TikTok is an infinite, bottomless pit of addiction, with each video algorithmically curated to your particular tastes and interests. With so many relevant videos scrolling past your face, it’s impressive that losing just one of them is such a tragedy. But it is; there is no pain greater than thoroughly enjoying a video, only to accidentally refresh your feed and watch it disappear forever. That is, unless you know how to find it.
For most of us, TikTok is a passive activity. You don’t go looking for videos; they come to you. However, if you’ve ever tried using the search option to find anything other than a specific creator, you might have had a rough time. There are simply too many videos on the platform to give you a chance at locating one video in particular, especially if that video has anything to do with a trending topic.
As it turns out, TikTok’s search field is capable of finding videos you’ve seen before; that capability is just a bit buried.
How to find videos you’ve seen before on TikTok
Here’s the trick; head to the Discovery tab, then tap the search bar. Search for a video you’re trying to find. Include as many keywords as you like, or can remember. Now, hit “Search,” but instead of looking through the options that appear, tap the two lines next to the search field.
This option allows you to refine your search with filters. The one filter we’re interested in is under Activity; “Watched videos, Within last 7 days.” This filter only shows search results for videos you’ve actually seen, which, if you’re like me, is a mind-boggling option. I didn’t even know TikTok kept track of those videos (we certainly aren’t privy to that information). Since they do, can we at least have a “Watched Videos” tab, please?
But I digress. I’ll give you a personal example. I accidentally refreshed an interesting video whose premise surrounded “one of the most interesting lake-related mysteries.” Okay, I’m intrigued, but the video is now gone forever and I lost my chance to watch it. Oh well, right?
Using this trick, I simply searched for “mystery;” of course, none of the results was the video I had wanted to watch. However, once I applied the filter, my video was the first one to pop up. It feels a little odd, after years of using an app that essentially erases these casualties of the refresh button from existence, but it really does work.
Now, credit where credit’s due! I stumbled upon this feature from TikToker @lateilla, who posted about the solution on her page. Lateilla acknowledges that the filter isn’t perfect, so you won’t find your video every time, but more often than not, you should see positive results here.