Searchr (Free) by Luca Iaconelli is an app that allows you to search for anything everywhere, all from the convenience of a single hub. It’s similar to other apps like Phlo and Launch Center Pro, but it acts more like what the Spotlight will be in iOS 8. If you can’t wait until the public release of iOS 8 for this feature, and don’t want to put the betas on your primary device, then Searchr is worth checking out.
On my iPhone, I have been using Phlo for the longest, complete with the Mac app. For me, it’s fast, gives me results easily, and I can quickly change the source in searching from with simple gestures. Plus, the sync is very useful. I also use Launch Center Pro daily, on an hourly basis (or something along those lines), for quick actions and app launching. However, I’m always in search of new utility and productivity apps, so when I stumbled upon Searchr in the App Store, I just had to give it a try. And for what it’s worth, it works.
The interface for Searchr is very basic, which is good in this case, because you don’t want something that’s overly fancy without much substance. Searchr also fits in very well with the iOS 7 aesthetic, due to the flat toolbar, icons, light typography, and plenty of whitespace. At first, I was slightly confused on how things worked in the app at first, but it’s actually quite intuitive when you take a few moments and familiarize yourself with it.
The first thing you’ll see when the app launches is a brief little introductory tutorial. Just swipe through these screens for the basics, but again, you can pick it up on your own after exploring it for a minute or two. I wasn’t too fond of how some of these screens had light text on bright backgrounds, though — it made it quite hard to read.
Once you get started, the first thing you will be on is the Services tab. I recommend going through all of these and finding the services that interest you, or that you use frequently. All of the services and actions that you can use are organized by category, making it easy to find what you’re looking for. Searchr can also tap into your Reminders, Calendar, and Contacts, making it the one-stop-shop for all of your searching needs.
Tap on the action or service to select them so your search queries will include results from or with your selections. Also like Launch Center Pro, you can create your own custom actions with URL schemes, and even add an icon for easy recognition. What I really like about Searchr, though, is the fact that it includes services like Dropbox, so you can search for your files within the hub at the same time.
To begin searching, just jump over to the “Searchr” tab, and then type in the keywords you’re looking for. Searchr will give you a list of available actions that you can take, such as searching specific apps, the App Store, new tasks, reminders, or events with that text, creating a new message with that text automatically inserted, and much more. While taking actions with apps will result in you jumping to that app without automatically going back to Searchr (I’m assuming no x-callback-urls), web services (Google, eBay, Amazon, etc.) will open up in the in-app browser.
Now, what about files that you may have in Dropbox that show up in your search results? You can tap on them to bring up the Share Sheet with a wide variety of options. But you can also save the file to Searchr itself by tapping on the “Open In” option. You can take more action on a file by swiping on it to bring up contextual buttons for renaming it, or even deleting it from your source.
When you choose the “Open In” option in the Share Sheet, it will download directly into Searchr, and you can view it by going to the Downloads tab. If it’s a file type that is supported by Searchr, tapping on it will open it within the app itself. A swipe on downloaded files will also bring up a “More” button alongside the rename and trash buttons. Within the “More” button is the ability to upload the file directly to Dropbox, Google Drive, or Evernote.
Media can also be added to the Downloads section manually, though this is limited to your Photo Library. A trash button in Downloads will clear out all of your files with permission, of course.
Since Searchr is a free download, there is a catch — an ad banner at the top of the screen, underneath the header bar. While it does not intrude on the functionality of the app, it may get annoying if you just don’t like advertisements. You can remove the ads with a $2.99 in-app purchase from the Settings tab.
I’m not sure how long I’ll keep Searchr around on my phone for, as I am perfectly content at the moment with just using Phlo and Launch Center Pro for searches and actions. However, I do like how Searchr can go through your files too, which can prove to be very useful if you keep them in multiple services, so I think it’s worth checking out for that alone. It makes me think of a less complex version of Launch Center Pro — not necessarily a bad thing.
It’s a simple little app that serves its purpose, and since it’s free to download, I recommend giving it a try for yourself to see if it works for you. Get it on the iPhone App Store for free with in-app purchases.