A crossed-out iPhone home screen search button on a blue background.

Starting with iOS 16, the iPhone home screen includes a small “Search” button located just above the dock. If you find the addition annoying, Apple makes it easy to remove the search button in Settings. Here’s how.

Apple likely added the new search button in iOS 16 because launching Spotlight Search on an iPhone had previously been a mysterious process (you swipe downward with one finger in the middle of the home screen.) With the new button, all you have to do is tap it, and Spotlight opens instantly.

The home screen search button in iOS 16 and up.

To remove this search button, first open Settings on your iPhone by tapping the gear icon.

In Settings, scroll down and tap “Home Screen.”

In iPhone Settings, tap "Home Screen."

In Home Screen settings, locate the section labeled “Search” and flip the switch beside “Show on Home Screen” to the off position.

In iPhone settings, flip "Show on Home Screen" to the off position.

After that, exit Settings, and you’ll see that the search button has been replaced with the home screen page number dots like iOS 15 and earlier.

The home screen page number dots on an iPhone

Not only do these dots visually show you quick home screen you’re on, but you can also hold your finger on them—then slide it—to quickly scroll through your home screen pages. Have fun!

RELATED: How to Quickly Scroll Through Home Screen Pages on iPhone and iPad

Of course, even after you disable this button, you can swipe downward with one finger in the middle (not the top or bottom) of the Home screen to open Spotlight search.

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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