How to Search WhatsApp

Looking for something in particular on WhatsApp?  Do you have so many contacts that it's difficult to find the one you want without scrolling through pages of names?  Was there something important that someone said in a group chat or private message, but you just can't remember where?  Have no fear!  Searching on WhatsApp is fairly simple, and you can do it in a variety of ways.

To search on WhatsApp:

Turn on your phone and launch WhatsApp.  Then, tap Calls, Chats, or Contacts. Tap the magnifying glass icon, and type in message text, a group name, or a contact's name or phone number.  You can also search for messages within a chat by opening the chat, tapping the three white dots, and then tapping Search.

Not enough to go on for you?  No problem!  Keep reading for an expanded set of instructions, complete with screen captures that illustrate how it's all done.

Detailed instructions for how to search WhatsApp

  1. Turn on your phone and tap WhatsApp to launch it.

  2. Tap the Calls, Chats, or Contacts category.  Then, tap the magnifying glass icon at the top of the screen.

    Start a general WhatsApp search

  3. Use your phone's (virtual) keyboard to type in something to search for.  For example, you can type in words that you're looking for in a text message that you sent (or was sent to you), or the name of a contact or group.  You can even search for a contact by typing in their phone number.

    WhatsApp searching and results

    Note that all three categories will allow you to search for contacts by name or phone number (as long as you have called them at least once or have an active chat with them), but only Chats will allow you to search for groups or text messages.

    Tap a result to see more information about it.  You can also tap the "X" beside the search box to clear your current search terms, or tap the arrow icon beside the search box to cancel your search.

  4. You can also search for all instances of certain letters or words within a particular chat (individual or group).  To do so, tap the Chats category, and then tap the individual or group chat that you wish to search inside.

    Selecting a WhatsApp chat

  5. Once you have the chat window open, tap the "More Options" icon (the three white dots) in the top-right corner, and then tap Search.

    Starting a search within a WhatsApp chat

  6. Use your phone's (virtual) keyboard to type in the words or letters that you are looking for within this chat.  As you do so, they will be highlighted in the main chat window.  You can use the up and down arrow icons to the right of the search box to look for other instances of your search terms within the chat.  You can also tap the back arrow icon to the left of the search box to cancel your search.

    Searching within a WhatsApp chat

    (NOTE: WhatsApp will only search for your terms from the beginning of words, which means that it won't pick up on characters or terms in the middle of words.  For example, in the screenshot above, if I searched for "st", WhatsApp would pick it up as the beginning of the name 'Steve', but not in the middle of the word 'test'.)

That's a wrap for our lesson on how to search in WhatsApp!