Search for Text on a Web Page in Safari with iOS 7

Oct 3, 2013 - 6 Comments

Safari icon Finding words and searching for text directly on webpages in Safari post iOS 7 has changed slightly, and though there seems to be significant confusion about how to use the new find words and phrases feature, rest assured the feature has not been removed from Safari, the find feature is just accessed slightly different than it was before.

To demonstrate how “find on page” works in the new version of Safari, let’s run through a sample search with some screenshots looking right here on osxdaily.com for the phrase “multitouch trick”.

As you’ll see, this is a multiple step process that uses the URL bar to function as a Search bar… it works well once you learn how to use it.

1: Tap the URL bar and clear the text

Search for text on web pages in Safari iOS 7

2: Type the phrase to search on the page for, scroll down to “On This Page” and tap on “Find phrase”

Find text on a web page in iOS 7 Safari

This works the same on all iOS 7 devices, be they an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Because of the screen sizes of the iPhone and iPod touch you will likely need to scroll more on the visible screen to access the text to match on the page.

If you’re having troubles for whatever reason, these are more precise instructions for on-page search with Safari:

  • From Safari, open the webpage you want to search for text on
  • Tap the URL address bar at the top of the screen
  • Tap on the (X) button in the address bar to clear the existing text (the websites URL)
  • Type the text to search for in the address bar, ignore the top “Google Search” suggestions and scroll down to find the “On This Page (x match)” section, then tap on “Find ‘phrase’” to search the webpage for that text and jump to the first reported entry of the match, it will be highlighted in yellow
  • Use the arrows at the bottom of the screen to go to the next match or prior match, or when finished tap “Done” to exit out of on-page search and go back to browsing the web using Safari as usual

You’ll find the process is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. It’s really not too different than how it worked prior to iOS 7, but rather than having a dedicated search bar it has been merged into the URL bar, there is no obvious indicator that is the case though, suggesting the feature could be improved upon a bit to make it more obvious and eliminate some of the confusion surrounding such a widely used feature.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks

6 Comments

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  1. Joel says:

    How very unintuitive.

    Thanks so much for this article. I was looking around for ages trying to find this feature. It’s very disappointing that it’s so hard to find, I know Apple always prided themselves on intuitive user interface.

    Ah well

  2. Alex says:

    Had they left the web page visible when you click on the URL bar, I may have found it.
    Because it goes blank it looks as though you are leaving the page…

  3. Nora says:

    Best explanation ever!
    Thank you

  4. Les says:

    “Use the arrows at the bottom of the screen to go to the next match or prior match, ”

    Not sure if this is iPhone 4S glitch or because I have dynamic text size and bold turned on, but I can not see those arrows at the bottom and it’s a guessing game to click to the left of the “x of x matches” there at the bottom.

    Ymmv.

  5. Beba says:

    Really, thanks a lot!

  6. JR says:

    Thanks for this, I never thought to look at the bottom of the URL bar. When I type into any browser’s URL bar, I expect the resulting options to be:
    - Search “text” in search engine.
    - Link from Bookmarks/Reading List
    - History links
    So my eyes don’t lock onto anything there when I want to search on page.
    Another thing is this: the URL bar is where it is so that you remember it’s location. On a computer a keyboard shortcut or button always opens find.
    But with this new search on page feature’s location, depending on the number of results returned when you’ve entered something into the bar, the feature could be at the top, halfway down, or require scrolling to get to. This increases time spent, and decreases efficiency, which is extremely annoying if you work from your iPad a lot…

    Anyway, thanks for the information.

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