Organize Your Spotlight Search Results

A woman in bed using an ipad.
Getty Images / Compassionate Eye Foundation / Siri Stafford

Spotlight Search has always been a great way to find apps on your iPad, especially if you've downloaded page after page of apps. As Apple has addd more to the search results, they have become a bit crowded. Depending on your version of iOS, you may be able to organize your results.

Apple removed the ability to organize Spotlight Search in iOS 11. If you are on a newer version of the operating system, you will not be able to organize the results shown in Spotlight Search.

How to Organize Spotlight Search Results

If you are still on iOS 10.x or previous versions of iOS down to iOS 8.x, you can change the order of the different categories in search by dragging and dropping the category.

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  • First, we will need to go into the iPad's settings. This is the app that looks like gears turning. (Find out how...)
  • In the iPad settings, choose General from the left-side menu. This will bring up the general settings.
  • In the general settings, choose Spotlight Search. This option is near the top, just under the Siri settings.
  • The Spotlight Search settings allow you to both turn on/off specific categories and reorder where a category displays in the list. If you mainly use spotlight search for finding apps, you should move apps to the top of the list. If you are more interested in finding music or movies on your iPad, you can move those to the top of the list.
  • To move a category, hold the tip of your finger down on the three horizontal lines to the right of the category list. While holding your finger down, slide the category up or down the list, releasing your finger when it is in the right place.
  • To disable a category completely, tap the checkmark to the left of the category name. Only categories with a check mark next to their name will show in the list.