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

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48
votes
13answers
40k 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 ...
33
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
18
votes
11answers
56k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

How do so set “date added” metadata in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion

The Finder in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion shows a new piece of file metadata, "Date Added," which tracks the date an item was added to a folder. After upgrading to 10.7, none of the items in my ~/Downloads ...
14
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
12
votes
7answers
14k 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. ...
12
votes
6answers
12k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
12k views

How do I disable Spotlight?

How can I disable Spotlight completely on Mac OS X Lion? It's using up a lot of resources and I never really use it, so I want to disable it. The only feature I might want to keep is the icon in the ...
11
votes
5answers
12k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
13k 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 ...
9
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Why does Spotlight give a wrong value for `cos(pi/2)`?

As you might know, Spotlight can do simple mathematics. For instance, typing cos(pi) will result in -1, as you might expect. I just typed in cos(pi/2), which should be 0 but it gave me -5e-12. Yes it ...
8
votes
5answers
3k views

Why would you choose Alfred over Spotlight?

Mac OS X is already loaded with Apple Spotlight, why use Alfred? What does Alfred bring to the table that Spotlight doesn't?
8
votes
1answer
6k 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
11k 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. ...
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
5answers
4k views

Spotlight in upper right screen corner in Mountain Lion

In the System Preferences panel for Spotlight in OS X 10.8, it claims "Spotlight is located at the top right corner of the screen". On my system, this no longer appears to be true; the Notification ...
7
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

How to add folder to Spotlight “do not index”?

Is there any way to programmatically add a folder to Spotlight's "Privacy" tab? Either through Terminal or Applescript? Often I want to click on an item in Spotlight results in Finder, and have that ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

How to disable Developer and Web Searches in Spotlight?

Yesterday I upgraded to Lion and it seems it got some additions on Spotlight - the Developer and Web Searches groups. Sadly I couldn't find a way to disable them. There isn't an option in the ...
6
votes
1answer
101 views

Indexing words separated by underscores

When searching using Spotlight for, say, the word "Exotic", it fails to report the file Important_Exotic_Class.h, containing a C++ class by that name. Can you think of a method to make Spotlight ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I set Spotlight metadata to files?

I am looking for a command line utility (I need to use it in a script) that can set Spotlight metadata to files.
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
220 views

Trackpad (+ spotlight) semi-unresponsive, Mavericks on a 2010 MBP

Ever since I upgraded my 2010 Macbook Pro from Mountain Lion to Mavericks, an issue has been occuring at seemingly random moments. Without warning, my trackpad will no longer allow me to click or use ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

How do I open a file from Spotlight in Finder?

When I search for something e.g. a PDF file, in Spotlight and has i displayed in the search results list. How can I open the file in Finder? If I click on it, the file is opened e.g. in the pdf ...
5
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
507 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
529 views

If I use LaunchBar can I disable Spotlight?

If I use LaunchBar can I disable Spotlight? Does LaunchBar do all of its own indexing and never use the Spotlight database? Or does it rely on the Spotlight database for some of its search ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

Spotlight is broken on my main partition in OS X 10.7.4

Not long after updating my main OS X installation from Snow Leopard to Lion, Spotlight stopped working on that partition, and I'm desparately trying to get it working again. It will find no files for ...
5
votes
1answer
518 views

Make Spotlight indexing use less CPU?

Whenever spotlight begins indexing my files, my computer's fan starts spinning like crazy. Is there any way to essentially tell spotlight that it doesn't need to finish as quickly as possible, and ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Applications Don't Show Up in Spotlight

Spotlight has stopped showing any results for my Applications. I've tried reindexing and removing the index so it rebuilds it. No change. I've tried adding Applications to the Privacy tab and removing ...
5
votes
1answer
291 views

Why is mdfind only returning my most recently accessed files?

I've imported most of a javascript code base via mdimport (using the packaged SourceCode.mdimporter provided by Xcode) and it succeeds. However, mdfind only ever returns to me at most two results, ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

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

I recently upgraded to Lion. I also installed Microsoft Office 2011. In Spotlight, how do I now find in which folder a document is? It used to be that hovering the mouse over the doc would show the ...
4
votes
5answers
326 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
381 views

Decimal separator setting for the Spotlight calculator

I use the Spotlight calculator a lot but since the upgrade to OS X Mavericks the decimal pointer has changed to a , instead of the . as in a previous release. Probably it now respects some locale ...
4
votes
4answers
585 views

Spotlight, please don't show mail, but still let me search in Mail app

When I search for stuff, even constraining with name:whatIwant, the majority of results are old e-mail messages and Safari history items. How can I get rid of these results, but still search my email ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Disable Spotlight Index on 10.8 on Specific Volumes

To swtich off indexing in Terminal i use: sudo mdutil -a -i off This disables it with the -a swtich across all volumes and the -i off part turns "off" the indexing. If connected to my iMac is the ...
4
votes
3answers
335 views

Non-recursive spotlight search?

When using the Spotlight search at the top right of a finder window, I often want the search to be non-recursive, i.e. only look at files in that specific directory, not any directories within it. Is ...
4
votes
1answer
384 views

Delaying spotlight indexing to avoid the fan noise

I am attending a meeting in a quiet room where everyone has a soft voice, and my mac decides to index for spotlight (the job is 'mds'), bringing the fan to 6200rpm. It's not too bad, just a bit ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How do I change Spotlight search engine?

when I use Spotlight, it offers to "Search web for: " (something like that, my system is german). When I use this feature, Chrome pops up and searches with the Yahoo search engine. Chrome is the ...
4
votes
1answer
557 views

Does Spotlight normally index links in ~/Applications?

I have installed MacVim through homebrew, and this resulted in an alias in ~/Applications that points to /usr/local/Cellar/macvim/7.3-66/MacVim.app. Unfortunately MacVim does not show up in Spotlight ...
4
votes
2answers
120 views

Prevent Spotlight from indexing future hard drives

Using Mavericks, how can I prevent Spotlight from indexing all drives except my primary internal drive? In my work, I connect dozens of new drives every week, and I do not want the .Spotlight-V100 ...
4
votes
2answers
175 views

Disable dictionary results in Spotlight?

How can I remove dictionary results from Spotlight results? I've typed "chrome" into Spotlight and looked up chrome in the Dictionary one too many times, and now opening Chrome takes an extra ...
4
votes
2answers
284 views

Is there a way to provide a sort order to an mdfind query?

In trying to get a list of all music files from a particular album using mdfind I see that the files aren't necessarily returned in any order. I'd prefer album/track order if possible, but can't find ...
4
votes
5answers
8k views

Lion not searching SMB volume

I just upgraded to Lion on my work computer and it seems like Spotlight doesn't index SMB volumes. This used to work for me perfectly under Snow Leopard. I've talked with Apple and they said it was ...
4
votes
1answer
620 views

Xcode doesn't show up in spotlight results, neither search results

I haven't noticed exactly when it happened but previously I was always using spotlight to run Xcode. Now if i'm typing "Xcode" in it, only folders containing this name show up, or some xcode projects, ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is OS X indexing *again*?

For some reason, OS X thinks it's a good idea to reindex my entire hard drive (which takes it a few hours) about twice a week. This is really getting annoying, especially since it does this on ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Spotlight, infinite indexing, secondary drives, and NAS

I have several Mac OS X 10.5.8 editing bays, each with at least one additional internal drive, most sized 500GB-1TB. All Macs are also sharing a NAS Isilon cluster 100TB (nfs mount) for shared media ...