There are many apps that have search over the names of the files but not all content in the files. It is very slow to test all apps such as iAnnotate, PDF Expert, Amazing PDF Expert and GoodReader. Which app search over all content in PDFs?

For non-PDF files and files without OCR, please, see

Search over different types of documents such as DjVU sometimes without OCR?

  • iOS's built-in Spotlight search doesn't work? (to search click the home button once more from the first app screen)
    – Nilloc
    Oct 19 '12 at 5:25

iAnnotate had the ability to search in all the pdf's That are in it's library (easily import from for instance Dropbox). It's also fairly fast in searching


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I use iOS devices such as iPad and iPhone to search over study materials in the picture. Things have changed and competition heating up: new Readle Docs and Adobe with its cloud. I am still testing but it looks like Adobe's softwares could be the best bet to handle its PDF format such as making things searchable.

It requires quite amount of computation power to add the OCR layer so I doubt the time when it is available in iPad. So I recommend to search in iPad and add the OCR layer in desktop unless some online OCR-layer-addition tool. I haven't yet found the latter thing.


I've written an app, Samurai Search, which searches PDF and text files on iPad/iPhone. It searches On Your iPad/iPhone, iCloud Drive or SMB/USB. It will always be free. Available from the app store.

Note Samurai Search was originally written for searching plain text files. I added PDF search due to a request. It uses the native iOS PDFKit, which isn't particularly speedy (and it doesn't do indexing).

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