Suppose you have two family members using the same computer, each with their own user account (Jack and Jill).

  • Jill opens a page in her Safari browser (in her user account) for say: "Pregnancy test". Then she logs out of her user account.

  • Jack then does a search in Spotlight for "test" in HIS user account ... and up comes the page "Pregnancy test" that Jill viewed. One cannot actually view the web page, but the full http://address is given.

In other words, you can spy on what other users on your computer have viewed on the internet. Surely this is a bug, or an invasion of privacy ..., and not the intended behaviour!?

More importantly, can I set up my Mac to stop Spotlight searching other user accounts?

I am running Mac OS X 10.9.5 (Mavericks) with Safari 7.1.6.

1 Answer 1


If it is a bug rather than a setting, it's never going to get fixed in a 2-year-old OS, only in some future update.
It still does it in Yosemite, btw, just tested.

You could add all other users' home folders to the Privacy tab in Spotlight prefs - but this, of course, would require the complicity of each user.

  • Do you mean: (i) In the Jack account, adding Jill's folder to the Spotlight Privacy setting? or (ii) In the Jill account, adding Jill's folder to the Spotlight privacy setting. Method (i) does not work if the Jill account is encrypted. Method (ii) works. i.e. in the Jill account, Jill would have to specify that her UserAccount should be barred from Spotlight. That, of course, is rather severe, for it prevents SpotLight from working in the Jill account itself.
    – wolfies
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 13:42
  • You add the other users to each Privacy pane, not the current user. You would have to do it separately for each user. As I said, it requires all the users to be complicit, it cannot be forced on another admin user.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 13:47

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