Performing Search In iOS: What’s Your Alternatives?

With iOS, there are choices when using a search engine. You can either use it from within Safari or another browser, just like you would in Mac OS, or you can use a separate search engine app. Which option you choose depends much on personal preference.

There are even several choices for different search engine apps. Which one you use depends a lot on what features you’re looking for, as well as which one you usually prefer when searching. Most of them are free, as you shouldn’t have to pay for searching, but there’s one that costs just a little. Depending on your usage, it could be worth it.


I’m doing a search here for news about Apple. I tried first using the search tool within the Safari browser in iOS. I have a lot of choices, certainly more than I had with the first Safari browser in the original iOS. Across the top in the black bar, I can search for News, Images, Maps, Shopping, etc… and I can sign in to my Google account for more options. In a list to the right, it shows related searches. If I click on the wrench, it gives me time options, as well as other interesting choices, such as reading level, translation, verbatim, etc. Additionally, in the Settings app, you can choose whether to search with Google, Bing, or Yahoo! There are ample amount of options here.

Google App


The Google App works much the same way as Google in Safari, but it provides you a few more options. If I just go to a regular search, it gives me the same search list, as well as the related searches to the right, and a few to the top. Clicking on the arrow in the upper left takes me to additional options that include a voice search. If you don’t have a newer iPhone or are using an iPad, and don’t have the use of Siri, you can search with voice here. It’s nice for when you’re tied up doing something else, yet you still have to use your eyes to navigate to the right spot here. Additionally, you can check in with the library of other Google apps. When you return to your search, it gives you the additional options you have with Google in Safari. Tapping a search option opens it in a separate tab. Gestures allows you to have the viewing window side by side with your search results.

Bing App

You just can’t get more attractive than the Bing App. The one optimized for the iPad is even more so. It has large images opened up in the middle, and you can swipe to different images if you prefer. You can click on an info icon in the bottom right for more information of what you’re looking at, and can click on certain pieces of the image to get more information about that section of the image. It’s not all about that though. There is also a search for voice option, and an attractive listing at the bottom of local weather, maps, searching trends, news, movies, and finance. Tapping those takes you to more options. And of course, there’s a search function in the top left that gives you standard search options.

Yahoo App


About the only reason to use the Yahoo! App would be if you are used to searching with Yahoo! online and are on your iPhone. It’s not optimized at all for the iPad. It does offer you great local suggestions. If you’re looking for a restaurant, movie, or coffee shop close by, it’ll give you those options on a map. It also shows you the current search trends, allows you to search by voice, and of course offers the same standard search options along the top there.

Ask App


Like Bing, the Ask App isn’t optimized for the iPad, and is only useful if you’re on an iPhone. It offers more choices if you sign up for a free account. The app shows you what is currently being searched for by others using Ask. It can search normally on the web and can also search for answers from people, just like does. If you look for specific answers, you need to either create an account or sign in with Facebook. It should be noted that if you ask something previously asked, it will show up in a web search, just as with any other search app. If you have many pointed questions you are looking to have answered, it might be useful.

BingYaMaGoggle! App


The BingYaMaGoggle! App combines all of the search functions in one place for you. There are other apps that do the same, but they aren’t as easy to use and as attractive. If you do a lot of searching and hate switching back and forth between search engines looking for the right answer, it’s worth the $1.99 price tag. It searches Bing, Yahoo!, Google, AOL, and At any time you can have it open the choices in Safari. My only question is where they get the “Ma” in the title.

Which is your favorite method to perform a search in iOS?

Image credit: Danard Vincente

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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