Is it possible to search for text in iBooks or the Kindle app? I'm deciding whether to buy electronic copies of some of my reference books, but I would only be purchasing them for the ability to search through the books for specific terms and words.

  • This should be two separate question, one for each app
    – mmmmmm
    Feb 15, 2014 at 19:46
  • No. When I tap my screen a row of thumbnails pops up, not that menubar you show.
    – user98626
    Oct 31, 2014 at 17:59

4 Answers 4


Yes, in both the iBooks and Kindle apps, you can search the full text (excluding text in images) of the book you are currently reading. Here's how to do that in each app:

iBooks app

While reading a book, tap the screen. A magnifying glass icon becomes visible in the top right, along with other controls. Clicking the magnifying glass icon brings up a search box. After entering your search term in the box, iBooks presents a list of results from the current book, underneath the search box.

image if iBooks search

Kindle app

Similarly, while reading a book, tap the screen. At the bottom a magnifying glass icon will become visible. It works much like the iBooks search feature.

image of Kindle.app search

What about searching across all books?

If you wanted to know whether you can enter a search term at the top-level of these apps and have them search across all books stored in the app: No, currently neither iBooks nor the Kindle app have such a feature.

However, I have seen this capability on the Kindle device itself – I own a Kindle keyboard model and there is a "search my items" option available that will search all books on the device for a given term.


The search function doesn't work on my ipad with the Kindle app - I've tried it with various books. The magnifying glass appears, but will only allow a search on Google and Wikipedia! There are up and down arrows available, but they are 'dulled and dead'. On the Kindle the search on the same books works fine.

  • It’s a bit confusing, but if you press the [Search] button, it searches the open book, while the buttons labeled “Google” and “Wikipedia” (as you discovered) search the named general services.
    – jackr
    Sep 14, 2018 at 21:34

If you are doing it on an iPad you need wifi I had it not work for me because there was no wifi.

When I tried but with wifi it worked. On a phone I also would suggest being sure there is wifi or data and bars.

This is for the kindle app I don't work with iBooks much.

  • sometimes you also have to change how you are searching for a thing in the top bar if you have weird wording or wrong spelling it doesn't work
    – tatya
    Aug 24, 2014 at 2:38

Easy. Convert all your Kindle books to epubs using Calibre. Store the epubs in their own folder. Search the directory at will.

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