How to Remove Photos From Spotlight Search on iPhone

Remove thumbnail photo suggestions

What to Know

  • Remove all photos from Spotlight search: Settings > Siri & Search > Photos > toggle Show Content in Search to Off/white.
  • Remove specific photos from Spotlight: Photos > find the photo you want to hide and tap it > sharing box > Hide.
  • To manage apps that have content in Spotlight, go to Settings > Siri & Search > tap an app > toggle Show Content in Search to Off/white.

This article covers how to hide photos from Spotlight search on the iPhone.

How Do I Stop iPhone From Suggesting Photos?

Spotlight search on the iPhone is excellent at finding and suggesting content, but there are probably some photos on your iPhone that you don't want to show up when searching.

The simplest way to prevent your pictures from showing up in Spotlight search results is to remove all photos from Spotlight. It won't delete or hide your images. It just stops Spotlight from searching your Photos app when it's running a search. Here's what to do:

  1. Tap Settings.

  2. Tap Siri & Search.

  3. Scroll through the list of apps and tap Photos.

    iPhone Settings, Siri & Search, and Photos highlighted
  4. Move the Show Content in Search slider to off/white.

    iPhone search settings with Show Content in Search highlighted on and off

    For even more protection against photos showing up unexpectedly, move the sliders for Show on Home Screen and Suggestion Notifications to off/white, too.

How Do I Delete Pictures From My iPhone Search?

Things get trickier if you only want to hide some photos from Spotlight but allow others to appear. It's probably the most common scenario. After all, it makes sense that you'd probably want some photos to show up while blocking others.

The only way to do this in the Photos app is to hide a photo. It moves the picture into the Hidden album. That could cause problems if you've curated your albums precisely, but it's the only way to remove a single, specific photo from Spotlight. Here's what to do:

  1. Open the Photos app and find the photo or photos you want to hide.

  2. If you're hiding a single photo, tap it. If you're hiding multiple photos, tap Select and tap each of them.

  3. Tap the sharing box (the box with the arrow coming out of it).

  4. Tap Hide.

    Photos app on iPhone with photos selected, the sharing box highlighted, and Hide highlighted

How Do I Turn off Photo Suggestions?

Photos don't just appear in Spotlight search results. The iPhone can also suggest Photos to you based on your behavior, location, and other factors. You may prefer not to get these suggestions, either. If not, turn them off by doing this:

  1. Tap Settings > Siri & Search > Photos.

  2. In the Suggestions section, there are three options to toggle off:

    • Show on Home Screen: Disable this to prevent the Photos app from being suggested to you on your iPhone home screen and when the phone is locked.
    • Suggest App: Turning this off means that your iPhone won't automatically suggest you check out the content in the Photos app.
    • Suggestion Notifications: Disabling this blocks the iPhone from sending you notifications for content in Photos, such as new memory albums the phone has created for you.
    iPhone Siri&Search settings with Photos and suggestion options highlighted

How Do I Edit Spotlight Search?

Photos may not be able the only app whose contents you want to keep our of your Spotlight search results. There are all kinds of apps that might just not be helpful or relevant to have appear when you're searching. In that case, the same actions used to hide the Photos app from Spotlight apply:

  1. Tap Settings.

  2. Tap Siri & Search.

  3. Scroll down to the list of apps and tap the one whose contents you want to remove from Spotlight search results.

  4. Move the Show Content in Search slider to off/white.

    You can even control if the app, not its content, appears in search results by moving the Show App in Search slider to off/white.

  • How do you clear Spotlight Search history on an iPhone?

    You can't delete your Spotlight search history on an iPhone using iOS 15 or later. However, you can manually remove items from the suggestions Spotlight Search shows you. Swipe down to access Spotlight Search. Tap and hold one of the Siri Suggestions you'd like to delete, and then tap Suggest Shortcut Less.

  • How do I remove messages from Spotlight Search on an iPhone?

    If you don't want to see any text messages in your Spotlight Search results, tap Settings > Siri & Search, and then scroll down to the Messages app. Tap Messages and then toggle off Show App in Search and Show Content in Search. For more protection, toggle off the options under Suggestions.

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