Disable Spotlight Search in iPhone OS 3

February 12, 2011

Ever since the debut of iPhone OS 3.0 I’ve been searching for a way to disable Spotlight Search. I hate it. I have never found a use for it, and doubt I ever will. I’ve been waiting for Apple to release a new version with an option to toggle it off, or even a Cydia app that would allow me to disable it. Neither have been done. However, there are some tweaks that can be made to your iPhone if you are as sick of this screen as I am.

I wouldn’t mind it if they had made it an icon on the main screen, or required some unique gesture such as drawing an S on the screen with your finger. But they had to make it so easy to accidentally invoke it. Since I am not using a faster 3GS model my phone chokes every time I invoke it and instead of smoothly scrolling over to this screen it stutters and crawls across the screen. Then I have to scroll back to the main screen or hit home again, sure this takes only a few seconds each time but if you add up all those occurrences I’ve probably wasted a fair bit of time.

The first thing you can do is set the default action for double pressing the home button. Instead of taking you to the search screen you can direct it elsewhere. Go to Settings->General->Home and select which screen you’d like to be presented with. While you’re there you can also go into the Search Results menu and set what parts of the phone will be searched by Spotlight, I chose to disable everything but mail, as the only thing I could ever see myself searching was my email.

Another tweak you can do involves installing an app off Cydia. So if your phone isn’t Jail Broken then you’re out of luck. If it is, then fire up Cydia and search for “No Spotlight Icon.” This app will not disable Spotlight entirely but it will remove the magnifying glass icon on your springboard, clearing up some clutter on your screen.

Unfortunately, even after all this time there is still no solution for removing spotlight search in iOS 3 or iOS 4. Quite frankly, you’re stuck with it.

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