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

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

But worry not, you can easily search a document on your iPhone, and here’s all the help you will need.

Can I search in a document on iPhone?

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

So, whether you have got a webpage to search something, or a document file like PDF, DOCX, or anything else, you can indeed search the document file to find the word or phrase you are looking for. And it’s easy — even though the method may change depending on the file type.

Related: How to Make a Photo Collage on iPhone

How to search a document in 7 ways

Depending on the document type and the app that you use to open it with, the procedure to search something in the document changes too. Let’s see how you can open and search a document on your iPhone.

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

Open the Notes app from your iPhone.

Tap on the Note you want to search.

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

Tap Find in Note.

Tap on the typing area marked by the text “Search”. For the purpose of this guide, we will search the phrase “nerds chalk”.

Notice that we have 2 instances of the phrase “nerds chalk” in this Note. Also, notice that word search in the Notes app is not case sensitive, thus the result “Nerds Chalk”.

Tap the downwards arrow to navigate to the next instance of the phrase “nerds chalk” in this note.

As indicated in the picture below, this is the 2nd and last instance of the phrase “nerds chalk” in this note. 

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

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

2. How to search a document in the Files app

Open the Files app from your iPhone’s home screen.

Choose the location your document is stored in and tap on it. For the purpose of this guide, we will choose a document stored on the iPhone.

Tap on the document you want to search.

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

Tap on the typing area and enter the phrase you’re looking for. For the purpose of this guide, we will search the word “shakespeare”

Notice that we have 5 instances of the word “shakespeare” in this document.

Tap the downwards arrow to navigate to the next instance of the phrase “shakespeare” in this document.

As indicated in the picture below, this is the 2nd out of the 5 total instances of the phrase “shakespeare” in this document. You can tap the downwards arrow again to locate the instances further down the document.

3. How to search a document in the Pages app

Open the Pages app from your iPhone’s home screen.

Choose the location your document is stored in and tap on it. For the purpose of this guide, we will choose a document stored on the iPhone itself.

Tap on the document you want to search.

Note: Pdf files will not be viewable in the Pages app.

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

Scroll down and tap Find.

Tap on the typing area and enter the phrase you’re looking for. For the purpose of this guide, we will search 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 Next or Previous option respectively.

4. How to search a web page you saved in Safari

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

Tap the share button (square with an upwards pointing arrow) below the search bar.

Scroll down and tap the Find on Page option.

Tap on the typing area and enter the phrase you’re looking for. For the purpose of this guide, we will search the word “nerdle”.

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

Note: This method might produce jumbled numbering for your search query. For example, in the picture below, clearly, there is an instance of the word “nerdle” above the highlighted one. Yet, the highlighted word is numbered as 1.

You can tap the upwards or downwards pointing arrows to locate the previous or next instance of your search query respectively.

5. How to search a document you downloaded or saved in Safari

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

Tap the downloads icon on the left of the search bar. However, if this icon is not available, tap on the “aA” icon.

Tap Downloads.

Tap on the document you want to search.

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

Tap on the typing area and enter the phrase you’re looking for. For the purpose of this guide, we will search the word “industry”.

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

You can tap the upwards or downwards pointing arrows to locate the previous or next instance of your search query respectively.

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

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

Tap on the document you want to search.

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

Tap on the typing area marked by the text “Find in document” and enter the phrase you want to look for. For the purpose of this guide, we will search the word “time”.

Press search from your keyboard.

The 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 a document in Google Docs on iPhone

Open the Docs app from your iPhone’s home screen.

Tap on the document you want to search.

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

Tap the Find and replace option.

Tap on the typing area marked by the text “Find in document” and enter the phrase you want to look for. For the purpose of this guide, we will search the word “nerds”.

Press search from your keyboard. The instances of your word search query will be highlighted.

You can tap the upwards or downwards pointing arrows to locate the previous or next instance of your search query respectively.

FAQs

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

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

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

Is word search in iPhone case sensitive?

No, searching a word or a phrase in a document is not case-sensitive on iPhone. For example, in the picture below it did not matter that letter “S” at the beginning of our search query is lower case. The highlighted result still starts with an upper case “S”.

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

Yes. Space is treated as a separate character while searching a phrase in a document on iPhone. In fact, it is necessary because without the space character, searching for sentences featuring multiple words would be impossible.

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

Broadly speaking, yes. However, it depends on the app that your document is stored in. If you open your document through Google Docs, you can do a word search. Also, the Pages app on your iPhone also lets you search words in documents with the “docx” format.

How to search text on a website

To search a word or phrase in the text of a webpage on your iPhone, simply follow our guide on “How to search a web page you saved in Safari/Chrome” above.


We hope this article helped you get up to speed with the various ways you can search a word, phrase, or sentence in a document. If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out to us using the comments section below.

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