With the upcoming release of iOS 15 for Apple mobile devices, Apple’s built-in search feature known as Spotlight will become a lot more functional. In what may be one of its more extensive updates since it introduced Siri Suggestions, the new version of Spotlight is becoming an alternative to Google for several vital queries, including web images and information about actors, musicians, TV shows, and movies. It will also now be able to search across your photo library, deliver richer results for contacts, and connect you more directly with apps and the information they contain. It even allows you to install apps from the App Store without leaving Spotlight itself.
Spotlight is also more accessible than ever before.
Years ago, Spotlight moved from its location to the left of the Home screen to become available with a swipe down in the middle of any screen in iOS 7, which helped grow user adoption. Now, it’s available with the same swipe-down gesture on the iPhone’s Lock Screen, too. Apple showed off a few of Spotlight’s improvements during its keynote address at its Worldwide Developer Conference, including the search feature’s new cards for looking up information on actors, movies, and shows, as well as musicians. This change alone could redirect a good portion of web searches away from Google or dedicated apps like IMDb.
For years, Google has been offering quick access to common searches through its Knowledge Graph. This knowledge base allows it to gather information from sources and then use it to add informational panels above and the side of its standard search results. Panels on actors, musicians, shows, and movies are available as part of that effort.
But now, iPhone users can just pull up this info on their home screen.
The new cards include more than the typical Wikipedia bio and background information you may expect — they also showcase links to where you can listen or watch content from the artist or actor or movie or show in question. They include news articles, social media links, official websites and even direct you to where the searched person or topic may be found inside your own apps. (E.g., a search for “Billie Eilish” may require you to her tour tickets inside SeatGeek or a podcast where she’s a guest).