How To Exclude Apps From Spotlight Search In iOS 9

iOS 9 is going to be released in a few months and it’s coming with a lot of much anticipated features and some UI changes. One major change that you will notice right away is that Spotlight has a new place on your phone. Originally, Spotlight had its own dedicated page on the home screen that you could swipe to. Come iOS 9, it’s back to having it’s very own page while remaining accessible from the ‘swipe down’ gesture as well. More importantly, it’s become far more powerful. Not only can it search the web but your apps . This may or may not be a cause for concern depending on what you’ve got on your apps. For the sake of speed, and because indexing unnecessary data is pointless, you might want to exclude apps that you don’t want to search from Spotlight. Here’s how.

Open the Settings app and go to General>Spotlight Search and turn off Spotlight access for all the apps you don’t want indexed.


Spotlight in iOS 9 can search photos, the App Store, and Siri can provide suggestions for apps based on the ones you recently accessed. If you want to turn off these suggestions, simply turn off the Siri Suggestions option at the very top. For all other apps including the Photos, Contacts, Notes, Reminders, and App Store apps, the turn-off process is the same; find the app in this list and turn it off.

From what tests show at present, Spotlight is only searching for apps and not indexing their content which means you cannot use it to search for and quickly access a file or folder saved to Dropbox. This probably has to do with Dropbox not being an Apple app. Spotlight will search for and allow you to access files saved to its own apps which means conversations in the Messages app and files in your iCloud drive can be searched for and accessed from Spotlight.

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About Kelli Smith

Kelli Smith
Kelli runs customer support and creates content for Skillcrush, a digital skills training and education platform with friendly instructors, an active student community, and laser focus on helping you achieve your career goals with technology. She has an MBA and successfully ran an international company and her own freelancing business before pursuing her passion for tech by taking advanced web development classes. Kelli loves listening to tech podcasts at 2x speed, looking for cute Corgi photos online and teaching and performing country line dancing—as a true Texan living in Finland would do. Say hi on Twitter.

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