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.

I've updated to Yosemite yesterday, and I noticed that Spotlight is not showing some expected results, i.e. files I know to be there, but it just doesn't find them if I type in their name and file type ("kind:excel vacation").

When I start typing in the Yosemite Spotlight window, it shows a small progress bar under the search box, but there's no estimate.


Is there another way to show the progress or an estimation on how long the indexing is going to take?

  • 2
    Yeah, this doesn't help if you don't see anything but the search field. No bar, no nothing.
    – uchuugaka
    May 19, 2015 at 6:46
  • 2
    El Capitan works the same as Yosemite, FYI. Click the Spotlight icon to display the search term entry window, then type something, anything. The Indexing… progress bar appears. See my duplicate Question for screen shots. Oct 24, 2015 at 18:24
  • Why do you need to see the indexing progress? Oct 29, 2015 at 16:40
  • 6
    Well, why not? I know that the shown time was not that accurate, but it was good to get some indication on the progress. Especially when setting up a new machine or after an OS update, since Time Machine backups will only start once the indexing has completed.
    – nwinkler
    Oct 29, 2015 at 17:13

2 Answers 2


From this page

To see whether Spotlight indexing is enabled for a volume:

mdutil -s -v /Volumes/volumename


    Indexing enabled.

Here are some other Spotlight terminal commands

This comment thread suggests that there is not a great way to get an estimated time to completion.

  • 31
    All that tells you is whether indexing is enabled or not.
    – Mark Reed
    Mar 23, 2016 at 17:37
  • 1
    The -v flag is slightly more helpful in that it provides the time of the last completed index.
    – Mattman
    Jan 31, 2020 at 18:08

type "indexing" into spotlight and the progress bar shows up as the first result.

  • 25
    You can type in anything, and it will show the indexing progress. I was asking whether there was another way to show this information. Like I said, in previous versions of OS X, the indexing status was shown as part of the Spotlight popup, without having to type anything.
    – nwinkler
    Dec 4, 2014 at 7:08
  • 14
    This Answer is not helpful. It duplicates the statement already made in the Question. Oct 24, 2015 at 18:27
  • No help at all. It just says "indexing" and doesn't give any progress.
    – HippoDuck
    Oct 26, 2017 at 10:17
  • It answers the question: "how can I show spotlight progress?". The topic doesn't say anything about estimate. It works as of 10.14. I searched for this question and found my answer here. So I don't see why this answer is not helpful, as it helped me. I'm confused. @user2924019, it does give progress. It's shown as a progress bar. Mar 31, 2019 at 4:41
  • 1
    Initially is doesn't show progress, just a pulsating progress bar. Allegedly if you wait long enough it does show a real progress bar, but I've not seen that yet...
    – ttt
    Apr 10, 2020 at 19:40

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