I am attending a meeting in a quiet room where everyone has a soft voice, and my mac decides to index for spotlight (the job is 'mds'), bringing the fan to 6200rpm. It's not too bad, just a bit distracting.

How do I tell mds that this is not the right time to do its job? Killing it to delay it could mean that it would choose to start a minute later.

Please note that this is not a case of initial indexing. I don't know (and I don't really care) why mds has a tendency to spend a lot of time not only after inserting a USB flash drive that the machine has not seen in a while, but also after removing that flash drive.

  • Welcome to the community. You are asking two separate questions here. Please take your secondary question and post it as a new one. Thanks Aug 26, 2011 at 14:43
  • All right.. I reworded the question.
    – Calaf
    Aug 26, 2011 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


To turn off Spotlight indexing for all mounted volumes:

sudo mdutil -a -i off

See the mdutil man page for other options.

  • 3
    ...and that doesn't abort ongoing mds tasks, but lets them finish gracefully -- nice. Thanks.
    – Calaf
    Sep 3, 2011 at 2:23
  • Will the process restart once I plug in my laptop power or restart the laptop? Feb 12, 2014 at 11:34

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