Spotlight Search Not Working On iPhone / iPad? Fix

Some users who updated to the latest iOS version are finding out that Spotlight Search is not working properly. More specifically, while some users are stating that a Spotlight search is not showing any results, some others are saying that search is not working as expected. As you can see below, a spotlight search attempt does not yield any results:

Spotlight lets you find apps, documents, and other files on iOS device, iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Spotlight is especially useful if you have a lot of apps on your device.

Spotlight Search Fixes

1. Symptom: Spotlight does not show Contacts

If you experience this, simply follow these steps:

  • On your iPhone or iPad, launch/Open Contacts,
  • Tap Groups
  • Tap “Hide All Contacts” then tap “Show All Contacts”

2. Symptom: Search is not working properly

If you think that Search is not finding items, meaning it is not working correctly, try these steps:

  • Go to Settings > General > Spotlight Search
  • Turn off (deactivate) everything (search results)
  • Now turn off your device by pressing and holding the on/off button until you see the slider. Then slide the red slider.
  • Turn your device on.
  • Now go to Settings > General > Spotlight Search and now turn everything on.

3. Symptom: Blank Results

If your search is showing empty search results, try these:

  • Tap Settings > General > Language & Region > iPad Language or iPhone Language
  • Select a language (e.g.; Canada English) and tap Done. Then confirm your change by tapping Continue.
  • Now change back to your original language.

Other troubleshooting tips

You may try if your issue, still, is not fixed:

  • If there is an update, update the iOS software on your iPhone or iPad by going to Settings > General > Software Update.
  • Send yourself an email. For instance, send an email from your iPad email address to your iPad.
  • Force restart your idevice by pressing and holding the on/off and the home buttons together until you see the Apple logo.
  • Reset Location and Privacy by going to Settings > General > Reset > Location & Privacy.
  • Reset All Settings. NOTE: all your settings (Wi-Fi settings, Touch ID, Face ID, Restrictions etc…) will be gone if you do this. If you want to do it simply go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings. Note again, this will not delete any data or content, just it will reset all settings to factory defaults.

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Please note that you can change Spotlight settings by going to Settings > Siri & Search.

If nothing works, you may want to contact Apple.

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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