iOS 8: Using (and Disabling!) the New Spotlight Features

You may have noticed that iOS 8’s Spotlight is not the same as its predecessor. Mainly because it tells you all about how it’s different the first 37 times you open it.

Just like on the Mac, Spotlight under iOS is used to find stuff on your device—contacts, apps, or songs, for example—without you having to hunt around. As with iOS 7, you invoke Spotlight by swiping down on your screen.

(Be careful not to swipe from the very tippy-top, as that’ll bring down Notification Center.)

Under iOS 8, though, we’ve got a whole new way to use this handy feature. The so-called Spotlight Suggestions are pretty darned cool, because now, results of searches can include matching items from the iTunes, iBooks, and App Stores…

…local places…

…and even Wikipedia articles and other Web content.

Bing, Apple? Did it have to be Bing? Sigh.

In any case, this means that if you’re looking for a Wikipedia article, say, you don’t have to find Safari, tap on the search field, and type; it’s usually much faster to search from Spotlight. But if you HATE this feature, how do you turn it off? Well, just head on over to Settings> General> Spotlight Search, and then deselect “Spotlight Suggestions” and “Bing Web Results” from the list. 

That’ll mean that only the data on your device will get searched. 

Also, if you’d like to rearrange the order in which the results appear, touch and hold one of the three-lined icons on that screen to drag the items into a different order.

I really do like the Spotlight method for finding content, as it’s much simpler and faster. However, I can’t seem to get my brain wrapped around the concept. So just like the side-mounted sleep/wake button on the new iPhones, I’ll apparently continue to do what I’ve always done until my silly brain gets the memo. 

If you guys saw how often I’ve tried to press a nonexistent button on the top of my new phone, you’d laugh. A lot.