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. That is 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 down with one finger in the middle of the home screen). With the new button, all you have to do is touch it and Spotlight opens instantly.
To remove this search button, first open Settings on your iPhone by tapping on the gear icon.
In Settings, scroll down and tap “Home Screen”.
In the home screen settings, find the section labeled “Search” and toggle the switch next to “Show on home screen” to the off position.
After that, exit Settings and you will see the search button replaced with the number dots from the home screen page like iOS 15 and earlier.
Not only do these dots visually show you which quick home screen you’re on, but you can also hold your finger on them and then slide your finger to quickly scroll through the home screen pages. Have fun!
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Of course, even after you disable this button, you can still swipe down in the middle (not the top or bottom) of the home screen to open Spotlight search.