I was having the same problem, where my Spotlight search on my Verizon iPhone 4S wasn't working. I was in an area where I had very little signal (voice would work, but very poor data signal) and I could not get my phone to search. I closed all my apps, restarted my phone and the search worked again on the first try but then stopped working again. I came back to my office and read this discussion and was about to try taking email out of the search settings, but instead just went to my Mail app to encourage it to update. At first, I got a blank screen and Mail crashed. I tried again and this time Mail worked and it loaded my new messages. I then went to do a search and my Spotlight was working again with multiple searches.
So my theory is, the loss of data signal messed up my Mail which then caused my Spotlight to stop working since it did not have everything it needed in place to do my search. (I have everything selected in my Spotlight searching.)
So I'm not sure where the bug is with this one. I had AT&T iPhones previously which had even worse signal, but I don't recall it screwing up my Spotlight searching. When the error occurred I wondered if Spotlight needed the internet to function, like Siri. Does it?
Paul - you have nailed it for me. I have a 4S AT&T and was going crazy with this Spotlight Search (SLS) not working. It would not work this morning and I took the time to search for a solution.
I read your post, updated mail and SLS is now working fine. I did the beta for iOS 5 and I don't remember this being a problem in builds before the final Golden release, but I was chasing a bunch of things down and may have missed this. I believe it to be an iOS 5 bug and hopefully on the list for a 5.1.X update. I expected it to be fixed in 5.1, but obviously it wasn't.
If you try Paul's procedure and it works be sure to post a reply so the internet search engines will pick it up.
Dear a.h.r. (2012-02-18) Greetings from Rio!
1,000 thanks. Your instructions worked perfectly well.
I wonder how you came to this solution. Must have required a lot of experimentation, I presume. Or, maybe, you are a disguised Apple worker yourself, who knows... ;^)
Have a great day and thanks again.
The main problem on your devices is simple. The spotlight is set to off by default.
If you'd like to enable Spotlight to search(and index) your mails, notes, etc.. then you have to go into Settings - General - Spotlight Search and just tap those stuff you'd like to have indexed.
For example tap Music and then it will get marked.
Then just set up the priority order and Spotlight is ready to use.
This is not a bug.
Gallagher67 - I am not sure to whom you are addressing your reply/response. Perhaps you are correct for some that they have Spotlight turned off.
In my case, which I have proven many times since my post to this forum, is directly related to the successful completion of mail sync. In every sigle case of the Spotlight not working, I sync'ed my e-mail and it worked as expected. EVERY TIME. When it doen't work, it does not work for any category. After the sync, works for everything.
Even with this "resolution" I feel it is a bug. As a iOS developer I beta tested release 5 and this is one area I didn't think to test. I won't miss it next time.
So, perhaps as you have a point and some users will find the on/off switch and hopefully this issue will be resolved in the next release of iOS.
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YEAHaaww! I found it too !
I just upgraded to IOS5 on my iPhone 4 and found the same issue, unable to search any of my emails. I mainly use Exchange, amongst others.
Well, after reading this entire post, I finally discovered/found the solution and thought to share as it is an annoying issue. I can't really say it's a problem after discovering the cure. Here's why.
Can you remember when you first configured email on your iPhone, well usually when you do, all your email is ether tagged or cataloged or whatever. It's been looked at at least once by your iPhone. Well, upgrading your phone, buying a new one or whatever puts you back to that same place in time. Your mail neeeds to be update for the new IOS to know it's there.
Leave everything checked in spotlight search otpiions, don't worry about even restarting your phone. What you want to do is actually go into your mail, and open every folder you have set up in your inbox and make sure it updates. If you have a lot of folders, well it's your fualt, and if it's too many, open the folders most important to you relative to being searched. Opening the folder triggers an automatic update. Closing the folder stops that update, so leave it open for a while for it to finish if you have alot of mail. I have no clue if it is actually downloading emails like it says, because I have tonnes of emails and my iPhone never runs outa space.
You can manualy update by hitting the circle icon on the lower bezel, but it's a process you've done automatically when you initially created each folder etc.
The bottom line is, the phone needs to now what exsists, and will sift through all your millions emails really fast. Don't forget to open your sent folder too, as I'm sure you'll want to be able to search that folder at some point in time. Guaranteed, your spotlight search will work smoother and faster than prior IOS versions.
So you decide, was it really broke that warranted a fix, or just one of those processes that's done and we don't realise it untill it's needed, ie, updating all your folders.
Oh, you'll only need to do this once per folder, from then on it's automaitc. Hope this helps.
I had the same problem with iPhone 4 and iOS 5. Spotlight worked sopradically. I seem to have found the solution by unchecking everything in Settings->Spotlight and turning off the iPhone by pressing the home button and the wake/sleep button simultaneously. Turn the iPhone on and then go back to Settinggs->Spotlight and re-check everything and turn off the iPhone again. Re-start the iPhone again and Spotlight should work fine.