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How to Search the Web Using the Smart Search Bar on iPhone

Safari’s address bar is far more advanced than just a field for entering a web address. That’s why Apple calls it a “Smart Search Bar” – it is effectively both a search field and a navigation device with nifty little features. You can use it to browser your search history or bookmarks, navigate the web and do a variety of interesting things with it. Here’s a tutorial on how to use Smart Search in Safari on your iPhone.

Smart Search Bar in Safari

Safari > [Search Query] OR [URL]

To invoke Safari’s Smart Search, open up the Safari browser on your iPhone and tap the Search or enter website name field at the very top of your screen.

1. Search the web

To use the Smart Search Bar for searching the internet, simply enter one or more search terms into the field and tap Open. This will bring up the results page of your default search engine.

Hint: You can also change your default search engine to something privacy-friendly like DuckDuckGo by going to Settings > Safari > Search Engine. Read More…

2. Search bookmarks or history

You can also go through your history and bookmarks by entering a search term. Don’t hit Open directly after entering your search term(s), but instead scroll down in the list. Given that there are valid results, you will see a section labeled Bookmarks and History. Tap any of the results to go directly to the page.

3. Search on page

You can also search on a page, similar to CTRL/CMD+F in a desktop browser. Enter your search query into the Smart Search Bar and look for the On this page section at the bottom. By tapping one of the search results, you’ll be taken to a view of the currently viewed webpage or article that can highlight each occurrence of a keyword for you. Use the arrows to navigate.

4. Search entire domain

You can also search an entire site via the Smart Search Bar. This requires having a setting called Quick Website Search enabled, which you can find under Settings > Safari. It is also required that you have used the search feature on the site in question at least once. Read More…

Once these prerequisites are fulfilled, you can enter the short name for an individual webpage and search its entire range of articles by entering your search queries after the name of the site.

5. Using “top hits”

Safari is pretty smart. Aside from all of the above, it will also display so-called top hits, which are tailored to your personal usage patterns and serve as the quickest path to the desired result, at least in most cases. This is why those hits appear at the very top of a result list. Tap the top hit of your choice to get to the actual page.

The top hits load nearly instantly, because iOS caches them while showing you the list of results. It might be required to enable this feature beforehand. Go to Settings > Safari and make sure that Preload Top Hit is switched on.