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Launch A Web Search In Safari From Other iOS Apps

In moving back to Safari as my main browser on every Apple device I own, I thought I should mention a hidden feature of Safari for iOS that I discovered a few months ago and that I remembered today thanks to a Twitter exchange between readers Jordan and Jerry.

On iOS, you can launch Safari directly in a web search page using this URL scheme:

x-web-search://?[query]

Where [query] is the text of your search query. Essentially, instead of having to launch Safari, tap the address bar, type your search query, and then tap Go, you can use an app like Drafts or Launch Center Pro to quickly type out your search query and send it to Safari, which will open a new tab for your search.

In Drafts (or any other app that lets you create custom URL scheme-based services like Launch Center Pro, Editorial, or Mr. Reader), simply create an action that sends the text you’ve typed to Safari’s web search. Here’s my action if you want to install it in your Drafts app.

The benefit of this search URL scheme is that it doesn’t care about the web search you prefer: it’ll continue to work based on the search provider that you pick in Settings > Safari, and, overall, it’s just a nice shortcut that lets you save a couple of taps every day.

As usual, make sure to percent-encode your query. If you use Drafts, the action above will do it for you.

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