My spotlight index is completely broken. It can't find anything at all, every single thing I search for just returns 'no results'. Here's what I've tried:

  • Re-indexing spotlight through System Preferences. I added the Applications folder to the Privacy filter and then deleted it, but it didn't seem to help. Same with other folders that I tried.
  • Fixing disk permissions. Permissions weren't broken, so there was nothing to fix.
  • Re-installing Sierra. I was ready to lose all my data, I've got it backed up, but it kept all the data I had when I re-installed the OS. And spotlight is still broken.

I'm really confused, not sure where to go from here.

  • 3
    Have you tried killing SystemUIServer or manually rebuilt Spotlight with sudo mdutil-U /? – haykam Jul 22 '17 at 1:33
  • @haykam, thanks, I looked up mdutil, and the -i flag did the trick! – Srivathsan Jayaraman Jul 25 '17 at 1:21
  • Good to know! :) – haykam Jul 25 '17 at 5:25

For anyone who needs the solution, run

sudo mdutil -i off /
sudo mdutil -i on /

This forces a reindex.

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