Spotlight Search not working on iPhone? 6 fixes

Spotlight search not working on iPhone

Spotlight search is one of the handiest features on our iPhones. We often rely on it to quickly search and access contacts, text, or other content across our devices. However, if Spotlight search isn’t working on your iPhone, you aren’t alone. Several users have reported facing the same problem. So what’s causing it in the first place, and how to fix it? Read along to find out!

Why is iPhone Spotlight Search not working?

There could be two reasons behind Spotlight search not working on your iPhone. It could either be old hardware or bug-ridden software. Sometimes iPhones with older processors struggle to keep up with new iOS releases making your iPhone slower. Meanwhile, most of the time, it’s the software causing issues with the search on your iPhone.

6 Ways to fix Spotlight Search not working on iPhone

  1. Restart the iPhone
  2. Disable Spotlight Search for iOS apps
  3. Change language settings
  4. Remove Shortcuts widget
  5. Update your iPhone
  6. Reset your iPhone

1. Restart the iPhone

Although the simplest solution, restarting your iPhone often gets rid of the problem. So try it before moving on to other fixes.

  • On iPhone X and later: Long-press the volume button and side button and swipe the slider to shut down the device. Now, long-press the side button to turn on the device after two minutes.
  • On iPhone 8 and earlier: Long-press the side button and swipe right the power off slider to shut down the device. After some time, turn on the device by pressing and holding the side button.

2. Disable Spotlight Search for iOS apps

Sometimes, disabling and enabling the feature may help fix the bug. Here’s how to disable the Spotlight Search for the app:

  1. Open iPhone Settings.
  2. Tap Siri & Search.
  3. Scroll down, and tap an application from the list.
  4. Toggle off the following options:
    • Learn from this App
    • Show in Search
    • Show App
    • Suggest Shortcuts* 
    • Show Siri Suggestions*
  5. Repeat the above for every application in the list.
  6. Now, check if Spotlight Search works.
  7. If not, then enable the Siri & Search for some apps and test the Spotlight search until you find the app causing issues with Spotlight Search on your iPhone.

    Siri and search settings on iPhone

*Note: You might not be shown Suggest Shortcuts and Show Siri Suggestions for some apps.

3. Change language settings

If you see a blank screen instead of Spotlight Search, the chances are that your language file might be corrupted. Changing language settings can help fix the Spotlight search not working issue. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select General Language & Region.
    Ensure that the language is set to English.
  3. Now tap iPhone Language, and change it to Canada.

    change language iphone
  4. Next, go back and select GeneralShutdown.
  5. Turn on your iPhone, and change the iPhone Language back to default.
  6. Restart the device.

    default language iphone

Now try using the Spotlight search, and if you’re still facing some issues, move on to the steps mentioned below.

4. Remove Shortcuts widget

Many users reported that the Spotlight Search stopped working after adding the Shortcuts widgets in the Home Screen.

To remove it, swipe to view the Home Screen widgets → scroll down, and tap Edit → tap the red icon next to Shortcuts to remove it.

Now, check if Spotlight Search is working now. If the problem persists, move to the next step.

5. Update your iPhone

The problem may be due to the recent update. Apple usually fixes these bugs in the consequent updates. See if your device has any pending software updates. If yes, go ahead and install it.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Now, tap General → Software Update.
  3. Tap download and install.

    update your iPhone

6. Reset your iPhone

  1. Open iPhone Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Tap General → Reset → Reset All Settings.
  3. Now, enter your passcode and tap Reset All Settings.

    Reset All iPhone Settings in iOS 14

The troubleshooting steps mentioned above should be able to fix the Spotlight Search on your iPhone. However, if you’re still facing issues with your iPhone search, I’d recommend you contact Apple support.

Let us know which method(s) worked for you in the comments below.

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