Search has a feature: enclose any specific phrase you're looking for in "quotes", and it will search for that exact phrase.

However, that operator only works with "straight quotes", and not “smart quotes”.

Ordinarily, on a desktop computer keyboard as well as on most Android devices, this isn't really an issue, since the keyboard will type straight quotes whenever the quote key is pressed. However, the iOS keyboard types smart quotes by default: to type a straight quote, one must tap and hold as if typing a special character.

This can result in strange "bugs" when iOS users attempt to use exact phrase search, only to have their query somehow fail to work even if it would work right on a different device.

While some may argue that "this is a fault of iOS, not SE; this can be fixed in the settings, etc.", I think a workaround should be implemented in SE, because some non-iOS users may have special keyboards, plugins, or browser features installed that convert straight quotes into smart quotes. Also, the two types of quotes are difficult to discern on first glance, which brings up accessibility issues.

Can search please recognize “smart quotes” the same way as it does "straight quotes"?

  • 5
    This is a decent question. As someone who uses smart quotes regularly on all of my macOS and iOS devices, I see the use of smart quotes as growing and not receding. And while I know some search engines and core logic simply is coded to work with straight quotes, I don’t see why a text pre-filter can’t be set/created to simply swap all smart quotes to straight quotes before it hits the search engine logic. Dec 21, 2019 at 16:45

1 Answer 1


Thanks for the suggestion. This has been fixed. “Smart Quotes” in the search box will now be treated identically as "Regular Quotes".


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