While these changes may seem small and even go unnoticed, they represent significant improvements that make Spotlight an essential part of the user experience on iOS.
Spotlight in iOS 17: A hidden gem
Apple has set to work to perfect its search function, spotlight. In the previous version, iOS 16, the company introduced a new way to access Spotlight, in addition to the classic swipe down option from the center of the screen. Now, in iOS 17, they have taken this a step further.
Now when you start searching for something in Spotlight, it immediately starts showing you matching results, like it always has. What’s new in iOS 17 is that, if there is a related icon, like that of an app you’re searching for, will be displayed more prominently. This makes it easy to identify and quickly access the apps you need.
Additionally, this improvement is not limited to the specific applications you are looking for. For example, if you type the word “car,” Spotlight will suggest searching for that word in Safari and display a Safari icon next to the suggestion. This makes the search experience more intuitive and efficient. If you scroll down you will even find images from your camera roll associated with the words “car” or any other keyword you are looking for.
Another visual improvement relates to search results. Now, along with the suggestions, you will be able to clearly see the icons that indicate the action you will perform when you touch them. If you see a magnifying glass icon, you know it will take you to a new search in Spotlight. If, however, you see an icon for an app, such as Safari, you will be taken directly to that app with the search already started.
Additional functionality in Spotlight
One of the rare but persistent problems in iOS was the difficulty in finding an app using search, even if it was already installed on your iPhone. Although this issue has not yet been completely fixed, most iPhone users do not experience it. Searching for apps has become even easier in iOS 17.
For example, if you search for the word “photos,” Spotlight will show you the Photos app at the top of the screen. But that’s not all, next to the Photos app, you will see an icon that represents key albums in that app, such as your Favorites. This streamlines access to specific features within an app and is an example of how Apple is looking to make Spotlight smarter.
Add events to calendar from Spotlight
For example, if you start typing a day or date, Spotlight will immediately offer you the option to create an event on your calendar. This simplifies the management of events and reminders without having to open a specific application, in this case the calendar application.
In short, while the changes to Spotlight for iOS 17 may seem small individually, together they represent a significant leap in user experience. Apple has refined the search tool to make it faster, smarter and more useful, and many of us have already noticed the difference and are enjoying these changes.