Last week I released Unread 2.6 with full-text search capabilities, a compact article list option for iPhone, and more. In this post I will describe Unread’s search capabilities in detail.

Search Syntax

Unread will look for articles containing all of the words in a specified search. For example if you search for cats dogs, Unread will find an article with the text cats and dogs. Each word is treated as a prefix, so Unread will also find an article with that text if the entered criteria is ca do.

If you put quotes around a set of words, Unread will find an article that contains the exact phrase. The last word in the phrase can be the prefix of a word. For example if you search for “cats and do”, Unread will find an article with the text cats and dogs.

Comfortable Navigation via Touch

Unread’s search capabilities fit well within its comfortable gesture-based navigation.

To initiate a search from an article list, swipe the screen to the left and select Search Articles from the resulting menu. Then start typing your search criteria.

Before entering search criteria, you can dismiss the search box by simply tapping the content area of the screen. After starting to enter search criteria, you can exit the search by swiping the screen to the left and selecting Cancel Search from the resulting menu. There is also a Cancel button next to the search box, but you do not need to use it when tapping the top of the screen requires an uncomfortable reach.

You can expand the scope of a search to all articles, as opposed to those for the article list you are looking at, by swiping the screen to the left and selecting Search All from the resulting menu. If you are on an article list to which the Hide Read Items setting applies, you can also toggle Hide Read Items from the swipe left menu.

If you scroll up just past the top search result, the text field will get focus and the software keyboard will appear again so that you can edit your search criteria.

Hardware Keyboard Navigation

If you use an iPad with a hardware keyboard, you can take full advantage of Unread’s search capabilities without ever touching the screen.

You can invoke a search from an article list by typing command-f or command-option-f. You can cancel a search at any time by typing escape or command-period. Extend a search to all articles by typing command-shift-a. Toggle Hide Read Items from a list of search results by typing command-shift-h.

While the keyboard focus is on the search box, you can select the first search result row by typing down arrow. Similarly you can move the keyboard focus back to the search box by typing up arrow when the first search result is selected.

Searching for Subscriptions

When on the list of subscriptions and folders, you can swipe left and select Search Subscriptions from the resulting menu. You can also use the command-f or command-option-f hardware keyboard shortcuts. Categories, folders, smart streams, and tags matching the search criteria will also be included in search results.

Webpage Text

When webpage text of an article is cached, that article is searchable based on both its webpage text and its feed text.

Honoring Low Power Mode

While indexing articles for search is done efficiently, it requires some amount of additional power. When a device is in low power mode, Unread will only index the article’s title, subscription title, and article list summary. This is faster and uses even less battery power, but is sufficient for most searches. After low power mode is turned off, Unread will index the full text of articles that arrived while the device was in low power mode.

If you have not done so already, you can download the newest version from the App Store.