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How to use the Smart Search bar in Safari on iPhone and iPad

The Smart Search bar in iOS 15 is a hybrid of the old address and search bars melded into one universal place to type and go. You can access your default search provider, your browsing history, saved bookmarks, and even specific words on web pages, all through the unified Smart Search bar at the top of your Safari browsing window. It makes searching for something on your best iPhone more straightforward. Here’s how to use the Smart Search bar in Safari on iPhone and iPad.

  1. Launch Safari from the Home screen.
  2. Tap in the Smart Search bar at the top or bottom of your browser.

    Navigating to Search bar in Safari on iPhone: Open Safari, tap Smart Search buttonSource: iMore

  3. Type in some keywords or a phrase you would like to search for.
  4. Tap on the Go button at the bottom right of your screen.

    Entering search terms in Safari on iPhone: Type keyword, tap Go

    Entering search terms in Safari on iPhone: Type keyword, tap GoSource: iMore

That’s it! Safari will now use your default search engine to score the internet for you.

How to search bookmarks and web history using the Smart Search bar on iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch Safari from your Home screen.
  2. Tap in the Smart Search bar at the top or bottom of your browser.

    Using SmartSearch in Safari on iPhone: Open Safari, tap Smart Search button

    Using SmartSearch in Safari on iPhone: Open Safari, tap Smart Search buttonSource: iMore

  3. Type in some keywords you would like to search the internet for (I searched for “apple”).
  4. Tap on the site or bookmark you would like to navigate under the Bookmarks and History heading.

    Find bookmark website using search in Safari on iPhone: Type keywords, tap site or bookmark

    Find bookmark website using search in Safari on iPhone: Type keywords, tap site or bookmarkSource: iMore

How to search the text on a specific web page using the Smart Search bar

  1. Open Safari on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Open a web page in Safari.
  3. Tap the Smart Search bar,

    Use Smart Search in Safari on iPhone: Open Safari, Open a page, tap Smart search bar

    Use Smart Search in Safari on iPhone: Open Safari, Open a page, tap Smart search barSource: iMore

  4. Type the word or phrase that you want to find on the page.
  5. Tap the word or phrase under On this Page.

    Using search in Safari on iPhone: Type word, tap the word

    Using search in Safari on iPhone: Type word, tap the wordSource: iMore

  6. Tap the navigation buttons to jump to each instance of the word if there’s more than one.
  7. Tap Done when you’re finished.

    Navigating Search in Safari on iPhone: Tap navigation buttons, tap Done

    Navigating Search in Safari on iPhone: Tap navigation buttons, tap DoneSource: iMore

How to change your default search browser in Safari

Everyone has their favorite search engine. Make sure yours is programmed as the default and use the Smart Search bar in Safari.

  1. Tap on Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on Safari (you may have to scroll down to find it).

    Change Search Engine on iPhone: Open Settings, tap Safari

    Change Search Engine on iPhone: Open Settings, tap SafariSource: iMore

  3. Tap on Search Engine,
  4. Tap on your preferred search engine from the list.

    Change Search Engine on iPhone: Tap Search Engine, choose your search engine

    Change Search Engine on iPhone: Tap Search Engine, choose your search engineSource: iMore

Next time you open up Safari and type something into the Smart Search bar, it will use your newly-set search engine.

How to search Safari from Search on the Home screen in iOS 15

In iOS 15, super-powered the native search functionality available to the left of the Home screen. When you enter a search term in the Search feature, you’ll see suggested web searches and even websites based on your term.

  1. Swipe right on your home screen to navigate to search.
  2. Enter your search term in your search bar.
  3. Tap the search result you want.

    Web Search From Search In iOS 14: Swipe right on the Home Screen, enter your search term in the search bar, and then tap the search result you want.

    Web Search From Search In iOS 14: Swipe right on the Home Screen, enter your search term in the search bar, and then tap the search result you want.Source: iMore

As you can see in the example above, the search terms that iOS found for “iMore” will automatically open Safari and search the web using that term.

The Smart Search bar can be at the top or bottom

If you’re on iOS 15, you may notice that Apple switched the search/address bar from the top of the screen in Safari to the bottom of the screen. There’s no functionality difference between the two options, but if you prefer the Smart Search bar to be at the top rather than the bottom, you can change the location of the address bar in Settings.

Updated March 2022: Updated for the most recent version of iOS 15.

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