Most pilots have a large number of apps on their iPads, often requiring 3 or more screens to store them all. Having the ability to organize them into folders is nice, but have you ever been in a situation where know you downloaded an app but can’t seem to find it?
That’s where the iPad (or iPhone) Spotlight Search function can come in handy. To access the search function from the home screen, place your finger anywhere on the screen and swipe down. This will reveal a darkened screen with a single white search field at the top with the keyboard at the bottom. Start typing the name of the app you’re looking for, and it will immediately begin showing results. Just tap the app from the results list and it will instantly launch. If you look to the right of the app name you’ll see the name of the folder that contains the app, which can be very useful if you forgot where you put it.
You can also use the Spotlight Search to quickly access contacts from your address book, music, videos, events, mail and more. And at the bottom of the results, you’ll see an option to search the Web or Wikipedia for the keyword you entered. This will launch Safari and use your default search engine to perform a web search.
To customize how Spotlight displays results for a search, go to the Settings app, and then select General from the left side of the screen, and then choose the Spotlight Search option about midway down on the right. This allows you to choose what items are returned when searching and also allows you to reorganize the order in which it displays the results.
The Spotlight Search is a very simple yet powerful tool on your iPad. If you’re a fast typer you may find it faster to do a quick search for an app by entering just a few letters of the app’s name to find and launch it, instead of swiping across multiple screens and digging through folders. Every second counts in the airplane!