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How to Utilise Uni­ver­sal Search on iPad

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You can usually search your iPad, however this feature was already taking up the entire screen. With iPadOS 14, Apple has added a nicer and better query job: Universal Search. Basically, it works like Spotlight on Mac. You can find applications, documents, contacts, and sites with it. That is the means by which it works.

Universal search can only be conceived on the home screen. You call the function by sliding your finger down the screen. If you are using a keyboard, you can also press the command key and the space bar. It is not completely coincidental that it is a similar combination with which you activate Spotlight on Mac.

How to use Universal Search on iPadOS 14

  • Swipe down on your iPad home screen or
  • Press Command-Space on an external keyboard
  • The new universal search in iPadOS 14 looks so much like Spotlight on the Mac that you even use it with the same keystroke. Command-Space is the default for Spotlight, although you can change it. And it’s the only option on the iPad, since you can’t change the main keystrokes.
  • As long as you have an external keyboard, of course, this keyboard shortcut is by far the most practical way to start a search. This is because with the keyboard you can access Universal Search at any time and in any application.
  • To do it without an external keyboard, you have to swipe down the middle of the screen, and you can’t do that when you’re in any app.
  • To dismiss the search because you’ve changed your mind, tap Command-S on the external keyboard again, or tap anywhere on the screen outside of the search bar.
  • Once the search bar is open, you can tap the microphone icon to dictate your search. Currently, there is no keyboard shortcut to open the search bar and set the dictation to run.

What’s new in Universal Search in iOS 14

  • The most visible difference in the search is not in the results. Instead, it’s on how the screen looks when you enter a search or view those results.
  • Where search on the iPad used to take up the entire screen and waste it, it’s now a search bar much like Spotlight. If you use the keyboard, you get a simple search bar, and if you use the swipe gesture, you get the same bar plus suggestions.
  • Those results are now displayed in a column hanging from the search bar, so they don’t take over your entire screen either. You’ll usually see enough results to make it a long list, but it all helps this search feeling help you. It is no longer like you are stopping your work to search some separate app.

What Universal Search adds for you

  • Beyond that change in how you use search, the next most visible difference is that it now includes music. If you have an Apple Music subscription, searching for an artist, for example, will return details for that.
  • Well, while the search results usually include a direct link to the artist in Apple Music, there is also a song result that is much more useful. Rather than being some kind of promotion of the service, the new universal search first returns specific tracks and tells when you last played them.
  • There is also a Play button right there in the results. Plus, tapping it doesn’t rule out the results, it just starts playing the music. So you can get a list of tracks that fit your search criteria and then tap each one to find the one you want without constantly redoing your search.
  • In this Music example, and indeed in every section of the search results, there is a Search button in the app. Tapping it will take you to the corresponding app, such as Music, and search there again.
  • Most of the time, Universal Search will return three results for each possible category related to your search. So you can get three songs, three related websites, etc. The search within the application gives you all the results.

Universal search gives you finer and more useful details

  • You were able to search your contacts in the previous version of search on the iPad and it worked fine. Now it works better.
  • Start typing a name in Universal Search and it will show you the contact card of the one you are most likely to want. It does this based on who you contacted last or most often, but it also presents other matching results.
  • It just doesn’t return results just from the obvious app. So when you are shown that someone is in your Contacts list, you will also search your Calendar for upcoming related appointments that mention them.
  • Depending on your system and what you do, you may see three recent emails from them. And three Pages documents in which they are named. Or you can have one-touch access to Messages that have been sent to you.

Show more results

  • What Universal Search does is search results in the main, obvious places, like songs in Music, people in Contacts, and then within documents. You’re looking for everything, but then trying to intelligently present the results to you.
  • Most of the time, you will find that you have found what you need. Each time, however, there is always a Show more results option that allows you to see more.
  • Finally, if something is proving stubbornly difficult to find, you can direct Universal Search’s attention to a specific location. This is the in-app search feature, and Universal Search lists a number of possible apps for you.
  • Usually that will include the option to search Notes, Maps, or the App Store. You can also get it to delve into Music or Archives.
  • Alright, this feature isn’t limited to Apple’s own apps. If you use the app to take notes Drafts 5, for example, you might be presented on this list.

Small and big steps forward

  • The first time you use Universal Search on iPadOS 14, you will notice the surprising visual differences. But the second time you use it, it won’t. This is because it quickly feels like it’s the way searching should always have been.
  • Then after the visual changes, you won’t initially notice any difference in the results you get from a search. However, it offers so much more, and those results are more likely to be what you are looking for, than you will come to trust Universal Search.

Final remarks: How to Utilise Uni­ver­sal Search on iPad

I hope you understand this article, How to Utilise Uni­ver­sal Search on iPad. If your answer is no, you can ask anything via the contact forum section related to this article. And if your answer is yes, please share this article with your friends and family to give us your support.

Dian Erwin
Dian Erwin
Dian Erwin is a review writer for Bollyinside, covering topics related to computing, such as laptops, tablets, phones, and other hardware. Dian spends much too much of his free time on Twitter, reading speculative fiction novels, playing video games, and reading comic books. He also enjoys reading video game manuals.
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