How To: Turn off Proactive Search in iOS 9

The new “Proactive” search page Apple implemented in iOS 9 seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it kind of feature. At the left of the home screen, this page offers fast access to a handful of supposedly useful information: recent contacts, nearby places, suggested apps and new articles selected according to your Safari browsing habits.

While all of this may seem useful, it’s definitely not if you prefer other ways of getting this kind of information. The bad news is, you can’t entirely disable Proactive Search, so for now there’s no way to get rid of that page completely, but what you can do, and I’ll show you in a minute, is to customize it to a certain extent.

Hide Recent Contacts

If for whatever reason, recent contacts is not something you want to see on the Search screen, open the Settings app and go to General -> Search. Uncheck Contacts by tapping on them so they’ll no longer be displayed on the Search page.

Disable Recent Contacts in Spotlight Search

Note: Turning off this setting will remove recent contacts in the ‘proactive’ Search page, but they will no longer appear in Spotlight search results as well.

Proactive Search iOS9

Disable App Suggestions

Turning off this particular type of information on the Search page is done from the Settings -> General -> Search menu as well. Navigate there, then tap on Applications to disable suggested apps. Just like for recent contacts, turning off this feature will also exclude suggested apps from Spotlight search results.

Turn off App suggestions on the Search screen

Turn off Nearby and News

For me, these two are the most useful sections of the Search page, but if you don’t feel the same and would rather not see them on the Search screen you should know this is a package deal and you’ll have to let go of both.

Turn off Nearby & News in Proactive Search

You can hide Nearby and News from the Search app by tapping on Safari Suggestions. As much as I’d like to offer you a way to disable them separately, for now, the two are grouped.

Do you find the new Proactive Search feature in iOS 9 useful, or you’d rather have a way to completely disable the Search screen so you’ll never have to see it again? Let us know in the comments section, or drop us a line on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.