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9 time-saving search tips for Google on Android and iOS Spotlight

Ben Patterson | March 31, 2015
It's easy to forget about the nondescript search box--you know, Google search on Android devices or "Spotlight" search in iOS--that sits on the home screens of our smartphones and tablets.

Tap or open Google or Spotlight search, then start typing the name of a song, album, an artist — or, if you're in the mood, a purchased TV show or movie — and matching music tracks will appear just below the search box.

Tap a tune, and let the music (or the movie) play..

Map an address

Feeling a little lost? Yep, you guessed it — there's a quicker way to find where you're going than opening up Google or Apple Maps. Instead, just type any address into Google or Spotlight search.

With Google Now on the Android side, a map will be displayed right on your home screen.

For iOS, you'll see a list of mapping results; tap one to jump directly to Apple Maps.

Search the web

Sure, you can search the web using the Google search box on an Android phone, but did you know you could do so with iOS's Spotlight search, too?

Go ahead, try it — your web search results will appear just below the Spotlight search box, saving you the step of opening Safari first.

And as bonus, Spotlight will display any relevant Wikipedia hits just above your web results.

Check the weather (Android only)

Will you need an umbrella today? Just tap "weather" into the Google search box for a summary of the local weather. complete with the current temperature and a five-day forecast.

Oh, and here's a neat trick: see the slider just below the temperature? Slide it forward to 1 p.m., 6 p.m., or later for an hourly forecast of the current day, or any day you select in the five-day forecast.

Search for mail messages (iOS only)

Trying to find a specific email message in your inbox? Well, you can tap on the Mail app in iOS, go to the All Mailboxes directory, drag down to reveal the search box, then tap in your search — or you can chop most of those steps and try this instead.

Just tug down on your home screen to open Spotlight search, then tap in some search terms — anything from the name of the sender to the subject of the message, some key words in the body, anything.

If any messages in your inbox match your search terms, they'll appear just below the Spotlight search box. Tap a message to open it in the Mail app.

Create a reminder for yourself (Android only)

Would you rather tie a string on your finger than jump through all the necessary hoops to set up a reminder on your Android phone? Here's a super-easy alternative.

Go to the home-screen Google search box and type something along the lines of, "Remind me to pick up lettuce at the grocery store."


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