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I tagged all my 3rd Party Applications with a tag called "Third Party" and then did a search in Finder for all applications with this Tag and saved the search. It seemed to work.

Then I noticed that some preference panes that were third party weren't included. So I removed the "Kind" search criteria and still no preference panes. I checked the Finder sidebar and there is a tag for "Third Party" and it does have the preference panes included.

I tried a new search with Kind = "macOS Preference Pane" but that returned nothing, even though I copied that from a 3rd part Preference Pane's Get Info window.

What is going on?

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    Are System files included in the search?
    – red_menace
    Sep 30 '20 at 1:15
  • I don't specifically include or exclude system files. When I do a basic search for Tags matches Third Party it does not return the correct number of items. If I have 50 items tagged like that I might have 40 returned. This undermines my basic faith in spotlight searching. Oct 1 '20 at 12:23
  • Spotlight itself is pretty good, most issues are usually related to what is in the database, since stuff needs to be indexed in order to look them up. System files (which would include preference panes) are not normally indexed since there are hundreds of thousands of them that are normally of no interest, and some other items may be excluded for privacy reasons. You might see if your results are better by including system files in the search.
    – red_menace
    Oct 1 '20 at 14:15

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