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How to Search Safari Browser History on iPhone  iPad

Jun 21, 2017 – 2 Comments

Search Safari history in iOS

Did you know you can search through web browsing history in Safari on an iPhone or iPad? With the excellent Safari History search feature you can easily retrieve and find previously visited sites, webpages, and videos, whether from earlier in the day or even well over a year ago – assuming the searchable Safari history has not been removed anyway.

This offers a fantastic tool to track down old web content that you may have a hard time finding on it’s own. For example, if you knew you watched a web video somewhere about a topic like “Carl Sagan” but can’t quite remember what it was or where it was located on the web, you can search for that term and all history matching the search terms will be retrieved.

How to Search Browser History on Safari for iPhone, iPad

All modern versions of Safari in iOS have searchable history, here’s how it works:

  1. From the Safari app on iPhone or iPad, tap the bookmarks / history button (it looks like an open book icon)
  2. Search Safari browser history on iOS

  3. Choose the the book tab and go to the History section
  4. At the top of the History section, tap into the “Search History” box
  5. Search Safari browser history on iOS

  6. Type your search query term to search Safari browser history on the iOS device
  7. Search Safari browser history on iPhone and iPad

If you tap on any searched history result, the page or site will immediately open in Safari.

In the example above, I searched for “Charlie Rose” to track down an old interview I had watched on YouTube, and the video I was searching for was found immediately.

You can search through any search history on Safari on the iOS device, even history that is quite a bit older, as long as you (or the user) has not cleared Safari history on the device being searched.

Note that if you use Safari and iCloud on an iPhone or iPad as well as another device, you will have other devices history to search through as well – even if it was not searched for on the current device. This is a feature of iCloud and is available to users with the same Apple ID and iCloud enabled on multiple iOS and Mac OS devices.

You can also search for an item match in Safari history and then remove that specific page from Safari history in iOS after it has been matched and found, offering a way to selectively clear history from a device without wiping it all.

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  • How to Access  Search Safari History on Mac
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  • How to Recover Deleted Safari History on Mac
Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad , iPhone , Tips & Tricks


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Martin says:
    June 21, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    I do not have the history section on all my IOS devices, even I didn’t clear the history. I can see them on macOS but not on IOS. Any idea why?


  2. Sharon says:
    March 28, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    How can I download or put safari back on my iPad I have the icon but no app when I pull up. To use it


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How to Manage Your Browsing History in Safari for the iPhone

How To

How to Manage Your Browsing History in Safari for the iPhone

Clear selected entries or your entire history for privacy purposes

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    Scott Orgera

    Scott Orgera has been a tech journalist since 2007. He has 25+ years’ experience as a programmer and QA leader and several Microsoft certifications.

    Updated October 27, 2018

    22 people found this article helpful

    The Safari web browser on your iPhone keeps a log of web pages that you visit. From time to time you may find it useful to look back through your history to revisit a particular site. You may also want to clear this history for privacy purposes. In iOS 11 , you can clear your Safari browser history in two places: from the Safari app and the iPhone’s Settings app.

    Delete Your Entire Browsing History in the Safari App

    The browsing history is located in its own tab inside the bookmarks icon in Safari. To access:

    1. Tap on the Safari icon on your iPhone to open the app.
    2. Click on the Bookmarks icon at the bottom of the Safari screen. It resembles an open book.
    3. Tap the Clock tab at the top of the Bookmarks screen to open your browsing history. Websites are listed in reverse chronological order.
    4. If you want to delete everything in the history, tap Clear at the bottom of the screen. Note that clearing the entire history removes history, cookies and other browsing data. If your iPhone is signed in to your iCloud account, the history is removed from your other devices that are signed in as well. 
    5. Pick one of the options on the delete screen: The last half hourTodayToday and Yesterday, or All time

    All the history in the period you select is deleted immediately. There is no further confirmation.

    Delete Only Some History Entries in the Safari App

    It could be that you’d rather delete only a few specific entries in your browsing history. To do this:

    1. Tap on the Safari icon on your iPhone to open the app.
    2. Click on the Bookmarks icon at the bottom of the Safari screen. 
    3. Tap the Clock tab at the top of the Bookmarks screen to open your browsing history. 
    4. To delete only some entries in the history, locate each entry you want to delete in the list of websites and swipe across it from right to left.
    5. Tap the red Delete button that appears next to the entry.

    There is no confirmation screen when you delete browsing history entries in this way.

    Delete Your Entire Browsing History in the Settings App

    You can also delete your browsing history without opening the Safari app at all.

    1. Tap the Settings app on the iPhone.
    2. Select Safari on the Settings screen.
    3. Scroll to the bottom of the Safari screen and tap Clear History and Website Data. The confirmation screen that opens warns you that this action clears all history, cookies, and other data from the iPhone and all other devices signed in to your iCloud account.
    4. Tap Clear History and Data.


    There is no option to select individual entries for deletion through the Settings app. You can only do that from the Safari app.

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