In Spotlight, you can set what types of items you want to be indexed and searchable. Most of the options are fairly straightforward: "Contacts" searches your contacts, "Images" for images, and so on. However, there are two options that I don't understand: "Other" and "Developer".

Spotlight Search Preferences

The Search Results panel is rather fine grained. Why is there, what I'm guessing to be, a catch all option with "Other" and what does it catch? Similarly, what does the "Developer" option index?

I looked in the "Spotlight preferences" page of the "Mac Help", but from what I can tell, it doesn't detail it. In fact the "Narrow the scope of your searches" topic details everything but those two options under the "Search by the type of items" section:

Type of item        Keyword
Apps                kind:application

Contacts            kind:contact

Folders             kind:folder

Email               kind:email
                    kind:mail message
                    kind:mail messages

Calendar events     kind:event

Reminders           kind:reminder

Images              kind:image

Movies              kind:movie

Music               kind:music

Audio               kind:audio

PDF                 kind:pdf

Preferences         kind:system preferences

Bookmarks           kind:bookmark

Fonts               kind:font

Presentations       kind:presentation
  • I imagine that when you install XCode it will index your projects, documentation and other things associated with developing on your computer and "other" is simply everything that macOS does not recognize as fitting into any other category. – Steve Chambers Aug 23 '17 at 16:09
  • Can you find any items that show up if you only search that one item? I could answer generally if so. If not, we might need to wait for someone to do that work (or just know the answers) – bmike Aug 23 '17 at 18:34
  • @bmike See my answer. I added images showing what shows up in each category as well as some observations. If you would rather me move that content to the question, I can; but I made it an answer since it sort of answers the question. – zero298 Aug 23 '17 at 18:55
  • Great answer. I’ll edit in some tips that might help more – bmike Aug 23 '17 at 19:11

This is sort of a half answer, half response containing observations and guesses in response to bmike's comment.

It looks like the "Developer" option is for files that macOS considers to be development related files. For example, I searched for .h, .html and .m files and they were listed under the "Development" category:

Developer Files

"Other" must be for anything that macOS can't make a good guess at. For example, I searched for .json files and actual .json files showed up under "Developer". However, files that had unknown or missing extensions showed up under "Other":

Other Files

I'm still not sure of the complete criteria that macOS uses to discern what files fall into what category. Additionally, it looks like Spotlight won't even try to display a preview of files in the "Other" category even if they are textual.


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