My work computer has a handful of personal applications that I store not in /Applications, and not in ~/Applications, but in another folder (/usr/local/data/Applications) for several reasons. However, despite this folder being within Spotlight's search index (it's not excluded from Spotlight's index), Spotlight doesn't find the apps there when searching.

Is there any way to address this? Does Spotlight have a preference list property for "list of directories that I know contain apps" or something?

  • Spotlight index issues are a common problem. Have you tried removing the specific folder(s), applying the change, then adding it back? That's Apple's suggested 1st step for Spotlight index issues.
    – fsb
    Sep 2, 2016 at 14:39
  • yes; and it didn't work. tuberdogg's answer seems like the right one. Sep 2, 2016 at 18:16

1 Answer 1


Based on a bug report filed with legacy-homebrew, it appears that even using the command line to tell Spotlight to index the /usr/local hierarchy doesn't work. Apple considers this a system directory and so it won't be indexed.

  • 1
    In the long thread there, one user suggests one could chmod /usr/local/whatever to make it not hidden and findable by spotlight, but I find that dubious -- /usr/local and its children (on El Capitain anyway) are already owned by me and are not hidden... and still hidden to Spotlight. Putting my personal data in /opt/local/data or something might be the best way around this problem. Sep 2, 2016 at 18:34

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