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
88k 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 /...
53
votes
3answers
76k 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 ...
38
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 ...
32
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 ...
32
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
26
votes
8answers
84k 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 ...
25
votes
6answers
11k 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 ...
24
votes
9answers
85k views

Removing news headlines from Spotlight Search in iOS 9

How can I turn off news headlines from Spotlight Search in iOS 9?
21
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
20
votes
7answers
24k 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 ...
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 ...
19
votes
1answer
8k views

Why is there a web process active even if Safari isn't opened?

I noticed that even when Safari is closed, many web processes are active, and these processes are active even when I just restarted my Mac. Actually, I noticed that this process is in the Spotlight ...
17
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 ...
17
votes
5answers
14k views

Is it possible to switch Spotlight in OS X to using Google?

Spotlight (in Yosemite) has the ability to search the web. However, this only works with Bing. Is it possible to switch it to using Google?
16
votes
6answers
53k 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. ...
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 ...
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 (...
14
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
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. ...
12
votes
3answers
19k 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 ...
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
64k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
30k 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....
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!
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 ...
10
votes
1answer
5k 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 reader,...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

How to programatically 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
4k 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?
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 ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Spotlight makes repeated http requests

I'm running Little Snitch and every time I open Spotlight to find something it makes a bunch of http requests out to various websites, some I've visited in the past some I've absolutely no idea about. ...
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 ...
9
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
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
3answers
6k views

Disable Spotlight Index on 10.8 on Specific Volumes

To switch off indexing in Terminal I use: sudo mdutil -a -i off This disables it with the -a switch across all volumes and the -i off part turns "off" the indexing. If connected to my iMac is the ...
8
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
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):...
8
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
269 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 ...
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
3answers
7k views

How to exclude Mail messages from Finder search?

I want to exclude Mail messages from showing up in Finder search. ->FINDER, NOT SPOTLIGHT<- I have asked this question on other platforms, and I have found the emphasis is very necessary. Yes, ...
7
votes
2answers
292 views

Typing 'paral' into Spotlight suggests 'Pages' instead of 'Parallels Desktop' - how to fix?

If I type any of these in Spotlight (Yosemite): par para parall parallel etc Parallels Desktop is suggested as the program to launch - which is what I want. However - if I type 'paral' - what you ...
7
votes
1answer
10k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
6k views

Why is “Spotlight Web Content” using so much VRAM and CPU?

Why is “Spotlight Web Content” using so much (32.56 GB) virtual RAM and CPU (up to 122.41% apparently)? More interestingly, how can I prevent it from doing so? I am running this MacBook Pro with 4GB ...
7
votes
2answers
972 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

Move Spotlight dialog in Yosemite

Don't hate me but I love using Finder's spotlight feature. In Yosemite they changed Spotlight (I like the changes) but they moved the spotlight dialog position to the center of the screen. I want to ...
6
votes
4answers
17k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
975 views

How to search for .zip files instead of all compressed files?

How do you search for a file of a specific type in OS X Yosemite? I cannot seem to find any instructions on how to do this. In the Finder search I enter: kind:zip But it returns all compressed ...
6
votes
6answers
13k views

Why does Spotlight in Mavericks not show the location of search results?

With Mountain Lion, the following was working: Search for a file type and name, e.g. to find all Excel sheets named Foo: kind:excel foo This would show all Excel sheets where the name includes Foo ...
6
votes
5answers
6k 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 ...