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How to search for old Facebook posts

A new feature is rolling out now, enabling users to search for specific posts, photos or videos on Facebook.

Facebook posts surfaced by a search on the iPhone 6. Jason Cipriani/CNET

On Monday Facebook announced the rollout of new search feature for iPhone and desktop users of the social network. Built atop its Graph Search product, the new feature will allow users to search for old posts across their account, along with content that's been shared with them from friends and public pages.

As of right now, the feature is slowly rolling out to both iPhone and desktop users only. The official announcement made no mention of the added functionality coming to Android, but one would imagine it can't be too far behind.

Left: The prompt that's present when the feature is available on your account. Right: Examples of search terms provided by Facebook. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

When the feature is available for your account, you will see an alert just below the search box letting you know you can now search for posts.

Searching for something is straightforward: enter a few keywords pertaining to a post you'd like to find.

The search process in Facebook's iOS app. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

As you begin typing in the search bar, Graph Search results will still auto-populate below it. The basic post search option being placed at the very bottom of the list. An easy way to identify a suggestion as being a post search is by the magnifying glass located next to the text.

By tapping on the query or the search key you'll be taken to a new screen returning any and all posts Facebook deems relevant.

A few tips to help you find what you're looking for:

  • Think keywords. As with Google search, sometimes the less you enter the better. In other words, don't go searching for something like: "that time when I was at the beach with James." Searching for "James beach" would more than suffice.
  • Entering a first name will narrow down the accounts included in the search; making it easier to limit the amount of results.
  • Results are not displayed in chronological order. Keep scrolling if you haven't come across what you're looking for.
  • Tapping on the settings button in the top-right corner when viewing search results will allow you to change the category of displayed results.

In my short time with the feature, I found it to surface posts I was looking for -- and then some. As of right now, I only have access to the feature on an iPhone, with the desktop version lagging behind in its roll-out (on my account, at least).

Facebook Graph Search is a powerful tool if you know how to use it. In that spirit, here are five tips and tricks to get the most out of it.