Questions about Spotlight, a system-wide desktop search feature of Apple's OS X and iOS operating system.

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85
votes
13answers
90k views

How to stop OS X from writing Spotlight and Trash files to memory cards and USB sticks?

When plugging a USB stick into a Mac, OS X creates a number of hidden files on the stick, including a Spotlight index and Trash folder. Example from the terminal for a USB stick "Untitled": $ ls -a /...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I have Spotlight Comments actually get indexed by Spotlight?

I'm running the latest OS X (10.8.1). Yesterday I discovered the Spotlight Comments feature, so I went through many of my Applications and put useful comments in that field. For example, on Music ...
19
votes
11answers
67k views

How to fix slow Spotlight and Time Machine after upgrading to 10.7.5?

Since updating to 10.7.5 both Spotlight and Time Machine are very slow. To index a normal system drive Spotlight calculates to need several days. As a result Time Machine takes up to an hour or more ...
39
votes
3answers
11k views

How to place Dictionary definitions higher up in spotlight results

I used to use spotlight fairly frequently to quickly look up words in a dictionary. With Lion, I've noticed that my dictionary results have dropped down much lower in the list of results: I'd like ...
16
votes
6answers
55k views

How Can I Search A Specific Type of File in Mac?

Is there any way to search a specific type of file using Spotlight? I remember there was a special command or something that I had to put in front of the search phrase but I cannot remember it now. ...
27
votes
7answers
12k views

Can I make a symlink (to a .app folder) in Applications directory show up in spotlight?

I used brew to install MacVim and it put it in /usr/local/Cellar/macvim/7.3-61/MacVim.app I would like to be able to go to spotlight and type MacVim to launch the app. I tried creating a symlink in ...
13
votes
7answers
18k views

Why does Spotlight keep reindexing my system after updating to Lion?

Since I installed Lion, the Spotlight database keeps reindexing (which is taking several hours). It does this at least every second day. Are any other users experiencing this problem with Lion (i.e. ...
20
votes
7answers
25k views

Spotlight reports “Indexing and searching disabled” in Lion

Lion keeps "losing track" of Spotlight information. Directories and Applications disappear, full text searches stop working, etc. I seem to need to re-index it once a week or so. However, now it ...
12
votes
1answer
18k views

Spotlight indexing appears stuck, what can I do?

My Spotlight index got corrupted, preventing me from searching messages in Mail.app. I added my HD to Spotlight's privacy list to delete the index. I then removed it from the privacy list so Spotlight ...
12
votes
2answers
31k views

Is there a way to show Spotlight indexing status/progress in Yosemite?

In previous versions of OS X, you could click the Spotlight icon in the menu bar to show the status of the Spotlight indexing, and it would show an estimate ("6 hours left"), along with a progress bar....
4
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I make spotlight ignore certain file types and directories?

Since spotlight continuously updates the index, sometime the file precedence gets changed around and I might type in "saf" and press return expecting to get Safari, but instead spotlight attempts to ...
6
votes
4answers
18k views

How do I search all hidden files that are in hidden folders using Terminal?

I need to find some configs buried in some hidden folders and can't recall where they are to navigate to them directly Cmd+Shift+G. I did a sudo find -name Foo* (slow), but none of the returned files ...
35
votes
3answers
21k views

How do I hide the Spotlight icon on Yosemite, but keep the Spotlight functionality?

I use Spotlight in OS X, and I have long disliked its attachment to the menu bar. Now, in Yosemite, Spotlight shows up as an overlay in the middle of the screen when summoned, much like other ...
12
votes
2answers
65k views

New iOS9 Spotlight search not finding contacts

I've just upgraded to iOS 9, and the new Spotlight search isn't finding contacts for me - it sometimes finds contacts, but not the one I'm searching for. I've turned off every app in Spotlight search,...
12
votes
5answers
5k views

How do I make Spotlight stop indexing my Backup drive?

I have a 2TB external drive I use for Time Machine. At random intervals, it will decide to spin up and my entire UI freezes until it's finished. This is incredibly annoying. It appears that this is ...
10
votes
6answers
5k views

In Spotlight search results, how do I find which folder contains a specific file?

