I would like to have Mac Spotlight avoid indexing volumes with the name prefix of "backup". As in "backupA", "backupB". and "backupXYZ123". Is there any way to use wildcard in Spotlight Privacy? As in, don't index "backup*"?

Now, as far as I can tell, Spotlight Privacy doesn't let to text-edit the names of things it isn't supposed to index. So it isn't even obvious how to specify "backup*".

I know you can use metacharacters in Spotlight searches, but I'd like to use them in Spotlight Privacy.

  • Where are those "Volumes" saved ? are those external disks or what ?
    – Ruskes
    Sep 20, 2018 at 19:39
  • 1
    mdutil [-pEsav] [-i on | off] volume ...
    – Ruskes
    Sep 20, 2018 at 19:59
  • Buscar is correct (if a bit terse...) the MDUTIL is the command line version of Spotlight. Google "mdutil usage" for more info. You could also plug in (or mount) the drives you are using for backup one at a time and just add them to Spotlight's exclusion list. The drives will be remembered even if they are unplugged/dismounted. Sep 20, 2018 at 20:58
  • Yep, we're talking about Volumes on an external disk. Now, I don't need mdutil. If I create a new "backupxyz" volume, I can just dive into Spotlight Privacy and tell it not to index it. The point is, I'd rather not have to do that. But yes, if I used a script to create that new volume, that same script could tell Spotlight not to index it. Now, could I do "mdutil -i off /Volumes/backup*"? That is, can I use a wildcard in a mdutil command?
    – user637
    Sep 20, 2018 at 21:02
  • Uh, no, a wildcard in an mdutil command for a mountpoint doesn't work. I get an "invalid path" error when I try it. That sucks.
    – user637
    Sep 20, 2018 at 22:19

1 Answer 1


You probably need some sort of script that monitors, when you create new "backupxy" to run the

mdutil and tell spotlight not to index it.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .