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Find the Right Option Fast with iOS 9 Settings Search

Posted by Jim Tanous on September 18, 2015
ios 9 settings search

Each new version of iOS brings new features which make Apple’s iPhones and iPads more capable, but also introduce a bit more complexity. To make the expanding list of iOS features and options more accessible and easier to find, Apple has introduced a long-awaited new feature:  iOS 9 Settings Search.
Part of broader improvements to Search in iOS 9, users can now search for specific options in Settings. To try it out, simply launch the Settings app and then scroll to the top of the page to find a new search bar. Tap on it to bring up the iOS virtual keyboard, and then type the setting or feature you’re looking for.
ios 9 settings search
For example, if you just purchased a new car or aftermarket stereo that supports CarPlay, you can quickly find the CarPlay settings in iOS 9 by typing “CarPlay.” When the desired option appears in the search results, just tap it to jump directly to that location in Settings.
ios 9 settings search carplay
In previous versions of iOS, you’d need to poke around Settings to find something like the CarPlay options, which are located in the not-so-obvious “General” section. Another example are the various options for iOS Contacts, which are located in multiple locations within Settings.
ios 9 settings search contacts
Instead of hunting for Contacts options individually in sections such as General, Privacy, and iCloud, you can get a quick list of all references to Contacts throughout the Settings app with a quick search.
One limitation of Settings Search in iOS 9 is that the search results are only available via the search box within the Settings app itself. In other words, if you search for “CarPlay” via a Spotlight Quick Search (pulling down on the home screen to reveal the search box) or Siri, you’ll get links to emails, websites, and videos that mention the cool new technology, but not the Settings options shown in the example image above. This limitation exists despite the Settings app being enabled by default in Settings > General > Spotlight Search.
There’s a valid argument that these somewhat specific results should be limited to the apps in which they are contained, but hopefully Apple will at least give users the option to see Settings Search results in a future iOS update.

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