How to Find an App on Your iPhone/iPad Quickly

Stop looking for your apps and start launching them!

What to Know

  • Swipe down on the Home screen or swipe left to right on the Home screen until you pass the first page of apps to open Spotlight Search.
  • Tell Siri to launch an app by saying, "Hey Siri, open Safari,"
  • Drag frequently used apps to the dock so you can click on them on the Home screen.

This article explains several ways to find an app and open it quickly on an iPhone or iPad.

Open the App Quickly With Spotlight Search

Opening an app on your iPhone or iPad seems easy. You just tap on it, right? One big problem: You need to know where it is first. However, this is a problem you don't need to solve. You can launch apps quickly without searching through page after page of app icons using a few shortcuts.

The Spotlight Search feature is powerful, but many people never use it. You can open it two ways: by swiping down on the Home Screen (being careful not to swipe from the very top of the screen, which opens the Notification Center) or by swiping from left to right on the Home Screen until you "scroll" past the first page of icons and into the Expanded Spotlight Search, and then pull down.

The quick launch screen on the iPad

Spotlight Search automatically shows app suggestions based on your most often used and most recently used apps, so you might find what you're looking for right away. If not, start typing the first few letters of the app's name into the search box and it will show up.

Spotlight Search performs a search of your entire device, so you can also look for contacts, music, movies, and books. It even performs a web search. Spotlight Search can look inside apps for information, as long as those apps support the feature. So, a search for a movie might provide a shortcut to it in your Netflix app.

Launch the App as Fast as Sound Using Siri

Siri is full of great shortcuts many people don't use because they either don't know about them or they feel a little silly talking to their iPhone or iPad. Rather than spend time hunting down an app, you can tell Siri to launch an app, by saying something like, "Launch Netflix" or "Open Safari."

Siri's launch screen

On devices with a Home button, you can activate Siri by holding down the Home Button. If this doesn't work, turn on Siri in your Settings first. If you have "Hey Siri" turned on in the settings, simply say, "Hey Siri, open Netflix."

There are also many other great features that go along with Siri, such as leaving yourself reminders, scheduling meetings, or checking the weather outside.

Launch Apps From the Dock

Did you know you can exchange the apps on your iPhone or iPad's dock? The dock is the area at the bottom of the Home Screen that displays the same apps no matter which screen you're on at the time. This dock will hold four apps on the iPhone and over a dozen on some iPads. You can move apps on and off the dock the same way you move them around the screen. This gives you a great area to put your most-used apps.

iPad showing the iOS dock

Even better, you can create a folder and move it to the dock, giving you quick access to a larger number of apps.

On the iPad, your most recently opened apps show up on the far right side of the dock. This gives you a quick way to switch back and forth between them. You can even pull up the dock while inside an app, which makes it easy to multitask on your iPad.

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