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To preface, I'm not a developer, and I had a MacBook Pro previously for many years which did not do this, which is why I'm looking for a solution.

Currently, whenever I search anything in Finder, I am overloaded with thousands of files (.h, .str, .xml, res, .py, .css - and the list goes on) which make searching for anything completely redundant because I'm now trying to locate what I searched for in a sea of completely irrelevant files.

I'm not sure when or how my Finder started showing these files, but it wasn't when I bought it. I also had a MacBook Pro 2013 and 2019 before the M2 that didn't do this, so clearly something I installed or changed made this happen.

I'm not going to delete these files, obviously, but I need some way to stop this happening or remove them from search, the current detriment to my workflow is huge.

They aren't hidden files either, just to clarify. Many of these are coming from the Applications folder and within the program files of multiple programs, but not all of them. I've tried hiding Developer files from Spotlight with a spoofed Xcode app which didn't work.

Thank you.enter image description here

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    If you control click on that net.maxon.nodes file, show it in the enclosing folder. What’s the oath to that one file? You should be able to start narrowing down what location these are and understand if you installed them as part of an app or they are part of the system. I don’t see a single file I recognize as actual macOS native file so I’m guessing you installed each and every one of these…
    – bmike
    Sep 16, 2023 at 12:24
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    Searching inside your home folder vs searching the entire machine is probably a good idea. Sep 16, 2023 at 15:16
  • @bmike Thanks for answering Mike. I understand where you're coming from, and I agree / am aware that most or all of these aren't macOS native files. They're mostly from Applications like Maya, Cinema 4D, and others. The issue comes from the fact I have had these softwares on previous MacBooks and never had these files showing in search. It's not a normal consequence of having them installed. Some of the files are in the Application folders, so hiding /Applications from Spotlight reduces but doesn't eliminate these from search. Something else happened for these to be included in my searches.
    – Arv
    Sep 17, 2023 at 9:18
  • I believe this is a fix to a bug that suppressed these files from search. I’ll need to test a bit to be sure. The files do exist, they are indexed, they should be shown. Apple may have decided that it’s up to us to restrict the search as needed with kind: or location filters and not to decide if a file within a bundle or app should be hidden by default. Why not search in your documents or your iCloud folder if you only want “alpha” files you created? The “this Mac” search should be exhaustive IMO and I’ve filed bugs in the past to that effect.
    – bmike
    Sep 17, 2023 at 13:23

1 Answer 1

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Given the behaviour has changed between devices and, maybe, macOS versions, be sure to tell Apple about this regression.

You can try rebuilding the Spotlight index and/or excluding the problematic applications.

Rebuild the Spotlight Index

Apple recommend rebuilding the Spotlight index:

If you get unexpected results when searching your Mac, rebuilding the Spotlight index might help.

macOS Ventura or later

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Settings.
  2. Click Siri & Spotlight in the sidebar, then scroll down and click Spotlight Privacy on the right.
  3. Drag the disk or folder that you want to index again to the list of locations that Spotlight is prevented from searching. Or click the add button (+) and select the disk or folder to add.*
  4. Folder named Documents dragged into the Spotlight Privacy window
  5. From the same list of locations, select the disk or folder that you just added. Then click the remove button (–) to remove it from the list.
  6. Click Done, then quit System Settings. Spotlight will reindex the contents of the disk or folder. This can take some time, depending on the amount of information being indexed.

Exclude from Spotlight

If these files are within specific applications, add those applications to the Spotlight Privacy list:

Exclude locations from Spotlight searches:

  • To exclude a location from Spotlight searches, click the Add button , then select a folder or disk. You can also drag folders or disks into the list.
  • To include a location in Spotlight searches again, select the folder or disk in the list, then click the Remove button .

If you exclude a Time Machine backup disk, you continue to receive messages that Spotlight is indexing it. This indexing is necessary for Time Machine to function properly and can’t be turned off. Spotlight does exclude from searches items stored on the backup disk that aren’t part of a Time Machine backup.

Important: If you exclude certain files and folders, you may not be notified when updates become available for some apps. If you exclude your entire internal disk, you won’t be notified about any updates.

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  • This works perfectly well. But... What if we don't know which app files are from? I get the same problem as the OP and there are many files for which I have no idea which app is using them. Do you know a way to know the app from which files are from?
    – Thinkr
    Sep 16, 2023 at 11:25
  • Thanks for the answer Graham. Please see also my answer to bmike above. My issue with this, and I had done it previously, is that while I can exclude multiple locations from my search, it's not practical or helpful to exclude Applications, both Library folders and other locations these are coming from. This would, in practice, be a sort of slapdash patch to the issue. It definitely isn't a normal function of these files, previous experience makes that clear, and there has to be a real reason they now appear like this, so there has to be a way to get rid of them from that source issue, right?
    – Arv
    Sep 17, 2023 at 9:26

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