I recently updated my my Mac from a Macbook Pro 2013 Retina to a Macbook Pro 2017. In the process, I moved from Sierra to High Sierra OS.

The most annoying thing about this transition has been the loss of a quick navigation to the applications folder. I used to be able to bring it up with Cmd + space for spotlight, and type "App" and the Applications folder was the first result.

Now, it's a crap shoot if the folder will be in the results for "App" at all. To get it to reliably be the top result, I have to type all the way out to "Application" or even "Applications". (The horror!)

How can I change this behavior to have what I want at the top of the list? Is there a specific setting change I can make to Spotlight? Or is it just a matter of patient retraining?

I saw this question Spotlight search results priority from 2015 and OS X 10.9 that suggests modifying the filters and also states that there are no options provided for changing the priority. Is that still the case?

  • Might I suggest using Alfred, Launchbar, or Quicksilver as alternatives to spotlight to have more customization for priority? Alfred for example will rank results you search as you choose an option more and more.
    – Jahhein
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 3:27

1 Answer 1


I ran into the same problem. What worked for me was to use command-space to begin the spotlight search, type in the characters to search for, then clicking on the app I want to be the first in the list. For example, if I type just a "t", the textEdit app was the first choice, but I wanted the terminal app to be first. After clicking on the terminal app in the list, the next time I typed just "t", the terminal app came up first!

  • 2
    The "most used response" is not completely reliable. For years, Cmd-Space saf would give me Safari as the top choice. Recently, it switched to giving Parental Controls (!?) as the top choice. Which is strange, given that other than to disable it when first getting the Mac, I have not opened Parental Controls. Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 17:42

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