How to change the default iOS search provider

Everyone has his or her own preferred search provider. For some it's Yahoo, while for others it's Bing or Google. We will show you how to change the default search provider for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

Google is the set search provider for Safari Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Currently, all iOS devices come with the Mobile Safari search provider set to Google. For most users Google works, and the thought of changing it will never cross their mind. For others who prefer to use Bing and Yahoo, changing the default search engine is preferred. This simple guide will show you how to change the default search engine on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

The first thing you will need to do is go to Settings on your iOS device. Scroll down to Safari, and tap on it.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

In the picture above, Settings is displayed, with Safari highlighted. (All of the options are displayed on the right.)

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

On the Safari settings page you are shown what the current search engine is set to; in this case it is Yahoo. Tap on the Search Engine button to go to the next screen, where we will be able to select a different search provider from a list.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Here we can select either Bing, Yahoo, or Google as our search provider. Select your preferred search provider by tapping on the name. You can either back out of this screen by pressing the Safari arrow, or simply hitting the Home button on your device.

Now that we have changed the search provider in the settings, we can perform Web searches using one of two methods. The first would be to launch the Safari app, and tap on the search field in the upper right-hand corner. As seen in the screenshot at the beginning of this post, the name of the search provider that the device is using is printed in the search box.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

The other method to search the Web is a shortcut that is easily overlooked after having been introduced in iOS 4. You will need to enter the Spotlight search feature on your device by going to your home screen and either swiping from left to right (moving the entire screen) or press the Home button again, revealing a search bar at the top of your screen.

In the search bar you can search your entire device for e-mails, contacts, apps and many more things. For now, we are only going to worry about searching the Web.

Type in your search query, then scroll to the bottom of the list. You will see the Safari icon next to the text "Search Web." Tap on this option, and Safari will launch with the search engine's home page and results displayed, as you can see below.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Pretty simple, right? This is an easy way to continue personalizing your device and tailoring the user experience to fit your preferences.

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About the author

Jason Cipriani has been covering mobile technology news for over five years. His work spans from CNET How To and software review sections to WIRED’s Gadget Lab and Fortune.com.

 

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