How to Search in a Document on iPhone: 7 Ways Explained

Control+F has long been synonymous with searching for a document on the PC. You can use this shortcut to locate occurrences of words, phrases, or even sentences in a document. It’s pretty handy and works on most text-filled interfaces. But things are changing when it comes to mobiles and mobile operating systems. if you have an iPhone, you can no longer press Ctrl+f (or Command+f like on macOS) to start searching for something in a document.

But don’t worry, you can easily search for a document on your iPhone, and here’s all the help you’ll need.

Can I search in a document on iPhone?

Yes. Although searching for a document on iPhone is different depending on where and what you are searching, it is easily possible to search for a document or webpage on iPhone in most cases.

So whether you have a web page to search for something or a document file such as PDF, DOCX or something else, you can indeed search the document file to find the word or phrase you are looking for. And it’s easy, although the method may change depending on the file type.

Related: How to Make a Photo Collage on iPhone

How to search for a document in 7 ways

Depending on the type of document and the application you use to open it, the procedure for searching for something in the document also changes. Let’s see how you can open and search a document on your iPhone.

1. How to search for a note in the Apple Notes app

Open the Remarks app from your iPhone.

Tap the To note you want to search.

Tap the 3-dot icon in the top right corner of your screen.

Faucet Search in note.

Tap the input box marked with the text “Search”. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll be looking for the phrase “nerds chalk.”

Note that we have 2 examples of the phrase “nerds chalk” in this note. Also note that searching for words in the Notes app is not case sensitive, hence the “Nerds Chalk” result.

Press the down arrow to navigate to the next occurrence of the phrase “nerds chalk” in this note.

As shown in the image below, this is the 2nd and final occurrence of the phrase “nerd chalk” in this note.

Let’s also test if word search in the Notes app also considers your entry as part of a word. For example, in the image below, it is clear that even if the search query is “nerd”, the Notes application will still locate instances where the search query “nerd” occurs as part of a full word.

It should also be noted that spaces in your search queries will be treated as separate characters. For example, in the image below, the phrase containing a space like “Nerds Chalk” will not appear in the search query “nerdschalk”.

2. How to find a document in the Files app

Open the Files app from your iPhone home screen.

Choose where your document is stored and tap on it. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll choose a document stored on the iPhone.

Tap the document you want to search for.

Tap the magnifying glass icon at the top of your screen.

Tap the input box and type the phrase you are looking for. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll be looking for the word “shakespeare”

Note that we have 5 occurrences of the word “Shakespeare” in this document.

Press the down arrow to navigate to the next occurrence of the phrase “shakespeare” in this document.

As shown in the image below, this is the 2nd of 5 total occurrences of the phrase “Shakespeare” in this document. You can press the down arrow again to locate instances further down the document.

3. How to Search for a Document in the Pages App

Open the pages app from your iPhone home screen.

Choose where your document is stored and tap on it. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll choose a document stored on the iPhone itself.

Tap the document you want to search for.

To note: PDF files will not be visible in the Pages app.

Tap the 3-dot icon at the top of your document.

Scroll down and tap To find.

Tap the input box and type the phrase you are looking for. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll be looking for the phrase “nerds chalk.”

The first instance of your search query will be highlighted in yellow.

You can select the next or previous instance of your search query by tapping the icon following Where Previous respectively.

4. How to Find a Webpage You Saved in Safari

Open the saved web page from a web browser. For the purposes of this guide, we will open a web page shortcut created through the Safari Web browser.

Press the to share button (square with an arrow pointing up) below the search bar.

Scroll down and tap the Find on the page option.

Tap the input box and type the phrase you are looking for. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll be looking for the word “nerdle”.

The first instance of your search query will be highlighted in yellow.

To note: This method may produce confusing numbering for your search query. For example, in the image below, there is clearly an instance of the word “nerdle” above the highlighted one. However, the highlighted word is numbered 1.

You can press the up or down arrows to locate the previous or next instance of your search query, respectively.

5. How to Find a Document You Downloaded or Saved in Safari

Open Safari/Chrome or any other web browser from your iPhone. For the purposes of this guide, we will open the Safari Web browser.

Press the downloads icon to the left of the search bar. However, if this icon is not available, press the “aA” icon.

Faucet Downloads.

Tap the document you want to search for.

Tap the magnifying glass icon at the top of your browser window.

Tap the input box and type the phrase you are looking for. For the purposes of this guide, we will be looking for the word “industry”.

The first instance of your search query will be highlighted in yellow.

You can press the up or down arrows to locate the previous or next instance of your search query, respectively.

6. How to search pdf in Adobe Acrobat Reader on iPhone

Open the Adobe Acrobat Reader app from your iPhone home screen.

Tap the document you want to search for.

Tap the magnifying glass icon at the top of your screen.

Tap the input box marked with the text “Find in document” and enter the phrase you want to search for. For the purposes of this guide, we will be looking for the word “time”.

hurry to look for from your keyboard.

Instances of your word search query will be highlighted.

You can tap the left or right pointing arrows to locate the previous or next instance of your search query, respectively.

7. How to search for a document in Google Docs on iPhone

Open the Documents app from your iPhone home screen.

Tap the document you want to search for.

Tap the 3-dot icon in the top right corner of your screen.

Press the find and replace option.

Tap the input box marked with the text “Find in document” and enter the phrase you want to search for. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll be looking for the word “nerds.”

hurry to look for from your keyboard. Instances of your word search query will be highlighted.

You can press the up or down arrows to locate the previous or next instance of your search query, respectively.

FAQs

Does the iPhone have a feature similar to Control+F to find text in a document?

No, the iPhone doesn’t have a keyboard shortcut like Control + F to search for text, obviously. Also, the iPhone does not offer a consistent method or shortcut to search for text in various apps.

However, it is possible to use various search tactics depending on the application containing your document. Feel free to read our guide above to learn more about it.

Is the search for words in the iPhone case sensitive?

No, searching for a word or phrase in a document is not case sensitive on iPhone. For example, in the image below, it didn’t matter that the letter “S” at the beginning of our search query was lowercase. The highlighted result always starts with a capital “S”.

Is space treated as a separate character when searching for a document on iPhone?

Yes. Space is treated as a separate character when searching for a phrase in a document on iPhone. In fact, it is necessary because without the space character, searching for phrases with several words would be impossible.

Can I use the word search in documents in “docx” format?

In a general way, Yes. However, this depends on the application your document is stored in. If you open your document through Google Docs, you can search by word. Additionally, the Pages app on your iPhone also allows you to search for words in “docx” format documents.

How to search for text on a website

To search for a word or phrase in the text of a webpage on your iPhone, just follow our guide on “How to Find a Webpage You Saved in Safari/Chrome” above.


We hope this article has helped you get familiar with the different ways to search for a word, phrase, or phrase in a document. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us using the comment section below.

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Brandon D. James