How to Manage Search Engines in Firefox for iOS

Firefox iOS search engine
Getty Images (erhui1979 #503737790)

This tutorial is only intended for users running the Mozilla Firefox browser on the iOS operating system.

One of the areas where Firefox for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch stands out from most of its competitors on the popular Apple platform is search, where the combination of its Quick search feature and on-the-fly suggestions provides a robust experience typically reserved for desktop browsers. You can you submit your search keywords to Yahoo (the browser's default engine) through the address bar, functionality which has become commonplace among mobile and full-fledged browsers alike. However, you can also perform the same search via one of six other engines by simply tapping a conveniently placed icon that appears as soon as you begin entering your keywords.


Whenever you enter keywords rather than a URL in Firefox's address bar, the browser's default behavior is to use those words or terms to search the Web by utilizing Yahoo's engine as soon as you press the Go button (or Enter if you're using an external keyboard). If you'd like to use a different search engine, select its respective icon instead.

At the time this tutorial was published, the following alternatives to Yahoo were available: Amazon, Bing, DuckDuckGo, GoogleTwitter, and Wikipedia. As you can see, not all of these are traditional search engines. The Quick-search feature's diversity allows you to submit your keywords to shopping sites, social media outlets and even one of the Web's most popular collaborative encyclopedias. Firefox provides the ability to remove one or more of these options from its Quick search bar, as well as modify the order in which they are displayed.

This can all be achieved through the browser's Settings. To access, this interface first tap the tab button, located in the upper right-hand corner of the browser window and represented by a black number in the center of a white square. Once selected, thumbnail images depicting each open tab will be displayed. In the upper left-hand corner of the screen should be a gear icon, which launches Firefox's settings.

The Settings interface should now be visible. Locate the General section and select the option labeled Search. Firefox's Search settings should now be displayed, as shown in the example above.

The second section on this screen, Quick search-Engines, lists each alternative currently available within the browser. As you can see, they are all enabled by default. To remove an option from the Quick-search bar, tap on its accompanying button so that its color changes from orange to white. To reactivate it at a later time, simply press this button again.

To modify the order in which a particular search engine is displayed, first tap and hold the three lines found to the far right of its name. Next, drag it up or down in the list until it matches your order of preference.

Default Search Engine

In addition to modifying those found on the Quick-search Bar, Firefox also allows you to change which search engine is designated as the browser's default option. To do so, first, return to the Search settings screen.

At the top of the screen, in the Default Search Engine section, select the option labeled Yahoo. You will now see a list of available alternatives. Once you select your new choice the change will be made instantly.

Search Suggestions

As you enter search keywords into Firefox's address bar the browser has the ability to display suggested words or phrases that may be related to what you are typing. This can not only save you some keystrokes but also present you with a better or more refined search than the words you originally intended to submit.

The source of these suggestions is your default search provider, which would be Yahoo if you have not previously changed that setting. This feature is disabled by default and can be activated via the Show Search Suggestions option found on the Search settings page.