In OSX Spotlight, how do I find in which folder a document is? It used to be that hovering the mouse over the doc would show the folder. I miss that functionality!
5
votes
7answers
471 views

How to search LaTeX -documents in Spotlight?

I have reproduced the problem now also in El Capitan with new components (motherboard, 3x SSD) in my Macbook Air 2013-mid. I have had clean installation of OS X (El Capitan, Yosemite) while doing the ...
28
votes
9answers
99k views

Removing news headlines from Spotlight Search in iOS 9

How can I turn off news headlines from Spotlight Search in iOS 9?
15
votes
5answers
25k views

Searching by file name (as opposed to name and contents) in Lion

In earlier versions of OSX, when you search in a Finder window, it gave you the choice of searching by contents or file name. In Lion this choice seems to have disappeared, I can only search by ...
8
votes
5answers
7k views

Is it possible to run commands from spotlight?

I run commands in terminal a lot and i'm wondering if it is possible to run the commands from spotlight. For example in spotlight would like to run the command(because i have a lot of network issues):...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

How to locate a file in Spotlight using folder and file name?

I often want to navigate to a file or folder that does not have a unique name. Instead, the parent folder in combination with the file or foldern name makes it unique. Here are a few examples: I ...
2
votes
3answers
970 views

Spotlight: Don't Index a Volume

Is it possible to ask Spotlight to not index a volume ?
8
votes
2answers
286 views

Spotlight overrides first character

What's wrong: I hit CMD+SPACE to open up spotlight, typically type in the name of the application I want to start, hit enter and either the wrong app or no app at all will start, because the app name ...
3
votes
1answer
554 views

Prevent automatic removal of the Spotlight index due to low disk space

I am guessing that when disk space runs low, it automatically deletes the Spotlight index to make room for virtual memory. Then when space becomes available it reindexes. But I'm not sure about that. ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

How long should Lion take to set up Spotlight?

I updated my Mac from Snow Leopard 10.6.8 to Lion. Everything went well. The computer restarted when the OS setup finished. Now, Spotlight setup has been running for more than two hours. Is something ...
53
votes
2answers
80k views

mds and mds_stores constantly consuming cpu

mds and mds_stores are constant CPU consumers even when I think nothing should have changed on the hard drive. activity monitor I have a circa 2009 Macbook Pro. Lots of software installed over the ...
28
votes
8answers
87k views

How to eject my external drive when my Mac refuses because of Spotlight?

I have plugged an external disk to my Mac. Now, I want to eject it. But my Mac stubbornly refuses and says that an application may be using the disk. I have not launched any app neither opened any ...
15
votes
1answer
9k views

Adding tags to files in OS X: How to use, where are tags stored, and will they work on a network?

I've heard it is possible to add tags to a file's meta data in OS X, and have Spotlight search through such tags. In a nutshell, how would one access this feature in Finder – not Spotlight (...
18
votes
7answers
6k views

How can I create a Saved Search that excludes a specific folder from the results?

I'm trying to set up a Saved Search of my Mac that will exclude files in a folder called 'XYZ' from the search results. The reason is because I'm getting a ton of false positives from that folder that ...
10
votes
2answers
8k views

Removing spotlight icon from menu bar persistently

I tried to remove spotlight form the menu bar with the following trick: sudo chmod 600 /System/Library/CoreServices/Search.bundle/Contents/MacOS/Search killall SystemUIServer Unfortunately if I ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Locating an app by its bundle identifier from the command line

I am looking for a way to find an app's location on the system from the command line using its bundle identifier. I can open it like this: open -b 'com.zerotier.ZeroTierOne' ... where com.zerotier....
9
votes
1answer
2k views

How to ensure that spotlight indexes my entire drive?

Spotlight, is a fantastic tool. Took some years, but now I use the command line tools and it's awesome. However today, I found that spotlight does not index /System (!) I'd like spotlight to index ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does my Spotlight index get corrupted?

