How to Search Your Mobile Device More Efficiently

April 9, 2015 • Devin Partida


One of the best things about mobile devices – iOS or Android – is that they include a whole slew of convenience and accessibility options to make your experience more streamlined. This makes the mobile experience ideal for searching on the go.

Believe it or not, Google and Spotlight search are the best productivity tools on your phone at any given time. Utilizing the search feature properly enables you to do things quickly and efficiently, such as launching applications, playing music and media, calling or messaging contacts, checking the local weather and much more.

If you’re wondering how you can be more productive with your mobile device browsing, or want to speed up tedious activities, consider these time-saving tips that will help you better search.

Interact With a Contact

When you need to get in touch with someone, your first thought might be to open the appropriate contact app and sort through your contacts list for his or her name. There’s a much easier way, however.

Open your search platform of choice and begin typing in the name of the person you wish to get in touch with. After a few letters, the name should appear in the list and you can select it to bring up a menu of options.

This is much faster than browsing through a full list of contacts, especially if you’re on a business device and have hundreds.

Launch Applications

First, bring up Google Now search on Android or Spotlight on iOS. In the search box, simply start typing the name of the application you wish to launch. The app icon and name will appear in the search list, and all you need to do is tap it to launch. There are no additional taps, swipes or gestures necessary.

This also eliminates the need to open an app drawer or sort through folders to find the application you’re looking for. It helps considerably when you have hundreds of apps installed on your device, and let’s face it: who doesn’t?

woman on phone

Other Things You Can Search

Just as you would search for applications or contacts, you can open your search app and begin typing to search for the following:

  • Music or videos
  • Addresses (search for locations by zip code)
  • Movie times, theater showings, flight times or financial and stock updates using a web search
  • Weather (Android only)
  • Specific mail messages (iOS only)
  • Reminders (Android only)
  • iTunes movie rentals or TV shows (iOS only)

Search by Voice

Perhaps one of the coolest – and the most efficient – ways to search using your mobile device is to speak to your platform of choice. On both iOS and Android devices, there’s a small microphone icon next to the search bar – and there’s also one each time the virtual keyboard shows up. By tapping this icon, you can speak to your phone and dictate what you want it to do.

For example, if I tap the mic icon and say “Call Bob at home,” the phone will automatically search for that contact in my phone and place a call to his home number.

You can activate many functions using voice commands. You can ask questions, place calls or send messages, set personal reminders and schedule calendar events, find the weather, lookup directions, play music and media and much more.

If you’re on an Android device and wish to use Google Now Voice commands, you can do one of the following:

  1. Tap the microphone icon in the Google Search Widget
  2. Hold down the home button or perform a long press
  3. While on the lock screen, swipe up on the Google Now icon
  4. While the Google Now app is open, say “Google,” followed by your search phrase
  5. Simply say “Okay Google,” on select automated devices like the Moto X

If you’re on an iOS device and you wish to use the voice control function, press and hold the home button and speak your command immediately.

Remember to use these quick tips to enjoy your mobile device to the fullest!

Images by Kaboompics and SplitShire