We love how easy it is to swipe down and search for anything on your iPhone. However, there are times when it doesn’t seem to work. Considering how dependent we are on this feature, it becomes annoying. If you are also facing the problem, here are some ways to fix spotlight search not working on iPhone and iPad.

While we already have an article on how to fix spotlight search not working on Mac, this article is dedicated to fixing the issue on iPhone and iPad. The methods we’ve included are pretty easy to follow. Also, these problems will also help you if the app search is not working. But before we proceed with the fixes, let’s first understand the cause of this problem.

Why is Spotlight Search not working?

There are many reasons why Spotlight Search might not work on your iPhone. This could be a problem with configurations and settings. Moreover, because it has to index a lot of files and folders to give you search results, it may have some language and storage issues.

Here are ten ways to fix the Spotlight search bar on iPhone and iPad so you can get all the functionality back. Let’s get started.

How to Fix iPhone Spotlight Search Not Working

The main requirement for Spotlight Search to deliver internet search results is a good internet connection and let’s start by making sure you have one and gradually move on to other fixes.

1. Check your Internet connection

To download online search results from Safari, you need a good internet connection. Make sure you are running at full cell signal strength. If you’re using Wi-Fi, make sure you’re in range for the best results.

If you are not getting good speed despite having the maximum signal, you can contact your service provider to see if your plan is active or not.

If that doesn’t work, you can try removing the Shortcuts widget from your iPhone.

2. Remove widget shortcuts

Some bugs are fixed in mysterious ways, and these methods are accidentally discovered by users on community forums. Removing the Shortcuts widget from your home screen is one way to fix a broken Spotlight search.

Step 1: Swipe right from the first page of the home screen.

step 2: Long press the Shortcuts widget.

step 3: Click Remove Widget.

Step 4: Click Remove again to remove the widget.

This is how you remove the Shortcuts widget from your iPhone. Another such workaround is to disable home controls from the Control Center.

3. Turn off Show Home Controls

Step 1: Open the Settings app.

Open iPhone Settings

step 2: Select Control Center.

step 3: Turn off the “Show home controls” switch.

This is one way to find a fix for Spotlight Search not working on iPhone and iPad. Another option that works is to check if you have enough storage space.

4. Check the storage space

Because Spotlight Search has to index every single file or folder on your iPhone, the process may slow down or not work at all if you don’t have enough storage space. Here’s how to check iPhone storage.

Step 1: Open the Settings app and select General.

Click on General

step 2: Click on iPhone Storage. Check if you have enough storage space left.

step 3: If not, free up storage space.

To quickly free up storage space, uninstall all unnecessary apps and delete excess photos. If that doesn’t work, you can try changing your iPhone’s default language.

5. Change the default language

Sometimes Spotlight Search can have problems working with the default language. So you can try to change the default language. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Open the Settings app and select General.

step 2: Select “Language and Region”.

step 3: Click “Add language…”.

Step 4: Choose a language you are familiar with. If you prefer English, you can always choose another version.

step 3: Now you can confirm to use the selected language as the default language for your iPhone.

You can go back and see if the problem is fixed. However, we also encountered the issue of the keyboard not loading when we used the search bar. This mostly happened when using third-party keyboards. So, you can try uninstalling the third-party keyboard to fix the problem.

6. Remove third-party keyboards

Step 1: Open the Settings app and select General.

step 2: Select Keyboard.

step 3: Select “Keyboards” and open the third-party keyboard.

Step 4: Now turn off the “Allow full access” switch.

This will ensure that you always use the default iPhone keyboard. If that doesn’t fix the problem, you can try disabling and enabling Spotlight search in apps.

7. Disable and enable app search

When you turn Spotlight Search off and on in the Settings app, you’re essentially updating it. Also, there is a good chance that the problem will be fixed this way. So here is the step by step procedure for the same.

Step 1: Open the Settings app and select Siri & Search.

step 2: There is no switch to completely disable Spotlight search on your iPhone and iPad. However, you can disable it on a per-app basis. So, select an application from the list.

step 3: Turn off the “Show app in search” switch and turn it back on.

You can check if this solves the problem if Spotlight Search is not working on iPhone and iPad. However, doing this for all programs is quite a tedious process.

So, you can try some common methods that are usually the last resort to fix any problem on your iPhone. Let’s try restarting your iPhone or iPad.

8. Restart your iPhone

Follow these steps to reset your iPhone or iPad.

Step 1: Turn off your device first.

  • On iPhone X and above Press and hold the Volume Down button and the Side button.
  • On iPhone SE 2nd or 3rd generation, 7th and 8th series: Press and hold the side button.
  • On iPhone SE 1st generation, 5s, 5c, or 5: Hold the power button at the top.
  • On iPad: Hold the power button at the top.
Restart your iPhone

step 2: Now drag the power slider to turn off the device.

step 3: Then turn on your device by pressing and holding the power button on your iPhone.

If that doesn’t work either, you can try updating your iPhone.

9. Check for iOS updates

If you’re using an iPhone 8 or higher, we’re assuming your iPhone or iPad is running iOS 16. While we love the new update and all the new features that come with it, it’s still brand new and requires multiple iterations of the update to fix all the bugs .

There is a high possibility that the Spotlight Search not working issue is due to a bug in iOS 16. So, make sure you are using the latest version of iOS.

Step 1: Open the Settings app and open General.

step 2: Select Software Update.

step 3: Make sure you’re using the latest version of iOS. If not, you will get the option to “Download and Install” the update.

iOS 16 update

Finally, if none of these methods work, you can try resetting your iPhone.

10. Reset your iPhone

Here’s how you can reset your iPhone to fix Spotlight search not working.

Step 1: Open the Settings app and tap General.

Click on General

step 2: Select “Move or Reset iPhone.”

step 3: Click Reset.

Step 4: Click Reset All Settings to return all configurations to their default state. This will most likely solve the problem.

Select Reset All Settings on iPhone

As an absolute last resort, you can “Erase All Content and Settings” and start fresh on your iPhone or iPad. Obviously, this will delete all your data, so make sure you have a backup.

Select Remove all content and settings

These are all the ways we can suggest to fix Spotlight search not working on iPhone or iPad. However, if you still have questions, you can take a look at the frequently asked questions section below.

FAQ about iPhone Spotlight Search not working

1. Why are some programs not showing up in the program search?

They may have been deleted or unloaded. If not, you can use some of the methods mentioned above to fix it.

2. Does Spotlight Search drain your battery?

No, it is not known to drain a significant amount of battery.

3. Does Spotlight Search show deleted messages in iMessage?

No, deleted messages are not displayed.

4. Does Spotlight Search show emails?

Yes, it only downloads emails from the default Mail app.

5. How to delete Spotlight Search history?

You can long press on a recent search item and select “Clear Recent Results” to delete your search history.

Restore Spotlight search on iPhone and iPad

These are the methods you can use to fix Spotlight search not working on iPhone and iPad. Most users, including us, use the search bar to find apps, and obviously that’s a feature you can’t afford to break. However, we are sure that the few methods that we have mentioned in this article will help you to solve the problem.