Searching multiple PDFs' content on iOS

Hi MPU-Community,

thank you for having me here!

I am looking for a way to handle my documents on iOS (and macOS). For now I am using Evernote and hazel to get all my analoge documents in the digital world. So I have many pdfs.
I want to leave the Evernote ecosystem.
In Evernote I can search for pdf content all over the whole database. This feature is essential for me.
It looks like Apple Note provides this too. But I am worried if the app could handle thousands of pdfs…
I would prefer a folder-based solution in iCloud. But I could not find a helper app to search pdf-content.
Do you have any solution? Or do you use any other good system for handling multiple pdfs?

Thank you very much in advance! I’m looking forward to your ideas!


See this recent thread esp. the most recent set of posts:

I think the main options are DevonThink to Go, PDF Expert, Google Drive or OneDrive. But all will require you to use their app, not the Files app, for full-text search.

I think PDF Search is the only option to index PDFs stored anywhere in the Files app instead of inside the app document container itself.

But I’m not very happy with the quality of the app as it has numerous bugs and crashes often. The developer hasn’t been very responsive nor active in fixing any of my dozens of detailed reports.

So I’m back in the quest to find an alternative again. Does anyone knows any alternatives (apps that can do full-text search on multiple PDFs stored in Files app)?

Documents by Readdle does full text search if you enable indexing.

I keep the documents I need to search in the iCloud folder created by the app. I’m not sure if it can search other iCloud folders.

This one is almost an exact copy of PDF Expert. It can’t search for files stored elsewhere.

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Both are from Readdle. I suspect Apple restricts most/all IOS apps the same as they do Shortcuts. I am able to create and search sub folders.

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Do you mean search for folders inside the app? I can’t seem to find any way to mount external folders for access like in PDF Search.

I used to use PDF Expert before they turned into subscription. The search was very slow that I almost felt it only begins indexing while I’m searching.

I created folders under the Documents by Readdle folder on iCloud. Then with indexing turned on I can do full text searches of PDFs etc. of both folders.

Despite the name, this is my Documents by Readdle folder.

I have ‘Documents by Readdle’ and ‘PDF Expert’ installed on my iPad. And prior to installing Big Sur had folders named the same. After installing BS (which I feel is a much more appropriate name for this version) I now have two folders named PDF Expert because . . . iCloud.

Update: Full text search has stopped working.

Thanks! I was using Dropbox exclusively so didn’t notice the iCloud folder. I’ll look into it.

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I‘m using Keep it now. Sometimes it is a bit buggy. But most of the time I am quite happy with it. PDF search all over the database works fine.

If you just want to search PDFs, you can try easySearch (

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Looks interesting and could be a replacement for PDF Search. Do you have any experience to share? Is it possible to backup the index database besides whole device backup?

No, I don‘t think that the index database is in the backup. However, you can regenerate the index so no important data is lost.

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Thanks for the recommendation.

I’ve purchased the premium and it’s working great. Much more reliable than PDF Search, which crashes constantly during indexing. The indexing is pretty fast as well.

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Dropbox (paid accounts) has full text search across all files (including OCR in images) on iOS and Mac.

Good to know! I was comparing between these two apps.