Recently I have been having an issue where at least once a month my Spotlight index gets corrupted, and I can no longer search the content of mail in Mail.app. I can fix the problem by taking my HD ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Search file duplicates in OSX by hash

I am looking for a way to search for a determinate file in OSX (Maverick but more generally OSX). In particular I would like to do the following: given a File_001 I'd like to search if in the ...
4
votes
5answers
3k views

Can spotlight be reset when it misbehaves, is wrong or constantly indexing?

On my 4-month old mid-2012 MacBook Pro I observe that Spotlight seems to want to ALWAYS re-index. I frequently notice that the performance will get unbearably slow and I can hear the hard drive ...
4
votes
1answer
662 views

Find symbolic links (’s names) with Spotlight (Finder)

underwhelmed by the fact that OS X’s Aliases got really big with Mountain Lion (Lion?) I basically switched to using symbolic links instead. Now I’m just learning the hard way that Spotlight (or, ...
4
votes
2answers
168 views

how can I search for folders ending in certain characters in Finder?

Executing a Finder search for folders seems limited to searching for folder names beginning with the search term. I can't search for folder names only using a characters in the middle or end. I'm ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

How to isolate processes that evoke insane mds_stores disk read activity?

I have an interesting situation where when I monitor my disk activity, I find that mds_store is continually running between 1 to 35 megabytes per second (averaging around 3-5 MB/s) on the read and ...
3
votes
1answer
530 views

.app extension in Spotlight or Alfred

I would like to have all applications names displayed without the .app extension in Spotlight or Alfred. Reeder for example is listed as "Reeder", whereas Sparrow is listed as "Sparrow.app". Which ...
1
vote
4answers
723 views

Spotlight search returns no results on iOS (intermittently)

I'm on 8.0.2 but it happened on 8.0.0 too. Spotlight just won't show anything no matter what I type.
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Can you get SL “Today” folder behavior in Lion?

Snow Leopard had a default smart folder called "Today". This folder was awesome! All "Open" dialog boxes could easily display all of the files you've worked on "Today" (which are probably the ones you ...
7
votes
1answer
11k views

See progress of Spotlight re-indexing in El Capitan [duplicate]

Other Questions and Answers address how to check the progress of Spotlight rebuilding its index, previous to El Capitan: Click the Spotlight menu. The menu/panel that appears reports a progress bar if ...
4
votes
2answers
7k views

iOS9: configure spotlight news suggestions

When I swipe left from the first page of my home screen, iOS 9 brings me to the spotlight screen. There I can see Siri suggestions and news. Is there a way to configure which news are showed in this ...
4
votes
5answers
398 views

How useful is spotlight?

Personally, I am happy with Spotlight in the sense I just use it for finding something. But, I'm also not happy with Spotlight, as I sometimes feel it slows down my Mac pretty much. Even, I can find ...
3
votes
1answer
658 views

Spotlight won't find apps after AppStore updates them

This started happening with Type2Phone, an app from Houdah Software. Every time after I would update the app via the AppStore, Spotlight would no longer find the app (I use Spotlight for app launching)...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Is “All My Files” slow because of my git and svn repos?

All My Files is often painfully slow, long beach ball spins when I open a new finder window. The thing is I actually like it... and I'm wondering if perhaps it's because of all my GIT and SVN repos (...
2
votes
3answers
563 views

Mac Dictionary improvements

I tend to use the dictionary a lot on the mac. Its annoying to launch the app everytime i need to lookup a word. Are there any other apps/hacks to avoid this annoyance? Spotlight lookup is awesome, ...
2
votes
2answers
979 views

Exclude files from “central metadata store”

I'm fairly familiar with the mdfind utility. I find it's very useful when I can't find a file or when I need to find a file with certain contents. The problem is that I need to exclude some files from ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

How to create a spotlight search for all files inside a folder?

In Lion, you have All My Files to search everything in your home folder. However, when you activate finder's spotlight, via command + F you can start searching only by first typing something. How can ...
2
votes
1answer
424 views

Spotlight preview broken in Yosemite

I recently discovered this nice little spotlight feature in that you can convert a number of bytes into a human readable format. E.g you can type 2147483648 bytes and it will give the corresponding ...