Spotlight search bar is no longer centered, how do I put it back?

  • 1
    Because you moved it there? Move it back.
    – jcaron
    Jan 31, 2016 at 14:25

4 Answers 4


Since El Capitan, you can move the Spotlight bar/window. Just click-and-drag it to wherever you want.

  • 2
    LOL. I feel stupid; ironically, I'm a computer science student - you'd think I'd have worked that out blush Thanks! Jan 31, 2016 at 14:32
  • 3
    For your defence, there's no obvious UI to show it can be moved, and it had a fixed position in previous versions of OS X (which was terribly annoying).
    – jcaron
    Jan 31, 2016 at 14:32

Click and hold the Spotlight icon on the menu bar, until the Spotlight window has returned to its original location.

  • 8
    Agreed, this is the correct answer.
    – pickles
    Dec 16, 2018 at 5:04
  • 1
    This is the right answer.
    – Omar Tariq
    Jul 8, 2019 at 14:07
  • 1
    My search bar had somehow jumped offscreen when I was doing some spaces management. This got it back without a restart/re-login.
    – Adam Evans
    Feb 8, 2020 at 13:41

The answer is two-fold.

Centering it horizontally: Drag the spotlight bar horizontally and you will feel a slight stickiness to a place. That is where you have centered it horizontally.

Centering it vertically: Similar to above, drag the spotlight bar, vertically and you will a stickiness to a place, and that's where you reach the vertical center.

  • 2
    Also force feedback clicks at stick points. Mar 4, 2020 at 13:50
  • 3
    Best answer if you don't have the spotlight icon in your menu bar.
    – MoOx
    Apr 20, 2021 at 4:53

Same answer as https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/225746/364510 with additional image to describe. Also you can drag-drop search bar to reposition it as you want. Note: When you move to original location vertically or horizontally it will stick a bit and force feedback will happen from touchpad (click sound).

enter image description here

Image credits: https://osxdaily.com/2016/10/18/move-relocate-spotlight-search-window-mac-os-x/

  • 2
    Thank you, I was going mad. I thought my Spotlight was broken, but it must've been just somewhere off screen and this fixed it.
    – fancy
    Jun 5, 2020 at 6:26

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