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iPhone SMS/iMessage search doesn't take me to specific message

53105 Views 33 Replies Latest reply: Apr 10, 2014 2:38 PM by Bfergus1 RSS
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jamauai Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Feb 8, 2013 9:26 PM

The iOS text message search feature needs to be fixed. I can type part of a previously sent message in the iMessage app's search bar and see the actual message as an option to tap on. However once I tap it, I am taken back to the latest message in conversation view, NOT message I searched for. The same goes for searching via spotlight, nothing. I want to be directed to the actual message I am searching for (the actual position in the conversation where the message is located). Does anyone else have this problem? Is there a solution? Let me know.

iPhone 5, iOS 6.1
  • sberman Level 7 Level 7 (23,690 points)

    I'm quite confident there is no solution to achieve exactly what you're looking to do.


    Frankly, my guess is not many folks are looking for the feature you're describiing.  Certainly I personally would prefer to be sent to the latest message in the conversation rather than the one with the specific content I searched for.


    Having said that, if you would like to submit feedback to Apple, here's how:

    Apple Feedback

  • ChrisVandergaag Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    There absolutely needs to be a way to jump to a specific conversation position - it's next to useless having the phone jump to the end of the conversation - typically iPhones have a few long conversations stored (often requiring 100 or more taps of the "load more messages" button to scroll all the way through) rather than a lot of short ones. Searching a specific keyword returns specific results, so obviously the phone is capable of locating a specific position in the conversation - there just isn't a button to jump to it, as OP noted. If the queried text is behind the first "load more messages" wall, when you click the search result you just get taken to the end of the conversation♿. It basically teases you, telling you "yes, I can locate the text you want, but no, I won't take you to it".

  • Thomas Maroney Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    Actually I am another person looking for this feature. More and more work conversations are happening by text. It's maddening to see part of the message and then click on it and be taken to the most recent conversation. What is the point of being able to search for a message if you can't read the whole thing??


    It makes no sense that you would rather be taken to the most recent message rather than the one you were searching for. If I wanted to see the most recent message from someone, I would just pull their name up in the message app.

  • Grantthew Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I am also looking for this feature. For a while, I was convinced this was just a problem with my particular phone, but this post has confirmed for me that this is a major issue with iOS. This is definitly something that needs to be fixed. One work around is installing iMessage on a laptop computer and using spotlight to search for old text messages. On a laptop, the computer iMessage behaves the way I would expect the search feature to funciton. Hopefully this will be addressed in iOS7.

  • iMike53 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    "Frankly, my guess is not many folks are looking for the feature you're describiing.  Certainly I personally would prefer to be sent to the latest message in the conversation rather than the one with the specific content I searched for."


    With all due respect, why?  If you're going to have a feature available to search and preview old text messages, why would being sent to a completely different message, negating the search completely, be preferred?  That seems rather counter-intuative. 

  • iMike53 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I agree with you completely. My response was directed to sberman. I think it's a pretty obvious bug, quite frankly.

  • alison9000 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I am on an iPad but have the same problem and have found it completely frustrating since I first tried it several weeks ago.


    But just a few minutes ago, I tried searching for something that I knew was near the other word I needed to remember, thinking it would show up in the short preview without having to jump me to the actual message. (Sidenote: doubly frustrating is that it will find your string of text in the most recent word that contains it, and that's what you get to see, tough luck. So it needs a way to step through results like a Find in Page does.) I tapped the preview it gave me, and LO and behold, it *did* jump me to that message in the years-long conversation, darkening the blue of the specific message to highlight it! However, every attempt I've made to replicate that has been ignored the same old way everyone has experienced above, trapping me at the end of the conversation. What happened? I tried closing the app and reopening it, using the same and different search strings, but no luck.

  • maximelabellebete Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I agree with everyone sending enough messages to know how useless being taken to the conversation is useless.


    But I just found out thanks to the previous post why sometimes it highlights the searched message and sometimes it doesn't : it depends on wheter or not the searched message is readable without having to load more messages. And investigating a bit on this, I found that once you had found the conversation, you can tap a couple of times to a lot more load messages, without caring to read anything, go back to the spotlight, search again, and your message will be highlighted.


    Not ideal, I really hope Apple corrects this in iOS7 (da bomb BTW IMO), but does the job.


    Your welcome !

  • Code_Red Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    " Certainly I personally would prefer to be sent to the latest message in the conversation rather than the one with the specific content I searched for."


    I'm sorry but I totally disagree with your logic. I have text messages to my wife since I bought the iPhone, that's probably dozens if not hundreds of pages as we text each other at least twice a day. If I want to find something she said two months ago, taking me to the latest message is no help at all - I don't know if its ten pages back or 42. I have to read every text to find it? You might as well not bother with Spotlight text search, I can do that without it. The search doesn't even give a date to work with. A message count would be handy too.


    I can't believe Apple haven't fixed this yet - or given us a "delete all" option in Mail incidentally.


    I hope iOS7 fixes this - I could care less about Sir Jonathan Ives designed icons over basic functionality.

  • johnedlt Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have two working iPhones running the latest iOS 6.xx. I recall that search takes you to the exact message. My two phones still does but intermittently. Mostly it takes me to the end of the conversation. My conclusion: a big fat bug!!! The team should be more careful when they do their updates and thoroughly test everything.

  • vince2398 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I just tried it. If the text you're searching for in your messages is showing as the recent one, then it takes you to the exact message. To explain: you know how you have to tap "Load Earlier Messages" to show the older messages? The search will bring you to the exact message given that your searched text is recent and doesn't require the "Load Earlier Messages" to find it. Try it out for yourself to see. I believe this is where the entire problem lies. As others have said, I highly hope this is fixed in iOS 7...

  • vince2398 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Also on a related note: when you load the earlier messages in a specific conversation and then go back to all conversation view, and go back to that specific conversation, the earlier messages are "unloaded" again and you have to repeat tapping the button to load earlier messages. This is a minor flaw that should also be fixed.

  • Sevvy2020 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Funny thing is, I remember a time where tapping the text in the search results did take me to the specific text message and now it doesn't. This is completely useless as everybody else has already said. The whole point is I want to view the original message (knowing before searching for it who the sender was) and so being told 'the text you're looking for was sent by this person' which is in effect what the search results do by taking you to the end of the conversation - is NOT helpful. Fix fix fix. PLEASE.

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