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Android 12 beta 5 finally brings the promised full device search feature

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

TL;DR

  • Months ago, Google touted a full on-device search function would come to Android 12. It’s now here with the fifth beta.
  • The search function can be accessed in the Pixel app drawer. It’s not clear where it will be on other Android skins.
  • Search queries earn results from all over the device, including contacts, settings, apps, files, and more.

On most Android phones nowadays, there’s a persistent Google search bar on the home screen. Using that, you can easily find all sorts of things all over the web, just as you would if you went to Google.com. However, it doesn’t show you results from a place you might want: the phone itself.

Google told us that a full on-device search engine would come to Android 12 at some point. Now, with the fifth beta launched today, we finally can see it.

See also: The full history of Android

On Pixel phones with Android 12 beta 5, you can access the new search feature within the app drawer. At the top of the drawer is a search bar that says “Search your phone and more” (see photo above). The results you’ll see from this location will not include web results, at least not by default.

It is not clear if this is also how it will work on Android skins, such as One UI or Oxygen OS. However, it’s likely it will be similar.

Here’s how the on-device search works in Android 12!

Android 12 on-device search

Searching with the on-device engine is very intuitive. First, you put in a query. As you type, results will pop up from all over your phone, including apps, files, settings, contacts, and more.

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Check out screenshots below of my search for “home.”

As you can see, the first thing it pulled up was the Google Home app, which makes sense. Next was one of my contacts which has the word “home” in it. There are two quick links there to text that contact or visit the full page.

Underneath, you can see the “Home” shortcut within Google Maps. Scrolling further down, you find Assistant routines with the word “home,” settings related to the word “home,” and more.

At the very bottom, there’s a link to search on Google instead. This would be useful if I was hoping to search the web with that search bar, but was in the wrong place. Rather than go to the proper search bar, I can just jump right to Google.

If you don’t like how many results this includes, you can always tweak them. Within Android settings is the “Search your phone” page at which you can turn search result sources on or off.

Since this is the final Android 12 beta, we don’t expect there to be too many changes for this feature between now and the stable launch. Get excited for this new useful tool coming to your phone soon!