Spotlight on the iPhone serves as a powerful search tool that allows users to find and access content quickly. While the primary focus has been on searching for apps, contacts, and textual content within apps, iOS 17 has also introduced videos to the mix. And it's about time.

Now, you can search for videos on your device by scene, people, and activities using Spotlight search. Not only that but when you click through a result, there's a new scrubber interface that'll highlight the part(s) of the video that match your query.

To use Spotlight Video Search, follow these steps:

  1. Swipe down from the Home Screen or the Lock Screen to access Spotlight Search.
  2. In the search bar, type keywords related to the video you are looking for. Spotlight can search for videos using People, activities, or scenes.

    So, if you're looking for a video of a person whose name is added in your Photos app, you can search for their videos using their name directly. But it also works generally, like you can search for babies or children, pets, etc. in general. You can also search for activities, like dancing, playing, etc., or scenes like the beach, mountain, etc. You can also combine them to refine your search.

    For example, you can use Spotlight to find all the videos on your iPhone of your child dancing by using their name and the term dancing. You can also add "videos" to the search term to further define the query if you're not getting results without it.
  1. Spotlight will return all the videos that match the search result. Tap on a thumbnail to view the video.
  1. It'll play in Spotlight itself, and the part(s) of the video that matches the search term will be highlighted with a blue scrubber.
  1. You can play/ pause the video here, share it using the options in the Share sheet, or open it in the Photos app.

Video search in Spotlight makes it very easy to find the moments you're looking for without the need to scroll through endless videos and photos. But it's not perfect and it can make mistakes (it can even mistake a person for a horse; I'm still sore about that one). So if you can't find what you're looking for, don't rely on it entirely.