Full-Text Search in Files on iOS/iPadOs?


I am currently contemplating whether I want to use DEVONthink or not? One argument of DT in favour is the ability to search file content. So I was wondering, whether anyone knows a reliable alternative for iOS? I had a play around with Samurai Search. But that did not go too well.

Hmm, I don’t have a clear or exact answer but it appears that with iPadOS 17 beta more file contents are indexed and searched than previously. Some of these may have been indexed before but some are new. I’m seeing results from text/html/markdown files in app folders for Notebooks, iA Writer and Textastic. Also showing results for pdfs, Numbers and Pages documents.

I’m fairly certain that the indexing I’m seeing is new and improved. I’m sure it’s not on par with an app like DEVONthink but this is exciting for those of us that want to rely on the Files app for searching on the iPad.

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This may be useful for your purposes:

I have had good results from it after it has had the opportunity to index the files.

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PDF Search is quite promising but rather buggy, often crashing during indexing. I find easySearch a more reliable aleternative.


Thanks for the replies! I will check both apps out. And I am curious for iOS 17.

Anything in Dropbox (paid account) has full text search on iOS.


Thanks! Glad that Dropbox offers it.

Hope that Apple will do the same at some point. I recently checked for a word on iOS 16 that word showed up in OCR’ed photos but not PDF content (I definitely had a PDF with the word).

Nice, it appears I have already got this app. Now I don’t recall why I do not use it :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Will give it another try.

I updated my iPad to the dev beta yesterday. Indexing and finding PDF content is quite a bit better now! A pity Apple does not mention it.

Marketing knows the majority of people are more interested in emoji, memoji, stickers, and widgets. :slightly_frowning_face:


No problem. I’m going to write a blog post about it. At least 6 people will know all about it. :joy::rofl::laughing:


Make it 7 :wink: . Just subscribed to your blog on Reeder.

Edit: Well, I kinda know from this thread. So back to 6 :frowning:

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I would like to distinguish between searching content from within a document and searching from Spotlight or the Files app.

On iOS 16 (I don’t have 17) I can search within documents, including .pdf and find a word or phrase. But, from a Spotlight or Files search I can only find a word or phrase if it is in the file name.

So, in iOS 17 are you seeing content results before you actually open a file?

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Correct. Text content of files is now searchable from the Files app search field. I’m not sure if that it’s 100% for all documents but in my various checks thus far it seems fairly consistent across text, html, markdown, pdf, images, Pages, Numbers, etc. Seems to be a fairly complete index.

That is great! Thanks!