I use textWrangler for all my text editing needs. I abhor textEdit. The problem comes when I search spotlight if I stop at text and hit enter then textEdit will launch. I want to remove textEdit from my spotlight without deleting the app itself.

I know I can keep a folder from being indexed. But I want a specific app/file to not be included.

And I know the simple answer is just "don't type text". But that isn't really an answer. I don't want to think to type.

5 Answers 5


Yes, you can exclude a specific application from Spotlight search results from its Privacy pane in OS X Yosemite.

Along with TextEdit I have TextWrangler and Sublime Text 2 installed under OS X Yosemite. If in Spotlight I type text the listed order is:

  • TextEdit
  • TextWrangler
  • Sublime Text 2

If I go to System Preferences > Spotlight > Privacy and drag and drop the TextEdit application bundle onto the list area of the Privacy pane and close System Preferences and go back to Spotlight and type text the listed order is now:

  • TextWrangler
  • Sublime Text 2

So, just do as I did and it solves your issue.

  • Thank you, I didn't realize I could add specific apps to it. And all of the other spotlight related questions I read either didn't suggest it or I didn't see this.
    – lilott8
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 18:18
  • 7
    Nice! This ability is hidden because it only works by drag & drop; clicking the "+" button won't pick an app. And it seems more important lately (due to El Capitan?) since Spotlight randomly promotes choices I don't use (like Launchpad) over the choices I do use (Lightroom).
    – Jerry101
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 5:20
  • 3
    I found that I couldn't select the apps themselves, so it seemed like it wasn't possible. But I was able to drag them and drop them into the little sliver of the Privacy pain that wasn't blocked by the file picker window, and it worked.
    – Mark
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 16:50
  • 2
    Spotlight takes a few minutes to update.
    – Robino
    Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 7:03
  • 1
    @Robino, You said, "Spotlight takes a few minutes to update.", and while that may have been true for you nonetheless, on my system the change appeared to be instantaneous. That is to say, it only took the time for me to close System Preferences and type the query in Spotlight and the results of the change was displayed immediately. That said, it's not unusual for timings to be different for everyone, as it depends on what else is is being processed on ones system at the time. Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 13:11

At least on Yosemite, it looks to me like Spotlight should learn by what you select. So that if you start typing text it will list several possible matches. For me it listed:

  1. Sublime Text 3
  2. TextEdit
  3. TextWrangler

Indicating Spotlight knows my preference for Sublime. I tried selecting TextWrangler instead, and on subsequent searches, TextWrangler was the first item.

Additionally, you could type tw to more specifically request TextWrangler

Note: I have used LaunchBar.app because it has always had these types of features. I think that I may have used LB during Mac OS X 10.0 BETA. I still use many of LaunchBar's advanced features, but when I am on someone else Mac, I find I get along quite well with just Spotlight.


You could move the textEdit application to an another folder (it can be a folder inside the Applications folder).

Then you add this folder under the Privacy tab in Spotlight preferences (inside System Preferences. You add the folder by clicking on the "+" in the Privacy tab and choosing the folder you placed textEdit in (it is also possible to drag-and-drop the folder into the Privacy tab).

Now Spotlight should exclude textEdit (and all other files/applications placed in that folder) from future searches.

If you need some screenshots on how to do this, please refer to this article: Link to article .


Couldn't you just type "wrang" instead?

Also, third party replacements like LaunchBar or Alfred would let you define what results appear first when you type your choice of text. These also let you blacklist some search results.

  • 5
    I would downvote, but don't have enough reputation, because I already addressed this very issue: And I know the simple answer is just "don't type text". But that isn't really an answer. I don't want to think to type. in my original question.
    – lilott8
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 17:49

This is an answer for the situation where you deleted an application, but it's still showing up in Spotlight searches.

Go to the Trash folder in Finder. Right click > Delete Immediately.

It will no longer show up in Spotlight.

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